‘Empire’ Returns for Its Second Season, Still Juicy With Melodrama

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Empire': Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie the crunchiest personality on hit show.

The scene is Central Park, where Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. If there was one series to call the belle of the ball from the 2014-15 TV season, Empire would have Cinderella running home for some milk and a Cookie.

Viewers watched as hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon was charged with murder and his family butted heads over his Empire Records label in the first season finale.It’s time to get yourself more Cookie Lyon in your life and Fox is ready to oblige by bringing back the break out hit of the Spring, Empire, at 9 p.m. Henson) is the ringmaster of a combination concert and rally calling for — Season 1 spoilers from here — freedom for her imprisoned ex-husband, Lucious (Terrence Howard). Each week, as the show’s ratings grew in key demos and overall viewers (at one point hitting 17.62 million), it was clear that Fox had a game-changing, socially relevant show on its hands. That Lucious is actually guilty of the murder of which he’s accused is a minor consideration, given that while she’s calling for “justice,” she’s simultaneously plotting to force him out of the family music business, Empire Entertainment.

Jussie Smollett – who plays Jamal Lyon, chosen successor to Lucious Lyon – appears confident the second season will meet high expectations and avoid the dreaded “sophomore slump”. “It’s so incredible,” Smollett says. “It’s going to be amazing. The 12-episode fever dream of creator Lee Daniels (The Butler) became so buzz worthy in its initial run that even Jack Nicholson has professed to be a fan of Cookie (Taraji P. Empire established itself creatively in its first season with memorable characters, a quick pace and cliffhangers that Dallas or Dynasty would have killed for.

Becky Williams, who works for Lucious Lyon at Empire Entertainment, casts a jaundiced eye on those around her in Wednesday’s sophomore season debut (9 p.m. It’s a sign of the clout already accrued by Cookie, only recently released from prison herself, and a sign of the cachet a television series gathers when it increases its audience for 12 straight weeks, as “Empire” did when it became a rookie sensation just six months ago. A guest spot on the show is clearly a coveted commodity, something to be lobbied for, and later in the episode, Chris Rock and Marisa Tomei show up, playing actual characters. That opening scene from Wednesday night’s season premiere, with its “Free Lucious” posters and speeches about a “system that must be dismantled piece by piece,” is an anomaly. “Empire,” while telling a story that involves hip-hop, drug gangs and a wealthy and powerful black family, has largely avoided any explicit engagement with politics or current affairs.

And even in that scene, there’s a taste of the over-the-top style — the narrative opulence — that characterizes the show: An important figure takes the stage at the concert from above, having been lowered in a cage, wearing a gorilla suit, pawing and pounding the bars. And still this was the grossest turn in the entire season that included a wife who kept a baby bib in the kitchen drawer for sexy fun times after she’d already gotten dressed for the day. But as the Lyons continue to battle each other internally, an even larger external threat could force new alliances, or even an uncomfortable clan reunification. “At the end of the day, some people might judge her because she sold drugs. Boardroom showdowns, prison yard staredowns and grisly death threats are all on display in just that first hour. “Empire” is peak prime-time soap opera for better and for worse. While an ALS misdiagnosis is no longer hanging over Lucious’ head, a prosecutor is intent on bringing down the former drug dealer and gets him jailed without bail.

The gleeful entertainment it provides comes with whiplash-inducing plot twists — the fortunes of the opposing factions of the Lyon family seesaw throughout the season premiere — and often with dialogue that, in mouths other than Ms. I think they’re going to try to play that into my role, but not quite yet.” Season 2 began shooting in June and is expected to film in and around Chicago until April. Chris Rock, Marisa Tomei and Ludacris have already filmed cameos (“He’s scary,” Daniels says of Rock. “We’ve never seen him like this before.”), with many more big names expected.

