DATELINE: Curmudgeon Surprised by Empire Pyre
Friends are horrified that we have tuned in to see Empire.
Yet, we are not shocked by our morbid interest, though we seem to be odd bedfellows yet again on the search for something new and intriguing on the boring series route.
This show reminded us of the early days of Dallas, to be honest. It has family intrigue, big money, business machinations, and a few delicious villains.
Terrence Howard is some kind of Jay Z hip hopping power broker in the black music industry. He also is King Lear with three sons (not daughters) who must prove their worthiness to be his successor.
And, the sons are from oldest to youngest: a button-down business man with no sense of rhythm, a gay disaffected middle child, and a spoiled Justin Bieber type youngest son.
Enter the jailbird mother, Cookie, played with insouciance by Taraji Henson, late of Person of Interest. She is perhaps the only person able to go head-to-head with her sociopathic ex-husband, played by the ageless Terrence Howard.
Since opening episodes are always filled with silly flashbacks and too much exposition, this one introduced the characters in their two-dimensional outfits and moved along briskly down the runway to shame.
Along the way, the script is littered with old friendships ended with a bullet, a mysterious disease on the outskirts of series cancellation, and sexual licentiousness as the daily bread of the black music industry. Apparently, the music score will be a big seller with a segment of the audience.
As for us, we will be back for more.
And they said we wouldn’t like it.