"I'm here to get what's mine." - Fox's 'Empire'
March 1, 2015 12:00 AM   Subscribe

​​Empire is a Monster That Is Eating Network Television - Buzzfeed​, Feb. 26, 2015:​
"When it comes to ratings, Fox’s Empire is on a trajectory that’s unprecedented in broadcast television’s recent history, which has mostly been marked by — to appropriate a phrase from Hakeem Lyon (Bryshere Y. Gray) — drip drops, if not just​​ plain old slaughter. As of last week, it is the No. 1 show on network television in the 18 to 49 demographic advertisers seek. And once again, the show built on its ratings this week."​
​"The Feb. 25 episode expanded the show’s viewership for the seventh week in a row. In preliminary Nielsen numbers, it drew 13.9 million viewers and a 5.4 rating in the key 18 to 49 demo. When you compare that to the Jan. 7 premiere’s already impressive audience of 9.9 million and 3.8 among those 18 to 49, it’s clear the Fox drama has exploded. Since Nielsen began measuring total viewers as a data point in the early ’90s, no new show has risen weekly like Empire has."
​Variety​ review by Brian Lowry​
"Created by director Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, who collaborated on 'Lee Daniels’ The Butler' (which counted Howard among its cast), 'Empire' owes an obvious debt to 'Dreamgirls,' exposing the ruthlessness that surrounds the music industry. The premiere effectively uses flashbacks to putty in some of the family history, but almost every beat is so familiar the narrative can employ a kind of shorthand. That includes the music, which is plentiful, catchy, written by Timbaland, and as slick and derivative as everything else on display."
​​ Eric Deggans at Code Switch, NPR: ​The Success Of Fox's​ '​​Empire' Reveals A Few Do's And Don'ts For T​V
"Empire seems to be working because it is telling stories that resonate with black viewers. It's talking about black families' struggles to accept gay people, sibling rivalries, couples separated when one person lands in jail and the struggles black women face for equality with black men. Crafting a world that feels real to black viewers is an achievement which reaches beyond the race of its characters to the heart of its storytelling."
In hip-hop-fueled 'Empire,' 'King Lear' meets 'Dynasty' - L.A. Times, Robert Lloyd: "[Lee] Strong has, indeed, said that he wanted to make a hip-hop 'Lear.' But Daniels has also said that he wanted to make 'a black "Dynasty".' They have both gotten their wish, and though the result can be obvious, even cornball, at times, the show — which is smart enough, often enough — works."

​Empire -- False Imposition, ​Tom + Lorenzo
"There’s a lot of astonishingly tone deaf if not downright condescending chatter right now as to 'why' Empire is such a massive hit; a question or concern that didn’t greet, say, Revenge when it had a successful launch and popular first season. Certainly, it shouldn’t be considered out of bounds to discuss the cultural implications of a night-time soap opera with a predominantly black cast gaining a large audience, but there’s this underlying tone that’s part 'Black people have discovered television!' and part 'White teenagers have discovered black people!' Hey, how about, it’s a show with a really talented cast and creators, with a rather high number of Oscar, Emmy and Grammy nominations (and wins) among them; a situation that, if everyone involved was white, would be referred to as a show with a high 'pedigree' whose success wouldn’t ever be questioned or need to be explained​?​

"We’re gonna go with that."
The A.V. Club: "Empire will either continue to be fun and splashy, while staying grounded and engaging, or it will flame out as so many primetime sudsers have before it, becoming too ridiculous for its own good."

: "Empire is sloppy, politically incorrect, and very good."
​Vulture:​​ ​Empire​ ​Is a Massive Hit. Here’s What Its Success Could Mean for the TV Business.

Essence: "​Empire​"​ Costume Designer Dishes on Taraji's Style​

See also: FanFare​​
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (56 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
This is my new favorite show.
Awesome links. Lears' initial problem is central to the main plot of Empire. Lucious needs an heir to the throne, but all three sons are engaged in keeping the Empire running. Lucious seems to be having problems with anyone of them having total control. One son has betrayed him already, with Vernons' help? Is Vernon the fool? Cookie and the Tamborine scene sold me.
posted by clavdivs at 1:05 AM on March 1, 2015

Popular show is popular.

