I have been going on about 'Empire' for a while now, which has been the talk of the town in the USA with a growing audience each episode. I did not believe this would be picked up by a UK channel until the end of the year but I was proven wrong by E4. 'Empire' reunites 'Hustle & Flow' stars Terence Howard and Taraji P Henson along with a range of R&B and hip hop stars to keep you glued to the screen.
Lucious Lyon (Howard) is a successful rapper who has built up successful music company Empire, along with his fiancée Anika (Grace Gealey) and his three sons Hakeem (Bryshere Y Gray), Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Andre (Trai Byers). When Lucious decides to create an heir to his company, an all out war breaks down between the three sons - not to mention Lucious’ wife Cookie (Henson).
Cookie has come fresh out of jail and wants her share of Empire and is not going to stop until she succeeds. Each son also has their own drama on the side that seems to affect their position in the race to become Lucious’ heir to the throne.
Music mogul Timbaland produces the songs on Empire, which are off the hook and I have been singing some of them for weeks now. My favourite being 'Drip Drop' which we get to hear in episode five and I have been playing over and over on YouTube.
The whole cast add something, although Cookie steals the spotlight with her one-liners and sassy attitude. I also have to give credit to Cookie’s assistant Porsha (Ta’Rhonda Jones), who is a true comedy actress but at the same time makes you feel sorry for her character. I was extremely happy to hear that 'Empire' has been picked up for a second series and will be coming back with more episodes. 'Empire' is one of my top shows of the year and I cannot wait to see how the drama unfolds.
Catch 'Empire' every Tuesday at 9pm on E4 or catch up on 4oD.
'Murder In Successville'
When I first heard about 'Murder In Successville' (also featured in On Camera #24) and saw the line up, it felt so cheesy and a cheap production by BBC Three. With stars like Jamie Laing and Deborah Meaden, it just felt like desperate celebrities although they did have Dermot O’Leary, who I would argue out of the bunch is the biggest celebrity.
The saving grace to this show is DI Sleet played by Tom Davis, who is just hilarious. Each week a celebrity sidekick helps DI Sleet solve a murder that has happened in Successville. We get to imagine the likes of Lady Gaga, Simon Cowell and Reese Witherspoon being killed off in a crazy manner and make our predictions on who killed them. DI Sleet makes his sidekicks do quite a lot of the dirty work that can put them in awkward situations while trying to investigate at the same time.
Funnily enough, the suspects in each murder are other famous celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Jay-Z. However they are not the champagne popping celebrities they are your care worker, casino owner and butler, who are parodied by comedians such as Cariad Lloyd, Liam Hourican and Jenny Bede. By the end, it is up to the sidekick to say whom they believe the murderer is - if they are right then they win praise but if not, they are fired and get to drown their sorrows with DI Sleet.
'Murder In Successville' works because of Davis, whose comedy style and the fact that the sidekicks go along with it make the show quite humorous. I am looking forward to see which celebrities are killed off next, and if I can solve any of these murders - so far I have only been able to solve one. Good job BBC Three on a great show and please keep Tom Davis, if there is a second series.
Catch 'Murder In Successville' every Wednesday at 10pm or catch up on BBC iPlayer.
Read previous Telly Text columns here and find Jordan at @jrory.