"Empire is high-end soap presented and performed with just the right mix of heightened attitude and powerhouse conviction."
Empire burst onto the TV scene last year with a blue-ribbon pedigree — acclaimed, Oscar-nominated actors Terrence Howard and Taraji P Henson in the lead roles, Precious director Lee Daniels and mega-producer Brian Grazer calling the shots behind the camera, Timbaland providing the bulk of the original soundtrack.
But big names are increasingly familiar on the small screen and they didn't automatically ensure that Empire would capture and, more importantly, maintain an audience's attention. It took this compelling, audacious music industry melodrama's vivid style and addictive storylines to do that.
With its Shakespearean set-up — music-biz titan Lucious Lyon (Howard, using his silky, seductive menace to great effect) is diagnosed with a fatal disease and pits his three sons against one another to determine who'll be his heir, while his just-out-of-jail wife Cookie (Henson, owning the show) storms in demanding her cut — and fresh milieu, Empire is high-end soap presented and performed with just the right mix of heightened attitude and powerhouse conviction.
The release of the show's first season on home-video (with the set containing complete and uncut musical performances, quite the bonus) gives viewers the ideal opportunity to binge-watch before the premiere of the new season later this year. Don't make any other plans once you press play, though — you'll be in for the duration once it begins.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter