User Reviews (107)

  • Trudy Stillbottom15 December 2016
    The AUTO-TUNE Empire
    A good show gone bad. In the beginning, Cookie was the breakout and deservedly so, but now, in season 3 she is a cartoon. Empire has forgotten the Cardinal Rule of nighttime soaps. That is you have to have at least one character that is good and likable. That never wavers from that good. Here, almost every character is completely deplorable. Too many guest stars mugging for the camera. And all the children of privilege, getting much more than they deserve, and not equal in the talent department. It also past time to turn off that auto-tune machine. It is obvious that Hakeem does not possess the talent of the character and the excessive use of auto-tune in his performances is like painting everyone bright luminous yellow. Jamal is talented, but his distinctive voice and style makes everything sound repetitive and is approaching tiresome. We saw the rise of this Empire, I guess we now get to see the fall.
  • tonyt-2459916 December 2015
    Waste of time and not really good
    Warning: Spoilers
    How does this show get any buzz at all. It just a bad soap opera with over acting. With all the good television out there how is this show the most talked about show and gets the best ratings. Obviously we all know why and 90 % of the ratings on this board that are positive is from Afro American viewers. Do they really like this show or they just support this show because it is their show. That is the question. It is like Obama getting elected and getting 90% of the Black vote or O.J.Simpson getting cheered by the Afro Americans in colleges when he was found not guilty. Does it have to be about race all the time and not the quality of the show. Sorry to say but this show is not quality at all. I get it that they want to support it but getting nominations for awards is ridiculous. Maybe one day an Afro American show on cable will be produced and will be done with better quality and I will be the first too watch it just like I watched Afro American classics like The Jeffersons, Good Times, Sanford and Sons, and The Prince of Bel Aire.
  • mrie6 March 2015
    So... my two cents...
    Warning: Spoilers
    Okay, I have to say it: I am not a huge fan of Empire. It's entertaining, it's interesting, it has some pretty good humor, and I liked the casting choices. However, this show is soooo not original, the content is very shallow (meaning no depth), and I find it hard to follow at times.

    I knew I wasn't going to care about it before it even aired. I saw the promo with Taraji and Terrance, and instantly thought it was an unoriginal "Hustle and Flow" spin-off. Aside from that, it already looked messy. So, I didn't see it when it premiered. Well, my co-workers were praising the show the next day at work like it was the best thing to happen to television. So, yeah, that got my curiosity going. By that time I was aware that Empire in fact was not a Hustle and Flow knock-off. More like an urban "Dynasty", a soap opera, which was one of the inspirations for Empire (Daniels mentioned this himself).

    I was not impressed by the first episode. In the first scene Lucius is telling a singer to think about her brother who got shot in order to convey more emotion in her singing a song about love and loss. So, right away, I thought that the show was already bordering on too dramatic with the whole "I need you to REALLY bring the pain" dynamic of that scene. Just ask her to remember her first break up and go from there. Gosh. The flashback scenes with the gay son Jamal dressed like a woman were somewhat unrealistic to me because of how they played out. Why did the kid dress that way and then just stand there in front of everyone? What was the point of that? He didn't even pretend like he was modeling the clothes or anything like how you play dress-up. He just stood there and looked stupid. Was he making a statement? Anyway, Lucius throwing his son in the garbage was really traumatic for some viewers and made some people cry. But, I thought it was a bit extreme, and I almost stopped watching after that. I also wasn't too thrilled with the fact that the writer being gay made the gay son the most sympathetic character with hardly any flaws compared to everyone else. Is that really fair? Makes me feel as though Jamal can do no wrong and will always just be a victim and if not him, then any other gay character. On top of that, I can't stand Jamal's weak, shaky singing voice. How are people saying that he sounds so great? I'm not convinced that the writer knows how to write believable black female characters (speaking as a black female). Cookie is loud and obnoxious, which makes for good drama and entertainment. I'm not mad at her being real, and having flaws. However, there are times when I really wish Cookie would stop wearing her feelings on the outside all the damn time. Honestly, there are times when I believe she could be upset or disappointed about something without being so obvious or over-the-top. I wish she could be more cool in certain situations. The way she deals with Lucius' girl, Anika makes her look extra pressed in almost every scene. But, I guess if she toned it down, she would be less "real", so that won't be an option.