In other news, NBC announces "Imperium" set in the exciting world of Latin hip hop, ABC announces "Satrap" set in the exciting world of Midwest hip hop, and CBS announces "Oikumene" set in the exciting world of Greek hip hop. All original ideas. Totally.
posted by fallingbadgers at 1:18 AM on March 1, 2015 [20 favorites]

Deleted from download. Overacted rubbish. Stopped after fourth episode. Mother connivance into big corporation was so unbelievable and stereotypically telegraphed with hand waves and struts, that it made it painful to watch.
posted by unliteral at 1:32 AM on March 1, 2015

Taraji Henson is amazing and over the top in all the right ways as Cookie.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:11 AM on March 1, 2015 [8 favorites]

Watched three or four episodes but I'm done too. Pretty much the same story line every episode and definitely over-acted.
posted by tamitang at 2:15 AM on March 1, 2015

The overacting is part of the soapy fun!

I was skeptical when the promos were being pushed by Fox at every turn in the winter, but it really is just cracky fun with some pretty good musical numbers. Jamal's version of "You're So Beautiful" has been earwormed in my head all week. And that scene was great, not the last of which was in addition to the flashback to when Lucious threw Jamal in the trash for wearing Cookie's heels, Andre actually has to say "He just came out" during the song for the benefit of the slow viewers out there. No anvil is too heavy for this show!

Cookie can do no wrong, the outfits are amazingly over the top, and they've still managed to work in some really current issues about colorism and homosexuality. It's everything Nashville was supposed to be for country music (see: Rayna's and Juliette's tour outfits; Saint Rayna; and Will the closeted cowboy; and swap colorism for classism), only Nashville has become an unbelievably dreary and annoying slog this year and they've even given up on trying to promote any good music. Empire all the way!
posted by TwoStride at 2:32 AM on March 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'm having fun with this did you guys somehow expect it not to be a soap opera?
posted by atoxyl at 4:05 AM on March 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

I have never seen the show but I'm thrilled that it's raising awareness about ALS.
posted by amro at 5:42 AM on March 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

I haven't watched the show, but many of my friends do, and from their tweets and postings, it seems that there's one real reason the show works, and that's COOKIE. She's apparently the most fun character on TV right now, so I don't think it's any mystery...great characters are really hard to write and really hard to act, especially in a first season.
posted by xingcat at 6:56 AM on March 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

Danny Strong just seems to be conquering the world. I wonder when the demon that balances this new force of good with the opposing force of evil will show up?
posted by yoink at 6:56 AM on March 1, 2015 [8 favorites]

I'm glad that Lee Daniels' talent for full-throated, two-fisted DRAMA and STORIES is not going to waste on timid projects. No joke. The guy has a distinctive voice and the world is happy for him to share it.

The fact that Danny Strong is the co-creator is awesome as well. You never know when the featured extra in the background might be secretly full of possibilities.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:13 AM on March 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

Quite impressive. Not the show, even though it apparently is, but the ability of many of the comments thus far to ignore (a) that the show is, by all evidence, one of traditional network TV's biggest hits in years, by one Nielsen measure since the early 1990s, and (b) that the fact that it's a massive hit gets sniffed at by whites because it's not a "white" show. The excuse being not that it's not a "white" show but that it's somehow bad because it's -- what? Overacted? What other network TV show isn't overacted? Over the top? What other network TV show isn't over the top?
posted by blucevalo at 7:48 AM on March 1, 2015 [13 favorites]

the fact that it's a massive hit gets sniffed at by whites

This is some Yogi Berra level "no one goes there any more, it's too crowded" stuff. It's a "massive hit" among whites. So no, there is no "massive" white refusal to accept a black soap opera. And, sure, there are going to be some people sniffing that a TV soap opera is overacted, unrealistic and over-the-top. Because that is what TV soap operas are, by their nature, and that is what certain people have been saying about them--and their usually white casts--since the dawn of TV. Do you really think it would be hard to find people "sniffing" at, say, Nashville on similar grounds?
posted by yoink at 8:13 AM on March 1, 2015 [12 favorites]

To get 18-49 to watch something that isn't sports live is a heroic achievement ... and yes, it's going to be insanely imitated. The demographic aspects of both the actors / setting and the viewership won't be lost. Univision has been arguing to Wall Street and Madison Avenue for years that DVR penetration and habituation is far lower among minorities and they they should be getting paid well for that, Empire should help them too.

