The past few days I’ve been thinking about doing a post about Empire, the hip hop soap opera airing Wednesday nights on FOX. I even had a friend post on my FB that she needed to know what I thought about the show. My opinions are obviously a pretty big thing, so I should probably post about this show so people will start watching it.
There are a lot of reasons why I haven’t posted about the show though. The main reason I haven’t is because I really like it. I mean I REALLY like it, and yet I have no faith in it. None at all.
You see it’s on FOX. FOX is a network that has a tendency to, well I don’t know that there is any better way to put it than to just say it, they ruin a good thing. Seriously, can you name a show that has aired on FOX for more than one year that hasn’t gone down the path to crap after the first year? And no The Simpsons does not count, that shows an institution. Sleeping Hollow…ruined. New Girl…ruined. Glee…ruined. The Mindy Project…if not for the genius of Mindy Kalling it would be ruined. The Following…..okay maybe not ruined, but not the show it had the promise to be. Bones…well, okay also not ruined but it’s a formula show so it’s hard to ruin. They just ruin things. They even ruined a few seasons of 24, but I think Jack Bauer threatened to kill them if they didn’t back the F’ off.
I’d like to blame their tendency to ruin things on Rupert Murdoch and his crew of liars and idiots over at FOX News, but apparently the two networks have very little to do with each other. I do, however, like to blame Rupert Murdoch and his gang of idiots for everything. In fact I’m pretty sure that Megyn Kelly had something to do with the scratches on the trunk of my car. I don’t know how, but I just don’t trust that woman. Anyway, back to FOX…I’m not for sure what the deal is, but they just screw up their shows.
If you have not yet watched the show, I suggest you check out this season on Hulu, before FOX ruins it. The show was created and produced by Danny Strong and Lee Daniels. The duo gave us Lee Daniel’s The Butler last year and are both extremely talented writers, producers and directors. Strong is also a great actor from shows such as Justified, Mad Men and Girls.
The story centers on Lucious Lyons, a hip hop recording mogul and his record company, aptly called Empire. Luscious, who has three sons, Andre, Jamal, and Hakeem, has just been diagnosed with ALS and is trying to get his business in order before the disease takes over. Lucious is played by Terrence Howard, who is having a blast playing him. He doesn’t let an opportunity pass to dominate the family or the screen. Not only is he having fun playing him, the audience is having fun watching him.
Andre (Trai Byers) the oldest son is a married business exec for the recording company who is tired of being his daddy’s whipping boy. Andre suffers from bi-polar disorder and that plays a large part into the decisions this guy makes to pit his two younger brothers against each other to get control of the company. Well that and his conniving wife, who I hope we learn more about.
Jamal (Jussie Smollett), the middle child, is a musical prodigy. His talent knows no bounds and he should be the next great hip hop artist of our times. There is only one small problem. Jamal is one of them there homosexuals. And, well Daddy Lucious isn’t having any of that. No son of his can be gay, so he just needs to stop being gay. In the first episode there is a chilling scene of Jamal as a 5 year old boy walking in his mother’s high heels and when his Dad sees him, he grabs him and throws him in the trash can in the alley. It pretty much sums up the relationship. Smollett is amazing in this role and is showing some great depth.
Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) is the youngest son and while he has some musical talent he doesn’t know how to control himself and he makes some really stupid choices. He wants to be all thug, but he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth so he is having to fake it. He also knows that his brother Jamal is the real music genius and he wants to prove his own worth. Oh he’s also sleeping with some cougar played by Naomi Campbell.
The last member of this screwed up family is the boys’ mother. Cookie, and oh what a cookie she is. Cookie, played by Taraji P. Henson is amazing. I mean like amazingly amazing. You have to see her in action to fully appreciate her. Cookie has been in prison for the past fifteen years or so. She took the fall for a drug deal for Lucious so that he could use the money to start the record label. While she was wearing orange, and damn I guarantee she wore it well, Lucious divorced her and took the record label to new heights. Her kids learned to live without her, especially poor Hakeem who was just a baby when she went away. Now that Cookie is out she wants it all back. Her Boys, the company, and oh yeah definitely Lucious.
I really wish I could tell you all of the happenings going on in this show. There are backroom dealings, confidential informants, drugs, sexual liaisons, murder. This show has it all. And they are doing it all. It’s so much fun and over the top that you just jump on board for the ride. The show keeps increasing in the ratings, something unheard of in this day and age. I really think it’s because it’s original, fun, has great acting, with high production quality, uses great music, and did I mention it’s ORIGINAL! Also it has had some amazing guest stars: Courtney Love, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Gladys Knight, Snoop Dog….. and the list goes on. They are killing it with guest stars that actually work. For instance Courtney Love played a drugged out has-been artist trying to make a comeback. Can you say amazing type casting .
You really have to watch it now, before it gets ruined. Oh, and if you don’t believe it’s going to be ruined, let me tell you the news that came out today. Next year Oprah is going to be a guest star. Yep, that’s right her Royal Ego is joining the show. In my opinion that is the kiss of death. Damn it Elisabeth Hasselbeck, I know you are responsible for that.