Note: Updated and republished on Sept. 26, 2018, for the season premiere of Empire.
There are many reasons that you should be watching or should catch up on "Empire." Luckily for you, there will be plenty of opportunities. Fox has kept all the episodes available on the Fox Now app, On Demand and Hulu, just to name a few options. This show is made for binge-watching.
8 reasons why Empire was made for binge-watching
It's home-grown: Booker T. alum Wendy Calhoun was a co-executive producer for the hot, hotter, hottest show during its first season. She had to have in on this show, she said, and is grateful for its wild success and cheers on any other comers. "Why can't we all share this," she asks. "There's plenty of viewers and stories to go around."
All hail the queen: Cookie Lyon is a boss. As she puts it: "My name is Cookie Lyon. Ask somebody." The matriarch of the clan of music makers has been in prison for 17 years prior to when we meet her on the show. She used her time wisely, learning how to throw shade with the best of them. It's not far-fetched to say that actress Taraji P. Henson is in a career-making role. Her one-liners are epic. She even inspired a hashtag on Twitter (obviously, I wasn't the only one who thought of it): #CookieMonsters.
Shakespeare meets soap opera: Early in the season, patriarch - emperor, if you will - Lucious Lyon tells his three sons that he will choose one as his successor, setting up what you know is going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. The show is self-aware enough that it winks to the viewer with a line from middle son Jamal: "What is this? We King Lear now?" Co-creators Danny Strong and Lee Daniels (writer and director of The Butler) matched up what each wanted to see and got King Lear and Dynasty, all rolled into one. What's not to like about that?
Speaking of Jamal: Jussie Smollett is an honest-to-goodness double threat. Acting is the family business, but he's been playing music for years. His role as Jamal allows him to do both. The season was only half over before he had signed a record deal.
Genre-skipping music: The first soundtrack bowed at No. 1 when it was released. For those who have watched, it's like an all-around sensory experience in which the scenes that go with the music just tumble around your brain. Timbaland was head of the music in the first season and collaborator Jim Beanz wrote most of it. Some of it is horrifically bad, but oh, so good. Case in point: "Drip Drop."
Easy access: Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Gray, who plays younger brother Hakeem on the show, went off on a whirlwind tour across the country to sign CDs and meet and greet for the first season. They even came to Dallas' Hard Rock Café. The writers, cast, maybe even the head caterer - and me - live-tweet the show and are active all over social media platforms. Empire lets you look into Cookie's closet; try to win a walk-on role; and download its music. Best of all, the actors seem to be having just as much fun as the viewers.
Guest appearances: Raven Symone (That's So Raven) plays Olivia, Jamal's ex-wife and former backup singer. The best part about that is that was the name of her character on The Cosby Show. Note to Empire writers: That's a backstory I need to see. Snoop. Estelle. Mary J. Blige. Patti freakin' LaBelle. Alicia Keys. And then you read that co-creator Daniels is working on good friend Denzel Washington, too? Flatline.
It's a family affair: It's been a while since there was a show that brought the entire family together to watch. Teens and grandmothers alike can't wait for Cookie's next take-down. Not only families but every demographic you can think of; it's all-inclusive. If you need proof, just look at the commercials that are all over the place, from car sales to cable shows to mommy ads, they all want in.