It's a neat contrast to Hannibal -- NBC's effort to get the high income cable / streaming audience onto the broadcast network -- where they essentially conceded that their viewing is going to be 100% time shifted by way of running it Friday night, when the younger part of their demographic is out with friends and the older part is in bed because they've got to drive their kids to early hockey practice or an away lacrosse game on Saturday morning.
posted by MattD at 8:17 AM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

I started watching this for Taraji P. Henson (who I absolutely loved in "Person of Interest"), and she has not disappointed. I'm really happy to see her get the recognition she deserves. Even though she is the standout star, I also have to say there are a lot of other talented actors and compelling characters on the show. Plus, I'm kind of a sucker for TV shows with music as a center piece.*

I've watched all the episodes except the most recent one, and I've enjoyed them in all their dramatic, over the topic, soap-y goodness. Sure, that's not everyone's thing, but I feel like there's always a place for this kind of show, and I don't think the show is trying to be anything other than what it is. It's very watchable and definitely entertaining. Also, I'll take a show that's purposefully melodramatic and over the top over a show that takes itself too seriously any day.

*Actually, this is pretty much how I got sucked into watching "Glee." Started watching for Lea Michele, got caught up in the music, and then somehow gritted my teeth through 6 seasons of barely watchable TV, but that's a whole 'nother story...
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:09 AM on March 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

Oh, and thanks to joseph conrad is fully awesome for posting this FPP. I love reading reviews of TV shows, but I hadn't ventured beyond AV club yet for Empire. (I also didn't realize this was up on Fanfare!)

I'm a little wary of wading too far into the race dynamics (as someone who is white and has spent a fair amount of my life in a fairly homogenous cohort), but I will say that it's nice to see a show which features a nearly all black cast, and in particular one that has a black woman as the lead, doing so well with overall ratings.

This reminded me of an article I read awhile ago in Buzzfeed about the recent film Beyond the Lights. The article talks about the challenges writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood faced in getting this movie made. I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds like the movie got a pretty good response, so I hope the success of projects like "Beyond the Lights" and "Empire" pave the way for even more TV shows and movies which feature diverse casts, particularly ones that have a strong female lead as the central character.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:25 AM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

i love this show! i barely ever watch shows current - i usually let them build up half to a full season before binge watching them - but with this show i'm watching within 48 hours of broadcast so i don't get too spoiled by social media and so i can read the (absolutely stellar) recaps by jenfullmoon on fanfare.

yes, it's soapy and overwrought, yes there are plot holes (but come on, it's not like breaking bad or the sopranos worked in realistic universes), but god it's just fun and engaging, and I CAN'T STOP SINGING DRIP DROP. by episode 4 i had wondered if i would stick with it, but i feel like 7 and 8 have really payed off some of what felt to be dragging in 4 and 5.

i still want a web show or something where porsha and becky are amateur sleuths solving mysteries in the building, ducking into hallways, rifling through people's files, manipulating the new head of security to get into places they shouldn't, and avoiding him when he gets too close to their case. i would watch the ever loving hell out of that. they could tie it in to the main show without disrupting it pretty easily, i think.

finally - even though she's not directly involved in any way - bless shonda rhimes for creating the environment that made space for a show like empire. yes, it will be imitated poorly just because it's so successful, but it will also hopefully keep cracking the ceiling that lets amazing non-white talent through and on to our screens.
posted by nadawi at 9:37 AM on March 1, 2015 [8 favorites]

I haven't watched this show yet precisely because the blank pundits and comics that I follow on twitter talk SO much shit about it, specifically saying it's a garbage representation of black culture. That said they watch it every week, so...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:06 AM on March 1, 2015

I am full up on soapy dramas, but I am saving it for the summer.
posted by jeather at 10:15 AM on March 1, 2015

huh - weird - the hilarious, feminist/womanist, often queer black women that i follow on twitter all love it. i'm not sure i've seen anyone complaining about representation or stereotyping.
posted by nadawi at 10:22 AM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

A criticism that I have heard is that Empire is ostensibly about hip-hop and the record industry, but it's really retro and out-of-touch with what's currently going on in hip-hop and the record industry. It's like it's set sometime in the late '90s, except that it's not. I don't particularly care, but it seems to irk and/or amuse people who pay more attention to that stuff.
i still want a web show or something where porsha and becky are amateur sleuths solving mysteries in the building, ducking into hallways, rifling through people's files, manipulating the new head of security to get into places they shouldn't, and avoiding him when he gets too close to their case. i would watch the ever loving hell out of that. they could tie it in to the main show without disrupting it pretty easily, i think.
This has to happen. Someone get on that right now.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:34 AM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

nadawi: Thanks! Though I worry about you now because you..."CAN'T STOP SINGING DRIP DROP." Oh no! *blasts "Dolla Dolla Bill" to break the earworm*

* I still think "Dolla Dolla Bill" is a better name for that song.