    Lucius is a piece of ****. As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't treat any of his sons right, even his "favorite", Hakeem. What does any of his relationships even mean to him? Seriously. Why is he acting like he can't decide which son should be CEO of Empire? Clearly, it should be mature, business-savvy Andre, but, he leans more towards Hakeem the "star". His struggle with the decision really annoyed me from the very first episode and just convinced me that Lucius was simple as hell. In later episodes it shows that Lucius suddenly doesn't seem to trust Andre. Okay, whatever.

    When it comes to a show like Empire that combines music with drama, it sometimes feels like I am being forced to listen to music that I don't like. The "You're So Beautiful" track from the show is honestly getting on my nerves. I don't care to hear Cookie or Lucius attempt to sing at times, either. But, that's more of a personal thing, so moving on...

    I ended up binge watching the first 9 episodes of Empire OnDemand just so that I wouldn't be out of the loop and to give it a fair judgment instead of copping out after the first episode. Afterwards, I was thoroughly convinced that this show is over-rated... but, not horrible. I do think that for this show to be as real and raw as it aspires to be, it would have to be a netflix series or featured on a premium cable channel where it wouldn't be censored. I can give it 4 stars. The writing is very lacking with poorly developed characters and predictable plots. However, it delivers a good cast, and good entertainment (you won't be bored) and some insight into the music industry.
  • bernadette nakashima27 October 2015
    The first season I was hooked and intrigued. i found it fascinating in their world. I anticipated the second season and even marked my calendar.

    Second season came and I said it will get better. I gave it 3 episodes and decided it a waste of my time.

    There is no fluidity in the story line. Constantly new characters are being introduced with no character build up. They come and disappear. It seems like the producers are accommodating these celebrities to appear in the show or vice versa. The producers compromises the integrity of the story line. It instead becomes a variety/musical fashion show or a very long music video.

    The Empire story does not make sense anymore nor is it believable. The main character Luscious, always wins no matter what. He is able to block all the unbelievable ploys.

    I believe Empire lost it. There are a lot of good shows around that last for years. My prediction Empire is a one season show. Producers invest on writers instead of the revolving door of celebrities.
  • siamivi7 February 2015
    A Disappointment that Promotes Colorism and Worse
    Warning: Spoilers
    It's somewhat of an interesting show, more over-the-top flash than substance. That's probably why it has the ratings now. I just wonder about its creation.

    It seems kind of odd that this almost all black show was created by a gay white man (Danny Strong) who then gets Lee Daniels, a gay black man, to help develop a show full of black stereotypes and maybe even some fabrications? I have no qualms with the two of them creating a show, but it just seems like it would have been more authentic if they'd made something that was closer to themselves, like perhaps a show about a black and white interracial homosexual couple and their struggles. Instead, they make this.

    I understand that Mr. Daniels said this show parallels his childhood, but growing up in a hip hop family really wasn't his childhood. I can only hope that the unbelievable extravagance of dysfunction seen on this show wasn't his childhood too. At least with a show like Game of Thrones, you know that it's all made up and not meant to parallel any reality. I think this show makes the mistake of not making that distinction clear.

    I was intrigued by the outline of the show, and I wanted to like it, but after watching a few episodes I do not think it represents anything positive. There is quite a lot of colorism. Only the darkest people are "servants," and the lightest are the upper crust. They even manage to have that hierarchy with the Lyon sons, with the lightest (Jamal) being the obvious favorite of the show, the next lightest being the oldest son who's the "smart one" that married and is controlled by his white wife (she literally grabs him by the balls and tells him what to do and he obeys like a child), and then the darkest (Hakeem?) is the youngest son who is bratty, brash, disrespectful, and a wannabe thug. It's also interesting that he's the only of the three sons that seems to like dating his own race, while the "smarter" and more "sensible" brothers don't. It doesn't stop there.

    The father dumps the faithful black wife (Cookie) he had, a woman who went to prison so he wouldn't have to for seventeen years, even going so far as to divorce her and forget about her and keep the kids away while she was locked up for the sake of their family. She gets out and he's marrying a biracial (black/white) woman who the show portrays as more desirable and better than Cookie. They show Cookie as an annoyance and someone to tolerate because they can't get rid of her because she knows too much. It seems odd to me that the sons don't seem to care too much about her. The only possible positive is that she does end up being the most likable character on the show, though I'm not sure if that's entirely the writing.

