Empire: Season 1 (2015)



Critic Consensus: Though heavy on melodrama, Empire elevates the nighttime soap with its top-notch cast, musical entertainment, and engrossing plots.


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Air date: Jan 7, 2015
Air date: Jan 14, 2015
Air date: Jan 21, 2015
Air date: Jan 28, 2015
Air date: Feb 4, 2015
Air date: Feb 11, 2015
Air date: Feb 18, 2015
Air date: Feb 25, 2015
Air date: Mar 4, 2015
Air date: Mar 11, 2015
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Tv Season Info

In the first season of this drama, music mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) is informed he only has three years to live after being diagnosed with ALS. This just after he announces plans to take Empire Entertainment, a world-famous record company he runs with his family, public. Acting as a hip-hop King Lear, the patriarch realizes he must cede the keys to his kingdom to a worthy successor, and so he pits his three sons against one another in a battle for control of his multi-million dollar throne. The Lyon boys couldn't be more different: There's college-educated, business-minded executive Andre (Trai Byers); the talented and sensitive singer-songwriter Jamal (Jussie Smollett); and brash rapper Hakeem (Bryshere Gray). But they aren't the only ones vying for the dynasty when Lucious' ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) is released from prison after having served a 17-year sentence for hustling drugs, the profits from which were used by Lucious to start Empire.


News & Interviews for Empire: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Empire Season 1

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (26)

It roars into view and keeps everything humming throughout its all-important first episode.

Jan 7, 2015 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Top Critic

The series' sudsy premise might work if it were matched by more energy in the acting and staging, but the presentation suggests we're supposed to take the action seriously. Most viewers will simply shrug.

Jan 7, 2015 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Empire soars highest when probing the conflicts and contradictions of the black family, making high drama out of the dysfunction lying just beneath the surface.

Jan 7, 2015 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It is sort of hip-hop Nashville, but so what? Why not hip-hop Nashville?

Jan 7, 2015 | Full Review…
Top Critic

With plot to spare, Empire surely has something for everyone.

Jan 7, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Tense and tawdry, Empire is the rare network drama to know exactly what it is from the jump.

Jan 7, 2015 | Full Review…

King Lear meets Dynasty in lurid hip hop drama.

Jul 24, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Forget TV dramas about police departments and hospital wards - a show about a record label comes with all that conflict, plus outfits, plus songs.

Sep 12, 2017 | Full Review…

One hopes that Daniels and writer Danny Strong, who teamed up on the 2013 civil rights film The Butler, can keep this good stuff coming even as they follow their over-the-top storyline to its sudsy conclusion.

Sep 13, 2016 | Full Review…

Musical melodrama explores family, fame, and homophobia.

Dec 23, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Empire: Season 1


Super Reviewer

When the matriarch is released from prison, the entire family involved in the music industry's secrets are revealed. Empire is a clever drama with a lot of good tunes and a complex storyline, though ridiculous at times, it is a well crafted entertainment.


Super Reviewer

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