Monday, 29 May 2017



The Lyon King.

18 Episodes. Starring: Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, Gabourey Sidibe, Serayah, Xzibit, Nia Long, Phylicia Rashad, Eva Longoria & Taye Diggs. Created By: Lee Daniels & Danny Strong.

Remember that scene on 'The Godfather Part III' were a salt and pepper Al Pacino collapses in the kitchen between the stove and sink like he's just been asked to do the dishes, whilst shouting between trademark gruff expletives, "just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in"?! Well that's what it's like to watch the Fox hit show 'Empire' from 'Precious' and 'The Butler' director Lee Daniels about the Lyon family and who would be king in this extreme Empire state of music. It's 'Nashville' without the straw hats and plaid shirts and other cousin marrying country stereotypes. They're probably more likely to kill their uncles son and act like he never existed. This show is just straight ridiculous. Ridiculously addictive. Every days of our lives set-up gone that J.R. shower scene from 'Dallas' buckwild crazy, weekly cliffhanger will have your fingertips like Stallone in the 90's on the arm of your chair. Just wishing you could Netflix this like binge watching 'Orange Is The New Black'. No matter how ludicrous this all is...and that 'Fast and Furious' star didn't even make it past the first show of the second season. And don't hold your breath for a Taraji 'Baby Boy' or Howard 'Four Brothers' reunion with another '2 Fast', 'Furious 7' megastar either, as Tyrese Gibson is praising Lee Daniels other hit show 'Star' with hip-hop legend Queen Latifah...PREACH! But don't worry there is still an empire of trademark incredible big-names on the guest starring role call list from 'Desperate Housewives' to stars from the 'Fresh Prince' and 'The Cosby Show' (don't worry...not him)! Even the sick, slick soundtrack still bumps. Even if they'll never up the ante of the amps of season one with no apologies...that is at least until the season finale. How can you when you mix Courtney Love and Dire Straits samples with this post-MTV generation of streamers? Sound good yet?

This hip-hop soap opera is as crazily compelling as the time R. Kelly got himself 'Trapped In The Closet' between the robes and midget lovers. And Terrence Howard's Lucious Lyon is still a baaaad man. Not ashamed of it. The 'Hustle and Flow' Academy star who had a critically underrated genre-splitting album ('Shine Through It'. Something he reflects here at least once on the acoustic) as unfair as his 'Iron Man 2' replacement is still the don. Even if he doesn't lay down a single verse on one of his braggadocious beats, he still brings the inferno that ignites any drama this soap scrubs with no TLC. Yet you still can't hate an actor this devilishly good. No matter how 'Wayward Pines' sinisterly bad his character is or gets. He still manages to snake oil it all around. And amazingly like his once scorned and now relationship reborn inner circle we buy it all like water to a well. Or fire in hell. At least Taraji P. Henson still gives him Dante's best. As Cookie cuts down Lucious to size. Adding their hash-tag "Coocious" trend sounds more like a venereal disease. The star who showed this year just how well she can really act in the Oscar nominated 'Hidden Figures' still unofficially runs this Empire behind the scenes like Pharrell Williams behind the beats of that NASA launch. To Timbaland's thumping score though it's the three kids that are the three kings. Bryshere Y. Gray, AKA Yazz The Greatest is maturing faster than he's rapping. Whilst the substance addicted acting of Jussie Smollett needs a real-life album to come with that big-screen 'Alien: Covenant' role quickly for the true talent. 'Selma' star, the terrific Trai Byers is also agonizingly good as the anxiety aggravated Andre. Yet after seemingly leaving his heart on a beach like discarded shoes for the tide, it seems Dre will sell his soul to anyone now, doing more deals than the devils work.

Good job in real life he's married to co-star Grace (Gealey) Byers, who crazily here threw his on-screen wife of a balcony and to her death to start this season as explosively as the glass of the car windshield and crumpled roof she fell on. But as much as we miss Kaitlin Doubleday her spirit literally guest star haunts her lions share of the episodes before the mid-season break. Thankfully we also have more than precious screen-time for Lee Daniels protegee Gabourey Sidibe and Taylor Swift B.F.F. Serayah with bad blood for anyone trying to take her stage. Whilst after crashing a wedding at the fall of the last finale, rapper Xzibit pimps season 3 as a series regular. Exhibiting the best line of the run as he warns a Thirsty lawyer, "the only reason I'm not slapping you out that 20 dollar suit right now"...well, you can imagine the rest. There's more guest star power in the formidable fierce form of former 'Fresh Prince' love Nia Long and equally sharp 'Cosby' wife and 'Creed' mother Phylicia Rashad. But in regards to all the red carpet rolled out guests. Including a diva Mariah Carey, the full disclosure of Demi Moore and the housewives that are desperate favourite Eva Longoria. It's former 'West Wing' detail and 'Murder In The First' detective (remember the immortal line, "on the ground or in your grave"?) Taye Diggs that cops the best, scene stealing part. As a charisma coated politican not afraid to walk into the Lyon's den and leave a thorn in the prides paw aswell as Cookie crumbling. In this 'Best Man' reunion Taye digs deeper to save this show from such a tired cliche. As this one scores points in pointing to what really is of greater concern. From issues of police brutality to the Black Lives Matter movement. But it's only right that this show steeped in scandal like (Kerry) Washington ends its run on the Sin City strip of Las Vegas like De Niro amd Sharon Stone's 'Casino'. Where the deck of stars all roll out until the last one wins. They look even sleazier under the neon lights, but one last game of dice could save them from snake eyes. Or even worse a Season 4 hangover. We 'aint putting that Cookie down just now! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

See This If You Liked: 'Nashville', 'Star', 'Best Man Holiday'.

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