    For anyone not sensitive and knowledgeable about racial issues and contexts relating to racism, I think a lot of this will fly over your head, but subliminally it's being shown every second. They call this show "real," but I doubt that it is. I think they deal with some real issues in some very unreal ways, sometimes even insulting the intelligence (or taking advantage of the lack of intelligence) of their audience. Some of the messages I got were that we're all supposed to love homosexuality (which I have no problem with) and that black people should glorify racism by promoting and practicing colourism against other people of color, not to mention being stereotypes themselves. This is on top of the messages about backstabbing, cheating, killing, robbing, and more. This show may be insanely popular, but it is also highly destructive.
  • interstellar888813 March 2015
    Auto Tune City
    Warning: Spoilers
    They auto tune so much in this show, the music feels like it just doesn't belong in the show. I just watched the youngest son do an impromptu song at an informal family gathering that was auto tuned. Apparently they all wear devices on them where ever they go. A duet between Terrence and May J had him auto tuned and her not. It was actually laughable. I mean, does Kayne do all the music for this show? Aside from that, here is a show where African-Americans could choose to show themselves in a successful, responsible, honorable and loving light, but instead choose to portray everyone as selfish, violent, racist, intolerant, narcissistic and shallow. Such a lost opportunity.
  • Brandy Wair2 February 2015
    Epic... Empire
    I love this show. I wasn't going to watch it because I am more of a binge watcher and I don't subscribe to cable TV. However, I love Taraji & Terrence together since Hustle & Flow. They just fit perfect together for this series. The issues that arise within this family are real. The dynamics are present in every family household from illness, to the struggle that wealth brings, to homosexuality to obesity and style. The music is amazing. You don't have to love rap or hip hop to appreciate the musical talent behind the scenes of this show. My favorite character is Cookie of course. She is an OG gangsta female who is unafraid to speak her mind and is always in the Height of Fashion. Besides that the chemistry that still exists between her and Luscious is palpable. He loves her for who she is and always was. She never stopped loving him either. I will watch this show play out and it will be one of very few that I watch from TV. ITS DEFINITELY WORTH IT!
  • KC Quinn6 March 2015
    I do not understand what all the hype is about!
    Warning: Spoilers
    The show is not bad but it is far from all the ranting and raving that is going on about it that I have heard on every talk/news show in the last 3 weeks.

    In fact it is quite ordinary and seems to be a bit of an old story line. There is a show that hit the TV last year named 'Power' (starring Omari Hardwick and not to be confused with the new superhuman detective show 'Powers') that is far, far better than Empire in many ways...with a similar storyline. However, it did not seem to catch on and I am not sure it will be back for a 2nd season.

    The one thing that REALLY bothered me and it occurred in the first couple of episodes. There is a hint the 'ruler of the empire' knows through business dealings/or knew...the president of the USA. Whatever the relationship is there is NO WAY he should be calling the president by his first name while in conversation. He should have called him Mr. President. I found that to be very disrespectful. We get the idea the man is very powerful. I am sure it could have been written in another manner for the audience to draw the conclusion of friendship between the two.

    As is not bad...a good little time waster but not outstanding in any way and certainly does not match all that has been said about the show.
  • joerghuebner3 May 2017
    god awful
    I really can't understand the popularity of this show: African American stereotypes in every possible way, combined with a really unbelievable story line, and a cast of awful actors playing awful characters. I remember a show called Wiseguy, season two "dead dog records story line", well that was more believable. I'm sorry but I think it's wasted time. I admit that some of the songs aren't bad, but that's not enough.
  • ogry-3469519 April 2017
    Typical FOX series, time wasted.
    Don't expect to learn any from the music world, this is only a stupid collection of unreal stereotypes.

    Same about families. Real life are very different.

    Awful, predictable, uninteresting...

