Day: December 13, 2019

Will excess spoil “Empire”?

When “Empire” arrived six years ago, it brought waves of optimism.
This would be the best of both worlds: The music would be vibrant – R-&-B, rap, pop, more – and the stories (about a record mogul, his wife and their three sons) would have a Shakespearean influence.
The pilot film had a “King Lear” reference. When Trai Byers auditioned (successfully) for the role of Andre, he and co-creator Danny Strong talked about “Hamlet.”
And now? Sure, “Empire” feels a little like Shakespeare’s scenes … but just the ones where a guy talks to ghosts or where witches cackle or where someone gets a donkey head. Read more…

Best-bets for Dec. 15: It’s a musical night

1) “Kennedy Center Honors,” 8:30-10:30 p.m most time zones, but 8-10 p.m. PT., CBS. This is an annual gem, filled with great music and smart little films and tributes. And now it’s more pop than ever. Two great singers, Trisha Yearwood and Carrie Underwood, tackle Linda Ronstadt songs. John Legend, Ne-Yo, Cynthia Erivo and the Jonas Brothers all do the music of Earth, Wind & Fire. There’s classical music (honoring Michael Tilson Thomas), a Sally Field tribute … and even a “Sesame Street” tribute (shown here), with music from Thomas Rhett. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Dec. 16: Murphy, music, more

1) “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m. Saturday, NBC. Eddie Murphy reached “SNL” in 1980, when it was reeling. The original stars and producer were gone; their replacements faltered. Then Murphy was added – first as an extra, then as a regular. He was 19, raw … and brilliant. He stayed for four seasons, then became a movie star. He slumped, but now has drawn raves (and a Golden Globe nomination) for Netflix’s “Dolemite is My Name” (shown here). Murphy hosts for the first time in 35 years; Lizzo is the music guest. Read more…