Empire - Season 1, Episode 1 - Rotten Tomatoes




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Episode Info

A music mogul plans for the future of his empire after learning he has a disease in the series premiere of this drama, which follows his struggle to choose an heir as his three sons and his ex-wife battle each other to take over the hip-hop throne.


Terrence Howard
as Lucious Lyon
Taraji P. Henson
as Cookie Lyon
Malik Yoba
as Vernon Turner
Jussie Smollett
as Jamal Lyon
Bryshere Y. Gray
as Hakeem Lyon
Trai Byers
as Andre Lyon
Grace Byers
as Anika Calhoun
Grace Gealey
as Anika Calhoun, Anika Gibbons
Kaitlin Doubleday
as Rhonda Lyon
View All

Pilot Photos

Critic reviews for Pilot

In the end, to me it seems like Daniels wanted to make a black nighttime soap and ended up wrapping it shoddily in rap music so that he could sell it easier.

January 10, 2020 | Full Review…

Almost all aspects of the pilot work. The characters are engaging (for the most part), the music is terrific and Taraji P. Henson is in it, so it's automatically getting bonus points for that.

March 1, 2015 | Full Review…

This opening salvo isn't just a mere disappointment; this is the engine stalling and catching fire before it even makes the first lap.

March 1, 2015 | Rating: 5.6/10 | Full Review…

This show is a hot mess but it is a really watchable hot mess with great performances by Taraji P. Henson and Jussiee Smollett (Jamal), in particular.

May 23, 2018 | Full Review…

If Cookie and Lucious' pow-wow is the best private moment in the pilot, the party is Empire's best, King Lear-iest public one.

March 1, 2015 | Full Review…

From the minute we first see Terrence Howard's Lucious Lyon... we know this sudsy soap-opera is going to get more over-the-top with each passing minute.

March 1, 2015 | Full Review…

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