    Really annoying.
  • jrbungit12 January 2015
    Slap in the Face
    You have powerhouse actors like Terrence and Tajiri, and this is what you do with them? You have them portray over-stereotyped, dull, insipid buffoons who lack depth, character or intelligence? This is what Fox gives us as an interesting story involving Black America? When you think about the wit, creativity, artistry, hard work and brain power that goes into the business of Hip Hop, this show is a slap in the face. The characters are uninspired, poorly written, predictable and hackneyed. I expected far more. This was a MAJOR let down.

    The problem is that Fox mis-represented the show. The show is clearly aimed at teenage or young adult audiences. However, it was presented as a serious show for more mature audiences. Among a younger audience this might be somewhat interesting. For anyone who was expecting the next "Scandal", keep looking. Just so sad to see such talented actors get such a juvenile script. Sigh.
  • ammabee-956-9270437 January 2015
    Terrific acting, plot and music
    First • I don't typically like rap and hip hop but I LOVED THIS. I am only not giving this a 10 because it's the first episode but OH HOT DANG it's great. There is not one bad actor or tress. Let's start out with saying GABOUREY SIDIBE HAS NOT DONE ONE BAD ROLE. She is a phenomenon. I will keep this short and spoiler free and say that it has something for EVERYONE. I can understand why people wouldn't like it but keep and open mind. It has good music (which you don't have to be a hip hop fan to like because, I liked it A LOT) Good acting which is always good. Great plot And basically great everything. I can't recommend this enough.
  • calebperryman9 January 2015
    Ahahaha It's Awful
    Warning: Spoilers
    I have to say this is one of the worst shows I've watched. A friend told me about this and i said "Oh that's sound's like an interesting show", but no it's really horrible. I have to say the music sounded like something you would hear on Disney Channel. The one scene that killed me the most is when Jamal was performing in the club/bar, I mean come on really it was auto-tuned??? I don't expect this to last very long. Oh my gosh and Luscious's reaction to his son's song, like really I thought his song was terrible. Sorry for my bad punctuation in this review, but I'm sure it will get a better rating than this show because I'm giving it a 1 star.
  • ememessien-977-8709615 February 2015
    One to miss
    This show jerks from one ridiculous scene to another in a manner reminiscent of one of those truly awful Latin-American telenovelas. There is a slight difference here in that whilst those are entertainment for the sake of it, this show appears to have an 'agenda'.

    Nothing about this show is captivating or appealing - the characters are dreadful, a problem compounded by a disturbingly amateur like quality to some of the scenes and much of the acting. Any semblance of art imitating life is lost instantly due to the performances.

    Taraji P. Henson, Terence Howard and Malik Yoba are seasoned actors but they can do nothing to redeem this latest mess by Lee Daniels. There are too many gimmicks, too many clichés. In summary, this show is Shakespeare for dummies.
  • Alecia7 January 2015
    Seriously, drugs, hoods, criminals, murderers, psychologically sick people who just happen to be 'black'--this is precisely how Fox TV would have America and the world view the African American people, to perpetuate the stereotype they are so anxious to create. My family and friends will not support this garbage---Is it so impossible to present a positive image like the Cosby Show--why couldn't these talented actors be in a show with a positive image? Maybe there actually is a conspiracy to bring down Bill Cosby (a positive image) after all, I'm about to be convinced...okay after he's down, what are they going to make up about Denzel? I mean really, this is the only thing 'they' can project to the world (our kids) about us...this is so old and tired, these producers should be fired for extreme lack of creativity---this crap was shown 50 years ago...dump it!!! It provides absolutely NO value, only to the lowest denominator in the hood community!!! DON'T WATCH!!!
  • Jhatch-204-49576610 January 2015
    Sorely Disappointed
    I had been looking forward to watching this show ever since I looked it up after seeing a Billboard of it on my drive home from work a couple of weeks ago. The way it was billed and set up had me thinking that the next great drama on television would be on broadcast TV for once instead of cable or Netflix like Breaking Bad and House of Cards. I talked my wife into sitting down and watching it with me by telling her I thought it would be a great plot and that everybody was saying the acting would be superb. My wife could only make it through about 15 minutes before she had enough of it, my pride made me sit through the first 30 minutes before calling it quits. The music was probably the best part of the show but that isn't saying much, they were too drawn out and not ingrained in the show. It was almost like hey we are going to pause the show and play a song for the next three minutes. The acting was HORRIBLE, for this I blame the director because I know some of these characters can act. The made every scene way to overly dramatic and would have some some cheesy background music to try and make it even more dramatic. EPIC FAIL
  • PublicAwarenessMedia20 January 2015
    Clichéd but Captivating
    Somewhat stereotypical, and certainly clichéd writing, but captivating, particularly as performed by 2 of my favorite actors, Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard, ever since seeing them in one of my favorite gritty, touching movies, Hustle & Flow.

