In the summer of 2014 I watched, was impressed and very pleased with the Starz network TV series Power, which is executive produced by rapper and actor Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. The series follows character James St. Patrick, nicknamed “Ghost”, owner of a popular New York City nightclub. St. Patrick/Ghost is also a major player in one of the city’s biggest illegal drug networks. Last season unveiled his struggle to balance his two lives – perhaps three lives, since he is married but has a mistress. The balance begins to collapse when St. Patrick/Ghost realizes he wants to leave the drug ring in order to support his legitimate business and commit to his mistress, an Assistant District Attorney. Each episode of the new Power series was simply awesome. I wait anxiously for Season 2 to premiere this summer!
Here’s an intro-episode clip of Power:
Last Wednesday evening (January 7, 2015) the Fox TV network premiered the new series Empire, created, written and produced by actor/film director/producer, Lee Daniels and actor/screenwriter, Danny Strong. The show centers around a hip hop music and entertainment company called Empire Enterprises, and the drama between the members of the founder’s family as they fight for control of the company. Expect to hear some damn good music on Empire which can be downloaded on iTunes.
Here’s an intro-trailer clip of Empire:
Having watched the first episode of this show I must admit to being impressed and pleased with that show, too. Both Power and Empire feature Black actors in lead and major roles. Each series has a different plot and obviously different characters. I have yet to see more episodes of Empire to ascertain whether I will fully like the show. Considering that I’ve seen the collaborative work of Daniels and Strong before, it’s a safe bet that I’ll be giving high praises to this new series too!
Speaking of giving, I give extra points to Empire for immediately featuring in its first episode, one major character as a masculine Black gay man who is in an interracial homosexual relationship with another masculine man. Sweet! I make special mention of that point because on basic (not cable) television it is rare to see masculine Black gay male character roles, let alone on a show series where a male, same-gender-loving character of color is in an interracial relationship.
In both Power and Empire, I’m pleased to finally see realistic drama television programs featuring a predominately Black cast – with each role specifically written for and fitting the actor or actress portraying their assigned character of the story. It’s especially refreshing to see a cast of Black men and women featured in good quality and serious drama roles instead of always in a terribly written situation comedy or in one of those shitty “reality TV” series shows (click here to see a list of them) that I’ve always loathed. I think those particular television shows are ethnically embarrassing to me as a Black man and wish that every last one of them were yanked off television.
Simply put, I think Power and Empire are (so far) examples of exceptional television writing; something which – as far as television shows featuring people of color are concerned, has long been missing from television. As long as the writers and producers continue the excellent writing of these two television series and keep them realistically entertaining, I’ll keep watching. For another review on Empire, I invite you to click here to read my friend Kris Avalon’s excellent blog article!
Check local television and cable listings or the embedded links in this article to learn more about Power and Empire.