Empire: Drama is not My Genre but I’m Watching

When I told my sister that I had watched the first four episodes of Empire, all she said was, “You did?  Somebody must have told you about it.”  She knows that drama is not on my preferred genre list.

And my sister was right, someone did tell me about Empire, the new family drama airing on Fox on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST.  A friend of mine suggested I watch it, stating it was on episode 3, and currently one of the best shows on television.

Not only was I behind on Constantine (I’m a comic book nerd) by a couple of episodes, I was skeptical about Empire because I don’t do drama.  So I decided to put Constantine on hold that night and give Empire, a musical family drama, a try.

Thanks to Comcast’s On Demand feature, I watched the first 3 episodes of Empire in one sitting, and set my DVR to record the series.  I was madly in love with thuggish Lucious Lyon by the end of the third episode.

Lucious is a hip-hop artist and the CEO of Empire Entertainment.  Diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, he has to decide which of his three sons will take over the company.  And it is not an easy task.

With a large cast of black actors, some may think that Empire is comical or ghetto.  It’s neither.  If it was, then I would not have been easily hooked.  The show is very intense and fast paced.

The creative writing team deserves a round of applause for the show’s phenomenal scripting.  Empire has several strong themes, all happening simultaneously, and all emotion inflicting.

  • Family
  • Greed
  • Corruption
  • Homosexuality
  • Interracial Relationships
  • Vengeance
  • Loyalty
  • Deception

I am all caught up with the series, and there has not been an episode where I didn’t laugh, cry, or get angry.  I rarely use bad language, but some of the characters has actually made me say a bad word or two.  But that’s a good thing.  A good script plus good acting equals happy viewers. And just who are these people who keeps me coming back for more?

  • Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard).  Handsome, former drug dealer, still a thug but on the down-low, hip-hop artist, CEO of Empire Entertainment
  • Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson).  Beautiful ex-wife of Lucious, recently released from prison (her drug money started the music company), feisty, aggressive
  • Andre Lyon (Trai Byers).  Oldest child.  College graduate, brilliant mind, corrupt, treacherous, envious, mental disorder, will go the extreme to take over the company, the only non-musical talent in the Lyon family
  • Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett).  Middle child.  Talented singer and dancer, shy, gay and hated by his father for it, friendly and loving attitude, positive outlook on life
  • Hakeem Lyon (Bryshere Y. Gray) – Youngest child.  Talented rapper, focused more on fame than anything else
  • Anika (Grace Gealey).  Boo Boo Kitty (as called by Cookie), girlfriend of Lucious, big whig at the company, corrupt, backstabber
  • Rhonda Lyon (Kaitlin Doubleday).  Wife of Andre, just as no-good and two-faced as her husband
  • Vernon (Malik Yoba).  Friend of Lucious, big whig at the company, greedy, and crooked as can be
  • Porsha (Ta’Rhonda Jones).  Cookie’s assistant, hilarious, loyal

I rarely watch drama, but I watch Empire for two reasons.

  1. Lucious and Cookie Lyon.  It is the stellar performances of Howard and Henson, two amazing actors that keeps me craving for the next episode.  They are trying their hardest to keep the Lyon family together.  I am a black female, and I know damn well what it takes to run a black household, a strong male AND female.  Not only is Cookie the only character that’s not stone crazy, she is also a realist.  She sees things for what they are, and she has no problem telling it like it is.
  2. Watching Empire gives me one hour away from my own real-life family drama.

Now, here’s what I need you to do.  I need for you to stop Facebooking, tweeting, tumbling, and skyping  about that dress (I say it’s white-and-gold) and tune into the new Fox television series, Empire.

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