    Like that infamous film, there will be welcome music. A flashback scene in the pilot episode almost harks back to that time they worked together.

    Can't help but feel personally invested in its characters, which may be biased since I so admire the work of the actors playing the roles.

    "A unique family drama set in the world of a hip hop empire." Pretty sure it's the first series featuring that premise.

    Enjoying so far, and anxious to watch where it goes.
  • lalane-751-31792427 January 2015
    #TeamCookie This show is definitely captivating. The drama, the music, the actors/actresses just all make for one heck of a show. It touches on so many issues we deal with in today's society and brings them to the forefront: Bi-polar disorder, ALS, sexuality, dysfunctional families, following your dreams, standing up for yourself/confidence, being able to move beyond your circumstances and so many other things. I am especially happy to see these things being touched on so that it can open the dialog to deal with these issues, especially in the Black community. Taraji's character illustrates a mother's love and how she will do anything even sacrifice her freedom to ensure her family will escape the perils of poverty and life in the slums. Terrance's character shows how money can change you and when you loose yourself in the process you also loose so much more. A man that choose his dream over love and now regrets it while living in two worlds his old and his new. I could on but I urge you to tune in and see it for yourself. It's a new spin on a classic life story.
  • skahele80813 March 2015
    Trying to hard!
    This show has way TOO many try hard (catch your attention) moments. It would be a lot better if they would take their foot off the gas pedal a little. (Actually a lot) It's like watching a TV series of Jerry Springer meets Hustle & Flow on steroids. The music however is great...which sounds better than 80% of the garbage that is out at this moment. But there is so much going on, along with so many special guest appearances, it's like they're trying so hard to build it up that it's going to make it even harder to follow up throughout the next seasons afterward. Family issues, guns, drugs, thugs, FBI, corruption, backstabbing, infidelity...only thing they're missing is aliens and terrorist. Wait...the season isn't over with...maybe they'll put terrorist and aliens in the next show. Wouldn't surprise me.
  • pedro-araujo-tab13 January 2015
    Very bad
    Someone told me about the show, I came to IMDb to check the ratings. 7,1 should be a good quality show. The theme interests me, the music/producing stuff, not the I have one year to live stuff, so I prepared to watch and enjoy good TV.

    First scene, the producer wants more soul in the performance, he shows his talent and gets the singer to put more soul into it. Wellt the vocals are tempered and digitally enhanced, and I couldn't tell the difference in the first place. It was just to bad, like some Disney show

    Song is about a lost love, the producer asks for the singer to think its the last song she ever sings just so his story can be introduced...

    Second scene, two guys singing in a boat, voices digitally enhanced, no Mic's, and yet it sounds like a studio.....

    The piano is used just for one note...

    Third scene, I stopped watching...

    Very bad show. A show about music that has to real music in it

    Well, lets keep on trying until something good comes out
  • Kathi121318 January 2015
    Sooo disappointed
    I had so much anticipation for this show, loved the topic and assumed that with the caliber of actors cast it would be awesome. Instead, the writing is so awful that there are almost no characters...just caricatures of (I'm guessing) what white writers think black people are like. If I was black I would be offended. Since I am white I am instead embarrassed to the point of cringing. I can think of no excuse for the shallow, stereotype-ridden scripting of this show.

    The plot line is believable enough but the actual dialog written is so weak I can't fathom how the scripts made it past whoever is paid to quality-check them. I truly hope that someone with some influence in the background will heed what is being said about the writing and hire some better writers Immediately! Of course, since the show is already on the air there must be quite a few episodes (if not all) of season 1 already completed. If it doesn't get pulled and comes back for a second season I will watch to see if anyone bothered to try to do the show's concept the much better treatment it deserves.

