Empire Episode 1 Review

Lucious is head of Empire, a successful record label he built from the ground up. After years of business he is diagnosed with a terminal illness he must choose which of his three sons’ will take over the family business.

To make matters worse, his ex wife released from prison on good behavior is out to seek her compensation for her crime. The question is what’s everyone saying on and off the record.

Empire Episode 1

There is quite a mix of actors from this relatively small cast. Terrence Howard’s portrayal of Lucious Lyon is surprisingly believable. Howard does appear to be more suited to play a homophobic father, who is fixated on his business instead of supporting his family, in comparison to playing James Rhodes in Iron Man. Howard allows his character to suffer without letting those around him feel how weak he really is. Attacking him from a more personal side is Cookie played by Taraji P. Henson. Wanting compensation after being sent to prison, she is ready to get what she is owed. Henson is very good at switching her emotions so it’s not clear where Cookies’ heart will lie, which one of her son’s is she fighting for? The youngest of their son’s is Jamal Lyon played by Bryshere Y. Gray, Jussie Smollett plays Andre Lyon and the oldest is Anika Lyon, played by Trai Byers. These guys really do have some amazing talents between them; whether it be singing, playing piano or playing their mother, each feel like they should be entitled to the company. Their characters appear to possess a unique quality: power, courage or wisdom (I think I see a Link here). Everyone is this show keeps the tempo using their own forte. But it’s not without its problems.

Terrence Howard and Grace Gealey in “Empire”

The story feels a bit pretentious. It has a lot of the elements that most TV shows have in them these days: a conflict between two forces, the past coming back with vengeance and dramatical piano music in the background. The problem, and probably the reason for calling it pretentious, it tries to fit too much into the pilot. You have key topics that will come into play later on in the show but the writers can’t just leave out subtle points for later episodes. Other points that are fundamental for the story, current issues such as cultural factors on homosexual relationships, are made far too big from the word go! Why? Just so it can get the views it needs to continue with the series. Do we have that much of a short attention span to miss some of these topics, or how controversial the show can be? Don’t get me wrong, I like that it is trying to stress some strong ideas, homophobia, illegal downloads and the problems this causes for new artists to make a profit, I only ask that these points get exposed naturally. A lot of what will see in this show might feel strangely familiar or at least it does to me. Plotting, scheming and a song every 15 minutes but what else would you expect from a show about a record company? Really simply to sum this up, if you were ever afraid to admit you liked Glee this will be your thing. It touches on some nice themes and does leave me curious how the show will continue. I don’t think I will be craving the next episode, but I’ll definitely binge watch this one on catch up.

 
Written by Chuckie

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