At the top of this year, Empire came out of nowhere. News surrounding the rollout of the Lee Daniels-led series piqued plenty of interest, but it was the consecutive ratings records that confirmed the obvious: the show is a hit.
Now, we’re less than a month away from the premiere of the second season, and if you haven’t been watching, you really, really should catch up now. Here’s why:
It Might Be The Best Drama On TV
Empire can be goofy and hilarious, but it’s a quality drama through-and-through, even if it takes its queues from the soap opera crowd. If anything, the overly dramatic bent is what makes the show so entertaining.
Taraji P. Henson As Cookie
Surprise surprise: Taraji P. Henson is the breakout star of Empire. Playing the part of Cookie Lyon, the ex-boo of series lead and ultimate bossman Lucious (played by Terrence Howard), Cookie gets out of jail and wants what she deserves: half of Lucious’ empire. The rest of the show basically plays out from there as a weaving family drama, but it’s Cookie’s snarky one-liners that have helped drive the show up the ratings.
Family Drama Is The Best Kind
Cookie and Lucious, Hakeem vs. Jamal. Empire is full of little one-on-one spats and long brooding relationships, but the series is really just an all-out family war, which is probably what makes it so damn relatable.
All The Celebrity Cameos
The Empire cast itself is stacked, but the show’s popularity and setting as a musical drama has magnetized celebrities and musicians to come on set as guest stars. From supermodel Naomi Campbell to singing legends Gladys Knight and Mary J. Blige, part of the appeal to the show is seeing who shows up. As for next season? Oprah, Common, Alicia Keys and Chris Rock are just the tip of the iceberg.
Not only does Empire boast one of the strongest Black casts on TV, the show is pushing boundaries all over the place through its characters. The show heavily features gay and interracial relationships, women take charge and it dives right into issues of Blackness with no apology.
Season 2 of Empire premieres on September 23rd on FOX. Catch up on the first season OnDemand ahead of season 2 this fall.
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