Empire is all about the music with just a ‘little’ drama thrown in and season 2 is premiering tomorrow in the U.S and on E4 in the U.K soon after. Come on E4 give us the date – ‘do you really think we’ll be waiting for you to get into gear, you know how the internet works right?’
It’s been called the ‘Black Dynasty’ – although for anyone under 40 that might not mean much – this is a high-octane hip-hop opera that’s become as riveting as a modern-day ‘Game of Thrones’, with no dragons just those ‘lyons’ to contend with.
‘Empire’ is far from a cliche filled drama, it’s the ultimate story of building something from nothing, a story inspired by the Hip-Hop industry – the key that unlocked social mobility for generations trying to break out of a cycle of poverty, creating music moguls in it’s wake. Introducing a slew of identifiable characters of different ages, genders, class, there’s been one striking difference from every other show on mainstream TV, ‘Empire’ has changed the game with its majority black cast.
While Jay-Z changed the game in the music industry boardrooms and is seen as the inspiration behind the character of Music Mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), that’s where the comparison ends. Empire is a larger than life drama, that’s kept viewers hooked, not only through its piercing dialogue and one-liners but by openly tackling issues like homophobia, abuse, crime, mental disorders, sexuality and racism.
Empire premieres with the first episode from Season 2 tomorrow in the U.S and will no doubt deliver all the drama-packed intensity of the first series but this time with 18 episodes all in. It’s the first tv series in 20 years to increase its ratings week on week, which is credit to the infectious word-of-mouth hype around the show, bringing with it a new generation of music fans to TV.
Every character in the Lee Daniels produced drama has connected with fans, and most notably Emmy nominated Taraji P. Henson nailed the character of ‘Cookie Lyon’, storming onto our screens with nothing but her fierce fury. Cookie doesn’t fit a ‘one woman’ mould, she’s ‘all woman’ – fearless, unapologetic, vulnerable, sexy and she guards her brood like a ‘lyoness’. Surprisingly or maybe unsurprisingly for some, the show itself was largely snubbed at this years Emmy’s with only 1 nomination for Taraji as Best Actress in a Drama category.
The soundtrack for series 1, produced by Timbaland not only featured some of the hottest names in black music but also standout tracks from Jussie Smollett who plays Jamal, leading to his own solo deal with Columbia Records. Expect a 2nd soundtrack to undoubtedly follow on from the chart success of volume 1.
With guest stars in season 2 expected to include Kelly Rowland, Ne-Yo, Ludacris, Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, Marisa Tomei and a whole lot more, if you haven’t seen it yet – then catch up or get binge-watching now.