    I do like the music and find the two musician brother's characters and acting to be believable...but that's all that's good about this show so far. Not gonna cut it without some serious changes happening to the writing.
  • russmillerwy-957-68243914 January 2015
    Prime time soap opera bomb
    Anything with Howard, Henson, and Yoba in it has some potential, enough for me to round up from 2 to 3 stars out of 10. But this is really just a lame soap opera about black music industry stereotypes. The characters fall into one of two categories, malevolent and annoying or just annoying. A lot of the rest of the cast look like they belong on a soap opera, that is, they could be models and they do more posing than talking. Hard to like anyone enough to watch them, though. Anytime someone gets killed off or diagnosed with some terminal disease you may feel a little guilty, but you can be pretty sure TV land is a happier place without them.
  • pookie322013 January 2015
    Disappointed with EMPIRE
    Warning: Spoilers
    In reading some of the comments, was shocked at how many of you wanted to just "race bash"!!! I am not black, but was really looking forward to this show… For me it didn't matter what color or race the actors are, just that they are talented! But the GAY thing could have been left out. I think Taraji P. Henson is an great actress, very versatile, she and Terance play good off one another. The story is good, but the part that turned me off was when Jamal was kissing his male, gay boyfriend!!! Why in the world did the writers have to mess this show up by throwing in that JUNK!!! Even in the 'story line' Terance & others are telling Jamal and the mother Taraji- that the gay crap just won't fly, especially with the black people. I'm not black, but it doesn't doesn't fly with me either. There are already far too many shows with gay people, how about writing more for the straight folks??!!! Hope that IF this show continues that Jamal is written out IF he is to play a gay guy. He may be musically talented, but let, or allow us to just listen to and enjoy his talent musically, rather than making out with another man! YUK!!!!
  • elliottsheerin30 June 2015
    What is the fuss about?
    I have never written a review before ever, which I'm sure you will notice by my awful writing style, but I really had to ask, what is all the fuss with this show, Empire? Its absolutely awful. Even the acting is so over the top.

    Reason I watched it was from all the positive reviews, not just on IMDb but other sources on the web. I am so disappointed with it, all it seems to be is cliché after cliché "I fought and killed to get myself where I am today". My god I wonder how many movies/TV shows that was ripped off from?!Or the over stated putting down of the sons, so I'm sure one day they will rise up and take over the empire. Again another tired idea that has been put through the ringer millions of times.

    All in all, awful!
  • tonytan345727 May 2015
    Just another bad soap opera.
    Empire is the most over-hyped TV show. It really isn't any good.

    Is it any different than Nashville. No it isn't and I don't see

    Nashville getting this hype like this show does and it shouldn't. Let us realize and understand what great shows are. Shows we all recently know who are all time great shows are Breaking Bad, Games Of Thrones and Mad Men, receive their awards and are well deserved. There were other great shows who get some publicity but should of gotten way more like the recently departed shows in Dexter, The Bridge, and The Killing.

    A few great shows received awards recently and was well deserved

    as True Detective and Fargo and The Affair got some buzz and received

    a best drama award, but not the roar Empire gets.

    Some of these shows are gone now but Games Of Thrones is

    still on to enjoy but what about giving some more accolades and

    raves to these other great shows. The list is numerous with The Americans, Tyrant, Homeland, Penny Dreadful, Masters Of Sex, Davinci Demons, Banshee, The Knick, Shameless, The Leftovers, Masters Of Sex and Ray Donovan.

    All great shows and all have one thing in common which is they are

    all cable shows. We know that cable gives us better TV and even Netflix can produce great shows like Orange Is The New Black and House Of Cards but regular TV does has some outstanding shows like the older but goodies in Law And Order SUV and 24. Some really quality TV came the last five years with shows like, Person of Interest (CBS), The Blacklist (NBC), The Good Wife (CBS), Suits (TNT), and the highly acclaimed Hannibal (NBC). Why don't we talk about them like we talk about Empire? We all know why. I call it the Obama affect and liberal Hollywood. So real quality television like these little known shows like Outlander, The Honorable Woman, and Fortitude is no where to be talked about.

    That is a shame. You see if we are talking about an Empire with great Afro American acting than we should be talking about the recent departing of the wonderful and excellent Boardwalk Empire which shows you what Empire should of gotten the hype and credit it deserved.
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