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Why Everyone Should Watch 'Empire'

Kristen Lago |
March 30, 2015 | 1:39 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

The cast of "Empire" (Twitter/ @EW)
The cast of "Empire" (Twitter/ @EW)

Take a chance…join the empire. 

Ratings for the FOX drama have been carried mostly by an “urban youth audience” supported by steady growth in the level of female and African American viewers. But, this show is too good to be confined to one or two demographics. 

If you're sitting there staring at the screen, scratching your head, then you are quite possibly one of the few people who has not been exposed to the wondrous drama: FOX’s "Empire." The show stars acting veterans Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, as well as newcomers Bryshere Y. Grey, Trai Byers, Jussie Smollet, and Grace Gealey. The cast stars as various members of the Lyon family, creators of the mega-popular music label “Empire” and centers around the drama that unfolds when the former wife to Lucious Lyon (Howard’s character), the CEO of “Empire,” comes back from a stint in prison.

Instead of giving an episode by episode summary, recapping each and every captivatingly dramatic moment that has gone on through the show’s 12 episodes (that’s what the Internet is for, so watch here), here's why you−yes you−should be tuning in to the next season of "Empire." 

The cast tackles real-world issues:

Not only can you catch the extremely talented Howard and Henson as Lucious and Cookie Lyon, but the best of the best comes from the plot lines of the supporting characters. As entertainment website, Mashable, characterizes it, “at the core of its high-flying plot lines are people dealing with painful realities… and that grounds an otherwise melodramatic show.”

Let’s start with the Lyon sons: Jamal is in a constant battle with his homophobic father, while worrying whether his sexual orientation will affect his rising career and eldest son Andre suffers from bi-polar disorder. Even Lucious himself, addresses issues of disease when he is diagnosed with ALS and must cope with running an ultra-powerful company in the face of a terminal illness. 

The music:

Can you hear it? That would be the sound of magic− the "Empire" soundtrack. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the soundtrack has sold over 110,000 copies, and secured a number one spot atop the Billboard Charts during the week of its release. 

If you're a fan of musicals, then you will love each and every episode. Each features a catchy tune and lyrics that will linger in your mind for weeks on end. My personal favorite… “You’re So Beautiful,” by the entire cast. 

And if you’re not a fan of the cast’s singles, 11 recording artists have guest appeared on season one, including Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and Estelle. 

And finally… the drama:

Here’s a quick recap inspired by KQED Arts:

It all begins when Cookie is released from prison after 17 years (she was convicted for selling drugs that paid for the company’s start). “Plus there’s a murder cover-up, a surprise baby, mental breakdowns, incessant backstabbing,” and oh yes, spoiler alert−it ends with Lucious Lyon in jail. Can you say plot twist?

Reach Staff Reporter Kristen Lago here. 



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