As for the Porsha/Becky show: Becky would be good at this. Porsha, I fear...would not be so much. I think she'd just be standing in the background chewing gum and making amusing faces and thinking this shit is stupid a lot of the time. Not that that's a bad thing....

Anyway, I am delighted to see a post on this show on the blue. It's soapy fun and I enjoy it so. Whatever will I do in a few weeks without Hakeem to make fun of and no new outfits from Cookie? And Taraji is really awesome, actually doesn't make me mind that she's no longer on PoI any more--and clearly she's got to be having so much more fun.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:54 PM on March 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

ArbitraryAndCapricious, heh - i totally agree about it being in the wrong time period. i just imagine it's in the multi-verse where certain things didn't happen in hip hop and puff daddy type reigns were able to extend longer (speaking of - puff daddy has banned his son from being on the show because the contracts do not favor the artists - they'll probably want to fix that if they want to maintain their line of stellar guest stars - not that puffy's son is all that or anything, but just that others likely have that concern).

jenfullmoon, i did drip drop to myself!! i inflicted it on my husband because i thought, "haha - he doesn't even watch the show and he'll be drawn in by the repeated drippings and droppings" and reinfected myself and now we're singing it together and i fear it may never end.

also, i can see that about porsha, but i think she might have more to give but hasn't gotten the space to show it yet. and even if she was more standing back and chewing gum, that could work - becky is the one always getting them mixed up in whatever tomfoolery and porsha is the less engaged participant who occasionally breaks her disapproval face to save the evidence from the trash compactor, proving that she's more invested than she lets on.
posted by nadawi at 1:08 PM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think that it is part of the coversation about queer hip hop, that began with OCean and Leif and Banks--I think it is better on R&B than on hip hop--and I think Ms Hanson is amazing.
posted by PinkMoose at 1:18 PM on March 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

raising awareness about ALS.
posted by amro

I should think at this point "awareness" of ALS is at an order of magnitude greater than for any other disease that affects fewer than 6000 Americans a year (other than maybe Ebola) -- ever since the ice bucket thing at least.

Apparently other more common diseases need better agents. When was the last time colon cancer showed up in a TV drama? I'm thinking Katie Couric was its last prime time role.
posted by spitbull at 2:55 PM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

You do realize that this is a reasonably trashy prime-time soap opera, right? I'm fairly certain that they chose ALS purely for plot reasons, not because they were deeply committed to raising awareness and bettering society.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:08 PM on March 1, 2015

I'm fairly certain that they chose ALS purely for plot reasons, not because they were deeply committed to raising awareness and bettering society.

I know nothing about the show but I have a lot of professional experience at the intersection of the entertainment industry and advocacy and it's totally plausible that someone, somewhere (not necessarily a writer) decided to use that opening, however small, to put that particular disease in front of the public. Again, I don't know the show, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea in general.

As for the trashy part, before recycling was the norm, Baywatch specifically sought out recycling bins (which were uncommon at the time) as set dressing and props to show the actors recycling because at least one important person connected to show cared about environmental issues. A gazillion people world-wide watched that show. Media is powerful.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:42 PM on March 1, 2015 [7 favorites]

They probably picked ALS for a somewhat(?) slow onset period so that Lucious can pretend to be "normal" most of the time for awhile before it really kicks in.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:31 PM on March 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know. I do watch the show, and I think they wanted a disease that's really and truly fatal, so you know that the character is not going to be miraculously cured, and that doesn't affect people's cognitive abilities, so he can continue to scheme. I don't think there's anything more than that. Lee Daniels has been totally upfront about the fact that he is trying to advance an anti-homophobia agenda with the show and that the relationship between Lucious and Jamal is to some extent based on his own relationship with his father, but I think that Lucious has ALS for plot reasons, not because anyone is trying to raise awareness.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:39 PM on March 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Fair enough! I was just addressing the idea in general; more importantly, this sounds like a really fun show and will binge on when my current shows take a break.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:04 PM on March 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

ALS with its personal physical certainties underpins the plot line of Luciuos' paralysis of a changing world. He is trying to maintain and preserve those aspects which give him his power. Seemingly, many external forces conflict with his supposed ultimate goal, to preserve and continue the music. But there is a Dichotomy at play, Luciuos claims it is about the music, a thing more important then anyone's career including his own. Yet he does not trust that the music will go on if the right person isn't running Empire.
He even does his own hits.
I think redemption will be the real under current that moves the storyline along.

