Empire was supposed to be a hit for Fox; it had the hype coming in and the marketing campaign that big network shows of significance behind it should have. Throw in Terrance Howard headlining the role, a who’s who of music artists showing up sproadically and Fox had the ingredients for a major hit on its hands.
And Empire succeeded beyond every imaginable metric, Wednesday night for Fox featured their urban version of Dallas turned into one of the biggest nights of the week for the network.
It’s a simple premise. Terrance Howard is a music mogul looking for an exit strategy, as he’s terminally ill. He has three sons to leave the company to but all have their flaws. When his ex-wife (Taraji Henson) comes back into the fold, having been released from prison, the whole world of Empire Entertainment and Lucious Lyon are about to change for the radical.
The show works because it channels the spirit of the 80s big dramatic prime time soap opera style dramas like Dallas and Dynasty. This isn’t a character study of people; this is a big soap opera with wild, over the top story lines that would be at home as a daily, episodic series as well.
And that’s part of the show’s problem. This is an old school, throwback to the days where you could bring in an audience once a week with wild shenanigans. It works as episodic television but binge watching it makes the big twists and hooks feel less significant because they happen so frequently when you binge it. Empire is one of the few shows that works better as regular appointment viewing than it does on DVD because of this.
Empire is a solid show, a modern Dynasty for the urban set, but it’s not something that lends itself to the binge watching style that DVD allows for it.
Nothing of note is included.
Fox presents Empire (Season 1). Created by Lee Daniels and Danny strong. Starring Terrance Howard, Taraji Henson. Run Time: 480 minutes Not Rated. Released on DVD: 9.15.15