FOX does it again with another smash musical drama, Empire. The modern soap opera based a powerful black family dynasty divided by the fight to control a hip-hop empire has every other network on television thinking– “Why didn’t we think of this first?!” Besides having a large age demographic of 18-49, ratings and views for ‘Empire’ are breaking unbelievable records in prime time television.
So what makes Empire so addicting that every week we can’t wait for more? The star studded casting of main characters Terrance Howard (mercurial music mogul Lucious Lyon) and Taraji P. Henson (his smart mouth music producing ex-con ex-wife) could be it, but there’s more!
Musically, ‘Empire’ is a catalyst for huge hits. Lucious Lyon’s (Terrance Howard) talented sons– Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray)– are forces to be reckoned with as Jamal bangs out emotional and smooth R&B ballads, while Hakeem’s hard catchy rap styles murders different flow on every beat. The songs not only keep fans in the mood every week, but also seem to be crossover hits. Jussie Smollet’s early season track “Good Enough”, has already received major airplay on 40 radio stations. Their just released Original Soundtrack from Season One includes a roster of popular artists like Mary J. Blige, Estelle, Jennifer Hudson, Juicy J– and even rock artist Courtney Love. Longtime producer Timbaland serves as music supervisor, and with the help of his protégé, Jim Beanz, he’s made “Empire” a hit factory.
And if anything brings up controversy, it’s homosexuality. Jussie Smollet’s character Jamal not only fights for his spot to run Empire records, but fights to be accepted by his homophobic father Lucious. Black, Gay characters up until now have been a taboo move for television, but black entertainment TV is starting to make a statement. There are more black gay characters in black TV with shows like ‘Being Mary Jane’, ‘The Have and the Have Nots’ and now, ‘Empire’. And even more so, they aren’t being so stereotyped to the mainstream flamboyancy of gay males usually portrayed in the media. A strong, power hungry, gay man is a breath of fresh air— and a huge celebration for the LGBT community.
Throw into the mix a killer story line that includes murder, drugs, and power and it’s a recipe to keep us jonesing ’till our weekly fix.
If you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to catch up on the most controversial drama filled show on TV– Watch all the full episodes here on Hulu or on FOX, and don’t forget to catch Fox’s ‘Empire’ every Wednesday at 9!
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