I love the music too.
posted by clavdivs at 7:59 PM on March 1, 2015

Oh heeeey, I just thought of a way to improve Hakeem's character.

Right now he's young, dumb, and full of cum. He's grown up rich and privileged, so all he has to sing about are bitches and money. The biggest trauma he's had is (a) his mom being in prison, and (b) his showmance girlfriend turning out to be a lesbian. I think if he went through some serious hardship, he might improve. Two words: Oliver Queen.

So....I say we drop Hakeem onto the island of Lian Yu. He and his dad are flying to something or other, the plane crashes, Lucious drowns, and Hakeem is forced to learn how to survive on an island where everyone is trying to kill him. Without any piece to shoot with, Hakeem is forced to take up learning archery. Five years later he returns, battle scarred, only to find out that Andre is running the company, Jamal is doing just fine, and his mama has eloped with the security guy. Hakeem looks at his former bros and rolls his eyes and thinks, "Those bitches don't know nuffin'." He writes badass songs about REAL gang wars and about being horny with nothing but his hand for five years.

Uh, yeah, this is what happens in my brain.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:07 PM on March 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

I've been really enjoying Empire it's a fun watch.
posted by SarahElizaP at 8:39 PM on March 1, 2015

Oh heeeey, I just thought of a way to improve Hakeem's character.

Super neat idea. You should pitch that to Fox!
posted by clavdivs at 9:57 PM on March 1, 2015

Between the ice bucket challenge and Stephen Hawking biopic and Lou Gherig, seriously what is the point of ALS "awareness?" Is it to raise research money? Because it won't prevent s single person from getting the disease and there's no social stigma to be overcome. ALS affects a tiny number of people relative to how "aware" we are these days about it. Metastatic breast cancer kills 55,000 Anerican (mostly) women a year, and is newly diagnosed in many more, often (despite massive "awareness" that places bullshit levels of faith in screening and confuses all breast cancer with early stage). And yet for all the pink ribbons and awareness campaigns, 5% of breast cancer research targets this most deadly form of the disease.

"Awareness" is a double edged sword in which diseases become celebrities in their own right. ALS is terrible, but it is a trivially minor public health issue compared to things of which few Americans are "aware."

It's also romanticized (unlike many other terminal diseases, no one covertly blames ALS sufferers for being sick) and slow to develop. It's perfect for viral PR and Hollywood-ready plot lines. But it is not nearly the scourge of mankind that, say, hepatitis C is.
posted by spitbull at 4:43 AM on March 2, 2015

Oh and I mention Hep C because more "awareness" of that would save lives.
posted by spitbull at 4:52 AM on March 2, 2015

unless i missed it, lee daniels has never said he's raising awareness for als, so this all seems like a big ole derail.
posted by nadawi at 4:58 AM on March 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

I actually thought the ALS storyline was shamelessly lifted from Breaking Bad, so there you go. The show is good sudsy fun, as someone put it upthread.

And Cookie gets all the attention because they're giving all the best stuff to her, but the rest of the cast is pretty good too IMHO. The only weak link is Terrence Howard, he's sort of under-acting or de-acting or something, but he is good at playing angry, and shouting, so hey, maybe make him shout more, I guess.

Sometimes you just want to tune into a mindless, cheesy drama show. This is mine.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:16 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I see your point spitbull. I think it is plot vechile and awareness. I see no problem with ALS awareness being part of the plot but I think that the show will generate revenue for others to contribute and aid other worthy causes.
posted by clavdivs at 1:25 PM on March 2, 2015

Thanks for posting about this, fully awesome. I've been meaning to watch the show but putting it off and this post convinced me to jump in. It's definitely a new favorite of mine.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:07 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Looking forward to seeing this. It starts airing here next week.
posted by Bugbread at 9:35 PM on March 2, 2015

*Actually, this is pretty much how I got sucked into watching "Glee."
finally - even though she's not directly involved in any way - bless shonda rhimes for creating the environment that made space for a show like empire.

