By now the dramatic and over-the-top storm that is Fox’s hit show, Empire, has hit your house.
Whether it tossed your foundation or just shook the walls and knocked a few pictures down, you have been affected. Now with it being on its winter hiatus, let’s take a few breaths and reflect on just how much debris this show has left behind, and how we will rebuild the entertainment and music world with it still looming in the background.
First, let’s tackle the entertainment aspect. Empire is a nighttime soap opera that has exposed viewers to a predominately African American cast on network television. Here we see the quality of the show is different when shows are catered for a “niche” audience (think of African American comedies of UPN and The WB). I’m happy to announce that this show is not a boiling bowl of soup stereotypes with a mix of ghetto, ratchet, chickenhead soufflé on the side just for the sake of a few cheap laughs. There are levels to this. And while there are comedic moments, we have some more serious moments as well. We explore a father’s relationship with his homosexual son and a man trying to hide and control his mental illness. Like I said, there’s levels. And the levels have the people talking. Last season’s finale, which brought in over 17 million viewers, was tweeted 2.9 million times and was seen by 5.9 million people, according to Nielsen data. Those 17 million fans are also exposed to fine art, jewelry, and of course a lot of good music. Which brings us to our next point.
The show is about a fictional record company– Empire– and how the music mogul interacts with his family known for the love of luxury and dysfunction. There is a scene in season 1 where Lucious proclaims, “Witness as Empire becomes synonymous with American culture.” I can’t help but wonder if he was speaking to the fictional characters in the show or to us, the viewers. Either way, the statement is very fitting. And with that exclamation in mind, I think of the soundtrack for Season 1 and how it debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 and remained on the charts for 19 consecutive weeks. In addition to physical sales, the album has been streamed online over 122 million times. With actors on the show truly being musical talents, it doesn’t look like the show is set to disappear anytime soon.
Season 2 is currently on a winter hiatus and with the force that the show has premiered with, we can bet that it will continue to reach new heights and get more dramatic as the episodes air.
Of course we all want to see what happens next, but we also want to hear who will be next up on stage. And that’s how Empire has changed the game: a show that exhibits real musical talent in a dramatic way that reality television can’t reach. And that’s why we will continue to look for more.