Empire State of Mind

Empire

It’s here you guys. Finally.

At last a new show has risen up to fill the Smash shaped hole in my heart. And by “finally,” I mean, right on time, about two years later. Empire is going to be the one to do it, I just know it.

It’s about a Hip Hop label, Empire Records, founded by Lucious Lyon, played by Terrance Howard. Luscious has been diagnosed with ALS and before he dies he wants to be sure that one of his three sons can rise up and lead the company. Andre, the savvy business man, who probably should be running things, but isn’t an artist or public face, Hakeem, who’s a gifted rapper but lacks vision and focus, and Jamal, who is the best musician of the group. but who’s homosexuality isn’t accepted by his father and is considered a marketing problem.

Oh, and there’s Cookie, the boy’s mother, who’s just out of jail and ready to take what’s hers, since it was her drug money that started the company to begin with. She’s played masterfully by Taraji P. Henson, who I completely adore.

There’s a lot more to this show and I’m excited to see where it goes, plus the music is being done by Timbaland (WHAT!) and just a boatload of talent behind and in front of the camera. (Cuba Gooding Jr. is going to show up at some point. Gabourey Sidebe is just going to be around!)

“So why is this and not Nashville taking the place of my beloved mess?” You might ask, if you are my friend Sumona or my cousins Grace and Maren, who have been trying to get me to watch Nashville since the beginning. Well, mostly because I still haven’t gotten around to catching up on Nashville, though I probably will soon, and also, the talent thing.

Part of what made Smash so appealing to me was that it featured real Broadway talent to tell it’s story. Also Empire is telling a family story and I love nothing more than large sprawling dysfunctional family soap operas. (I’m looking at you, One Tree Hill and by season 3 Gossip Girl)  So, I’m just generally on board with this show and it’s premise.

A few details on my end.

I’m Team Jamal. I love him. I love his adorable boyfriend and his sweet piano ballads. I love that’s he’s clearly Cookie’s favorite child, because he’s the only one who contacted her while she was in prison. But the show is trying really hard to make you Team Jamal. I also sympathize with Andre, who’s worked really hard and is probably the most qualified to run the business. I don’t really want Hakeem to get it, although would totally be cool with him as the face and Andre as the brains. I don’t see why this can’t be an option, besides the fact that Hakeem is kind of a douche bag.

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