Smashing these two thoughts together: I've only watched a little bit of Empire, but I think Ryan Murphy should probably be considered as much of an antecedent as Shonda Rhimes. She for the powerful black characters, and he for the balls-crazy plot-hole-embracing homofestive nutbarness.
posted by psoas at 5:38 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

oh yeah, glee totally gets props for nashville and empire - it has to. the imposters can be terrible, you never really know what will crack things open.
posted by nadawi at 6:10 PM on March 3, 2015

Can Empire’s High Ratings Cure Lucious’s ALS?

They already set that up with the Hawking conversation, but I think they should let him die at some point for the story to really move on.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:42 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

DD, that was fast catching up! The plotline is already set up for Luciuos to die. Prison, assassination, and illness are but a few possibilities. If one were to follow the Lear model for power structure with-in Empire, death in inevitable, it really is about the betrayal and who will inherit. And your are right, drinkydie, the "Hawking" conversation really set the bell for son number 1 and he fell right in Vernon and Luciuos' trap.

Sounds like the rest of the season is going to heat up, and I'm geared. Love this show.
posted by clavdivs at 10:01 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

DD, that was fast catching up!

Heh, I don't mess around when I start getting into a show.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:05 PM on March 3, 2015

Yeah, like 3 episodes is two hours today. Really the show needs 90 minutes IMO, less time constraints on the music. Can't peg Vernon, my personal favorite, good back story stuff and always central to the re curing themes within the plot line.
What do you make of his role? Does he do the right thing or does he have his own designs? The fashion aspects of the show, vibrant, somewhat flashy but subtle and extremely stylish.
posted by clavdivs at 11:12 PM on March 3, 2015

i can't peg vernon yet - i'm definitely interested to see how his role develops. he's either the moral center or the whispering fool...maybe both.
posted by nadawi at 8:00 AM on March 4, 2015

I base Vernons' character along the lines of the consecutive fool as portrayed by shake-sphere and Rowley. Or even Henry Patterson. [PDF]
I view Vernons' function as protecting the crown and the realm so to say. To much of Lears fool red into Vernon limits his character. Though, knowing the angles and business relationship with Lucious kind of makes him his left-hand man or even factotum.
Moral center is interesting but I think it's along the lines of ethics. For example Vernon was very upset when Luciuos did the hit and left Hom out of the loop. That was an intersting plot twist.
posted by clavdivs at 11:28 AM on March 4, 2015

Basically I see him as the Machiavellian prime minister character, if this was a show actually about royalty akin to a lot of the Korean historical drama I've watched. Very loyal to the King and the heir apparent and very competent and protective of the kingdom, but very likely to be one of the first to switch sides if the political tide turns.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:35 PM on March 4, 2015

Oddly, tonight we have no further info about Vernon even when a council of war is called.
Why Drinkydie, your a Mandarin!
Kidding. Yeah, I suspect he may have had designs but there is no base for him, no, your loyal court adviser is acute but I believe his loyalty is to the leader then the realm.
What drama did you have for a contrast that was Korean.
For example I would not compare Vernon to Semar, but the ideaof a contrast could be noted for the veriocity of both characters when betrayl is concerned.
posted by clavdivs at 7:40 PM on March 4, 2015

It's hard to compare it to the Korean show because I don't remember any of the names. Maybe "Varys from Game of Thrones" gets close. More interested in protecting the realm than loyalty to anybody in particular. But unlike Varys less intentionally manipulative of the politics and more just ready to ride the waves of the politics if loyalty becomes counterproductive.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:55 PM on March 4, 2015

Yet Varys risked it all for Tryion. GOT, not a good comparison in this case but I'm leaning that Vernon is or could be a treasonous git.
posted by clavdivs at 4:27 PM on March 5, 2015

I never said that Lee Daniels was trying to raise awareness about ALS, just that the show is raising awareness by having a character with the disease. I wasn't looking to get into a debate about whether that's worthwhile or not. Everyone has their pet causes and ALS is one of mine.
posted by amro at 7:51 AM on March 7, 2015

"Game time, bitches"
what an ending, can't wait for season 2!
posted by clavdivs at 9:41 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

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