The number of amazing television shows is about to go up by one on Wednesday, January 7th! Yes, Fox has a new dramatic series, “Empire,” starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson! The series centers around the Lyons, a family dominating the hip-hop industry. Terence is Lucious Lyon, a widely respected music mogul, the celebrated “King of Hip-Hop,” and CEO/Founder of Empire Records. His reign soon comes to what will be a slow, and ultimately devastating halt, as he is diagnosed with ALS. Learning he has less than three years to live, he realizes he must begin grooming one of his three sons to run the family’s empire. Herein lies the problem as a power struggle is set to ensue between the the three of them.
Lucious’ oldest son, Andre (Trai Byers), is a straightlaced and highly educated accountant and businessman. He has served as his father’s right hand man in running the company. Naturally, he expects to be his successor, but his father has reservations, believing a celebrity or artist would be better suited. His middle son, Jamal (Jussie Smollett), is a musical genius who could be the voice of a generation. However, Lucious is ashamed of and is outright cruel to him. The youngest Lyon son is Hakeem (Bryshere Gray). Hakeem dreams of stardom and loves the glitz and glamour of the hip-hop lifestyle. He is a gifted rapper and a spoiled brat! Thickening the power struggle, is Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon. Cookie is the mother of Lucious’ sons and ex-wife who took the fall for a crime committed seventeen years ago. She has spent all of those years behind bars. Her time served, and the drug money she invested, allowed Lucious to grown their budding record company into its present state. She demands half of the company or she threatens to expose his secrets. She also has her own idea on which of their sons should succeed him.
All and all, this show is like a hip-hop version of Dallas. It is one thing for drama to be so rife between a group of characters, but when you throw family and money into the mix everything is nothing short of explosive! Terrence and Taraji’s chemistry is as powerful as explosive as other. Their love-hate relationship is toxic and alluring, affecting everyone and everything around them. Then again, there is always some bloodshed, literally or poetically, when an “Empire” is at stake. I was able to catch the first episode at a private screening at Fernbank Museum recently, and the entire time I was on the edge of my seat. There is so much interwoven and layered in the series that you almost immediately become invested with all of the characters. You may just find yourself rooting for a Lyon son of your own. Just be careful, family does not mean friend when power is at play! Be sure you check back here in January for full episode recaps!