Empire (2015) : Season 1

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  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 7, 2015
Season #: 1, 2, 3
Empire (2015) Image
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 156 Ratings

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  • Summary: After discovering he is ill, rap mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) must decide which of his three sons will inherit his company. This hip-hop family soap from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong (The Butler) also stars Taraji P. Henson and Gabourey Sidibe and features original music from Timbaland.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Music

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Molly Eichel
    Jan 5, 2015
    91
    There’s something soapy and delicious about Empire.... But it’s a double-edged sword: Empire will either continue to be fun and splashy, while staying grounded and engaging, or it will flame out as so many primetime sudsers have before it, becoming too ridiculous for its own good.
  2. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 12, 2015
    80
    Doesn't really matter if hip-hop is your musical genre of choice, because the beat the deliciously entertaining Empire grooves to echoes the more traditional and timeless rhythms of grand soap operas. [5-18 Jan 2015, p.16]
  3. 75
    Just when you're smirking at Empire, it reaches out and hooks you.
  4. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jan 2, 2015
    70
    The series has great potential. The question is whether Empire should stick to being a good family drama in a vibrant contemporary setting with a topical issue woven into the story, or whether it can measure up to the pretensions to great literature.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Jan 7, 2015
    70
    Though the result can be obvious, even cornball, at times, the show--which is smart enough, often enough--works.
  6. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Jan 5, 2015
    70
    If Lucious and Cookie and Jamal’s dynamics seem unique and complex, other parts of the show are messy and flat.... Generally speaking, the arc of the soap opera is long, and it bends toward insanity. But, one episode in, Empire feels insane in exactly the right measure.
  7. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Jan 2, 2015
    30
    Derivative to the point of parody.... [But] despite the general lameness of the show, Ms. Henson is so convincing--and charismatic--you might just keep watching.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 32
  2. Negative: 6 out of 32
  1. Sep 28, 2015
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have always been interested to see what Director Lee Daniels has bring to the project, to please us fans and he does it perfectly with Empire. Terence Howard as Lucious Lyon a gangster who thanks music from saving his life, and makes the empire, not to mention that Howard's character is a selfish dick with the bling. Also Taraji P Henson is a huge charmer as Cookie an ex-wife who wants to get her company from Lyon. From the team of (Lee Daniels' The Butler) Writer Danny Strong and Director (Daniels) have made this entertainment, drama of Hip- pop a huge puzzling event. Grade A Expand
  2. Feb 23, 2015
    10
    Hi, Fox has a new show and it is the bomb, what a show finally I am watching something good on Fox.
    Please keep up the good work, don't just
    Hi, Fox has a new show and it is the bomb, what a show finally I am watching something good on Fox.
    Please keep up the good work, don't just quit now. Make it last. You have some fantastic actors, and Ms. Taraji P. Henson aka Ms,Cookie, Girl you know you got it going on. You and Terence Howard look sooooooooo good together can he be a keeper. I love you both in the other movie when he was a rapper. So fantastic. The boy's and all the other actors are just great. Keep Up The Good Work.............
    Expand
  3. Jan 9, 2015
    10
    I have always been interested to see what Director Lee Daniels has bring to the project, to please us fans and he does it perfectly withI have always been interested to see what Director Lee Daniels has bring to the project, to please us fans and he does it perfectly with Empire. Terence Howard as Lucious Lyon a gangster who thanks music from saving his life, and makes the empire, not to mention that Howard's character is a selfish dick with the bling. Also Taraji P Henson is a huge charmer as Cookie an ex-wife who wants to get her company from Lyon. From the team of (Lee Daniels' The Butler) Writer Danny Strong and Director (Daniels) have made this entertainment, drama of Hip- pop a huge puzzling event. Grade A- Expand
  4. Feb 26, 2015
    9
    The music. The music is what makes this show what it is. If you were to strip it down to only the characters and the storey the show wouldThe music. The music is what makes this show what it is. If you were to strip it down to only the characters and the storey the show would fail to grab everyone the way it does. So much of the emotion of a key point in the show happens through song or performance. A very refreshing change to all the reality TV and Police/Hospital drama's on TV currently. Expand
  5. Apr 1, 2015
    8
    When I saw the pilot of Empire, I really enjoyed it. While the following episodes is noticeably quite a soap opera, it was done right.

    It
    When I saw the pilot of Empire, I really enjoyed it. While the following episodes is noticeably quite a soap opera, it was done right.

    It was done right thanks to its cast performances of its two leading stars Terrence Howard as Luscious Lyon and Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon. I see both of them being nominated for an Emmy this year and they deserved it!