Please remind Andre (Trai Byers) that almost everything is always essentially his fault and he is failure at life, so we can get another glorious breakdown. How this affects the show’s overall quality remains to be seen, but if the writing doesn’t dig a little deeper during those lulls the audience will definitely feel it. Seriously, you plan a hostile takeover that requires the removal of your father and then help kill and dispose of the guy who was the state’s witness against your father because he hurt your feelings.

Tomei has fun with the nastier lines given to her character, a lesbian businesswoman brought in to finance Cookie’s attempted takeover, but overall she’s bland in the part. If it doesn’t work or it feels fake or contrived, we have to pull away from it.” Daniels says he is happy for Empire co-stars Grace Gealey and Trai Byers, who play Anika Calhoun and Andre Lyon, respectively.

Do you watch Orange is the New Black?” “Think about it, she was in jail for 17 years, little rusty, came out a little behind the curveball in fashion,” Henson said. “But second season, wow. With the show’s unprecedented success, however, an increasing number of celebrities have reached out to appear in Season 2 and producers have even gone after the likes of Mariah Carey and Oprah.

With nearly a dozen names confirmed to appear (including Kelly Rowland, Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz and Marisa Tomei), there’s a danger of the story catering to these appearances rather than letting them unfold organically. The couple hasn’t spoken publicly about their relationship, but the engagement wasn’t a complete surprise, as rumours had been floating around that they were dating (not to mention they had been frequently spotted together around Chicago). You name it, we got it, Cookie wears it.” “I think she is everybody’s spirit animal, or their alter ego,” Henson said. “She lives in truth, and if we lived in a world where people just weren’t afraid to live their truth, I think it would be a better place. “You get asked a question, the first thing that comes to mind is the truth. And they can no longer film on location without drawing a crowd – not that he’s complaining. “There’s a lot more security around where we shoot now,” Smollett says, laughing. “The fans are unbelievable. A large part of that storytelling was derived from Lee Daniels’ own childhood and fractured relationship with his father, as well as his first-hand observations of homophobia within the African American community.

Further proof the series may be getting ahead of itself is the fact that the creators hope Empire could become the next NCIS or CSI by way of spinoffs. Howard exudes self-confidence as the self-made tycoon Lucious, and he embodies the character’s smug sentimentalism without making it in any way diminishing or unattractive — he plays on the worst aspects of Lucious and still makes you respect him.

I’m surprised how many things I’ve bumped into over the last eight years that scared me to death and that, when I actually came across them, I didn’t even feel it. Henson’s brilliant performance as Cookie, which captures strength, pain, intelligence and raunchy playfulness in the set of her shoulders and the perfect calibration of pursed lips, narrowed eyes and cocked head. If Empire can satisfy those requirements, maybe it can find itself atop the time slot heap of long running shows CW’s Supernatural, ABC’s Modern Family, CBS’s Criminal Minds and NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Henson) of a best-actress Emmy for “How to Get Away With Murder,” is impressive in a sometimes daunting way, but no one is more impressively human than Ms. And representation is very important to everyone, but especially to girls like me, and people like me, whether it be because of my body, because of my race, because of my skin color, because of my awkwardness or where I come from. Juicy, old-fashioned nighttime soaps are not a large presence on television — dark mysteries still have the upper hand — and it’s notable that the most prominent recent examples tend to be created by black writer-producers: Lee Daniels of “Empire,” Tyler Perry of “The Haves and Have Nots,” Shonda Rhimes of “Scandal.” (You could argue that John Ridley’s “American Crime” was an over-the-top melodrama with all the fun leached out.) “Empire” is set in the world of hip-hop and R&B and nearly all the significant characters are black, but it succeeds primarily because we can all imagine ourselves as Lucious and Cookie, sharing a laugh in a prison visiting room and saying, ruefully, “It’s crazy how I can love your ass and hate you at the same moment.”

While it makes me nervous to represent for anyone, I am extremely proud that some brown, round little girl sitting in front of the TV can look at me and that exists as well and that she has some value.

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