• Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 7, 2015
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Jacqueline Cutler
    Sep 14, 2015
    100
    Empire rules, bigger and badder than ever. If anyone thought Fox's breakout hit was over the top last season, the second-season premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 23, has so much murder and intrigue that it makes what's come before look as tame as C-SPAN.
  2. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Sep 22, 2015
    88
    This is how soaps are done today: with swagger, vigor and soul. Join in or get out of the way.
  3. Sep 23, 2015
    83
    The characters remain Empire’s greatest strength, as well as the reason the show can get away with so much soapy ridiculousness.
  4. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Sep 22, 2015
    83
    Whatever it was that made Empire the sensation of the 2014-15 season hasn't gone away for the new season.
  5. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 22, 2015
    83
    The three episodes FOX sent to critics are impressively well-balanced, not to mention coherent by Empire "standards."
  6. 80
    Empire is cynical and sincere, kidding and not kidding, dumb and smart, and to watch it is to be constantly amazed by what it gets away with.
  7. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Sep 23, 2015
    80
    In the new season, the characters’ personal politics continue to be satisfyingly complex.
  8. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Sep 23, 2015
    80
    In its second season, Empire’s stilettos are sharper, its gloss is glossier and its enjoyably soapy turns are even larger than life, if that’s possible.
  9. Reviewed by: Heidi Patalano
    Sep 23, 2015
    80
    With the wattage of star-power turned so far up in the first episode alone (read: a lot of cameos we can’t tell you about) the struggle for control of Empire can fuel the plot further, but it’s Cookie’s steady stream of hilarious one-liners and the show’s character transformations--if they happen at all--that could add nuance and depth to the show.
  10. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Sep 23, 2015
    80
    For all the switchback plotting, the sudden revelations that bring some earlier plot or plotline to naught, the show never feels too obviously manipulative or out of control. This is in part because of the restrained way it's shot and acted.
  11. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Sep 23, 2015
    80
    If Daniels, Strong, and showrunner Ilene Chaiken are feeling pressure to maintain the show’s massive-hit status, it doesn’t show in the enjoyably scattered yet propulsive season premiere.
  12. Reviewed by: Molly Eichel
    Sep 22, 2015
    80
    The first season of the wildly popular Fox dramarama was soapy in all the right ways, but, like the best soaps, teetered between being, like, the greatest and a big mess. This season walks the same precarious path.
  13. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Sep 21, 2015
    80
    [Empire is] still addicting and with a number of hot guest stars.
  14. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Sep 21, 2015
    80
    There is certainly cause for some wariness that an already bursting-at-the-seams drama has become stretched even more haggis-tight, but the three episodes made available to critics remain above the guilty-pleasure fray, with catchy new songs, wacky diamond-encrusted, fur-lined hijinks and, of course, Cookie.
  15. Reviewed by: Mitchel Broussard
    Sep 20, 2015
    80
    Simultaneously refined and deliciously pulpy, Fox's mega-hit Empire roars back to life in its second year, with all the brand-specific viciousness and gasp-earning twists fans have come to expect from the Lyons.
  16. Reviewed by: Jeff Jensen
    Sep 23, 2015
    75
    The second season of the sensation that conquered television--and proved the commercial power of diversity—opens with a premiere popping with knowing provocation and outrageousness.... The next two episodes are less raucous--and less inspired.
  17. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Sep 23, 2015
    75
    Where the second season ultimately improves on the first is mainly in its sense of scope, of extending the already vibrant existing world of the series.
  18. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Sep 24, 2015
    70
    Even the bits that backfire--like the ridiculous stunt casting of Chris Rock as a supposedly menacing prison drug lord00rarely diminish the glee with which we ride along on each hairpin curve. [28 Sep - 11 Oct 2015, p.16]
  19. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Sep 23, 2015
    70
    That quest to crown a new king at Lyon’s Empire Music gave the show a goal to drive toward, something that’s lacking through the first three episodes of season two now that Lucious’ condition turned out to be a misdiagnosis.
  20. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 22, 2015
    70
    Empire’s one and only problem remains the ethical hollowness of its characters--even the “good” ones are prone to cruelty. Co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong and their crew either can’t locate or do not wish to introduce an underlying moral tone to this story. That’s part of what makes it so rich and watchable, but it also leaves viewers used and abused.
  21. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 21, 2015
    70
    Admittedly, it does make for a fairly enjoyable if rather nutty stew, albeit one that requires ignoring things like, say, the plunging neckline of the ambitious prosecutor seeking to advance her career by using Lucious as her political springboard.
  22. Reviewed by: Scott D. Pierce
    Sep 25, 2015
    40
    Empire is back for Season 2, and it's just as good as it was in Season 1. So ... it's not particularly good at all. Just because it's a soap opera doesn't excuse bad writing. And 13 episodes into Empire, the plots are already repetitive and--quite frankly--boring.
User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 77 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 77
  2. Negative: 23 out of 77
  1. Sep 23, 2015
    0
    moving right along.. nothing to see here folks. just your stereotypical black tv series with an endless supply of product placements and ofmoving right along.. nothing to see here folks. just your stereotypical black tv series with an endless supply of product placements and of course the usual racism constantly being spat upon the viewer. awesome. just what the world needs in 2015... more corporate materialism and segregative race hating. NEXT. Full Review »
  2. Sep 28, 2015
    10
    This is one amazing show. The writing is absolutely superb! They subtly tackle worldwide issues but also look into the little everydayThis is one amazing show. The writing is absolutely superb! They subtly tackle worldwide issues but also look into the little everyday issues that can affect a family, especially once money is involved. While I am not a big Terrance Howard fan, the rest of the acting crew is absolutely amazing. the musical original scores are definitely the best of any show on tv. Full Review »
  3. May 28, 2016
    8
    While the show itself might deserve a '6', the music is perfect. I love every single song from season 2. The plot has turned a little bitWhile the show itself might deserve a '6', the music is perfect. I love every single song from season 2. The plot has turned a little bit crazy and all, but all the characters are still great. Full Review »