    Another thing why it was done right was its execution. Despite its noticeable soap opera elements, the writers managed to keep the viewers including myself intrigued about the plot arcs in this season.

    Also, the Lyon family has to be one of the best dysfunctional families I have seen on TV. You can feel the sense they love each other but also at the same time they hate each other. This show may be outside the viewers’ reality at certain times but the sense of this family is real and genuine, which is pleasing to watch.

    The character development is top-notch and it’s the second best thing about this show. My favorite character development was from Jamal Lyon. I was bittersweet about who he had become at the end of the season which I won’t spoil but personal feelings aside, it was my favorite character development.

    Last but not the least, the original music in this show is great to jam out to while watching the show and it’s all thanks to the talented producer Timbaland who has been making great beats for other artists like Justin Timberlake, Beyonce etc.

    I can’t wait to see more of Empire thanks to the Emmy-worthy cast performances of Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, the well execution of the plot arcs and character development this season and of course, the great original music in this show!
    Expand
  6. Feb 7, 2015
    8
    Empire seems to be headed in the right direction, and it’s definitely doing something right--all of the episodes so far have INCREASED inEmpire seems to be headed in the right direction, and it’s definitely doing something right--all of the episodes so far have INCREASED in viewership ratings. For those who don’t know much about TV shows, ratings usually decrease with every episode or stay pretty consistent. Empire debuted to around 9.90 million US viewers, and as of episode 5 has 11.47 million viewers. An increase in live viewers is a rare feat, hard to pull off. Ratings will eventually begin to stop growing, but they will definitely stay high. Fox will not cancel this show anytime soon--it has already been renewed for Season 2!

    Empire is lifted up, in particular, by the solid acting talent featured on the show. Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson notably contribute to this. However, one of the criticisms I have for the show (so far) is that because of its large cast and scope, it is a bit difficult to give fair attention to certain aspects of the show. I think some characters could have a bit more development, which is why I kind of wish episodes could be longer than 42 minutes (which is every episode’s duration minus the commercials).

    Empire never slows down its dramatic pace, and it keeps you engaged. Empire takes as many compelling story arcs as possible (poverty, crime, LGBT issues, one’s legacy and future, family, betrayal, and coming of age) and places them within the show. Arguably, this leads to the plot feeling somewhat overstuffed. The musical family drama has the growing pains of many other dramas before it (featuring some over-the-top acting, stereotypes, and cliches). Certain things on the show require a bit of suspension-of-disbelief (like how do so many people on the show have diseases? Lucious has ALS and Andre, the oldest son, has something as well). Nevertheless, it is always entertaining and captivating to watch. The music doesn’t feel contrived or out of place on the show, it feels organic; and I happen to like the music (made by Timbaland).

    I think “Empire” is heading for good things, but I happened to feel a slight dip in quality with episodes 3&4. Maybe it’s because Lee Daniels and Danny Strong weren’t involved with the latter, but most of my criticisms were due to the two recent episodes. However, I will still stay with the show until the end, and I hope other viewers will too. A look at the struggles artists face within the competitive music industry, talented stars, good music, and compelling drama all make this seem like a “win” for Lee Daniels and Fox.

    I have reviewed 39 other movies, including the 2014 and 2015 films: Taken 3, The Interview, Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Dracula Untold, The Maze Runner, Nightcrawler, The Equalizer, The Expendables 3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Giver, Sharknado 2, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Edge of Tomorrow, X-Men Days of Future Past, Godzilla, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Divergent, Transcendence, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and more.

    I review TV shows, such as: The Flash, Arrow (Season 3), Gotham, The Last Ship, Sleepy Hollow, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (Season 1 and 2), The 100, I Wanna Marry Harry, Crisis, Gang Related, and more. I also have reviewed the mobile Android games Minecraft Pocket Edition, Clash of Clans, and Five Night's at Freddy's.

    Score: 8.9
    Expand
  7. Feb 6, 2015
    0
    I guess it's like Scarface. The original storyline was meant to be about Al Capone, without using his name, as the original movie was done inI guess it's like Scarface. The original storyline was meant to be about Al Capone, without using his name, as the original movie was done in 1932. The remake modernized it by making it Cuban in the 80's. And now Empire tries to "sample" it again. In each version it is supposed to be a warning about how crime as the short cut to the top often leads to disaster. But with each retelling the moral of the story gets swept further and further under the rug. While the lifestyle gets more and more glamorized. And the stereotypes get uglier and uglier. Yet fans of this keep missing the point more and more. No wonder so many young men end up dead or in jail. This show will probably increase that number significantly. Expand

See all 32 User Reviews

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