‘Empire’ (2015-) has been a pretty successful show which has been airing on Fox for three years now. The show documents the struggle of power between family members for a hugely successful music label known as Empire Entertainment. The patriarch of the family and owner pf the label is Lucious Lyon. Lucious is suffering from a terminally fatal disease and thus should make a decision on who should be his heir in the company once he passes away. He has three sons to choose from. Moreover, he and his wife, Cookie Lyon have a dark past. Both of them were drug dealers and the money they earned selling drugs was what had helped Lucious set up the company in the first place.
However, during one such drug deal, Cookie had got arrested 17 years ago, and after serving her sentence she comes back to reclaim the portion of the property which was rightfully hers all along. Empire is a very intense drama, filled with power-packed performances and some great writing. Here’s the list of TV series similar to Empire that are our recommendations. You can watch many of these shows like Empire on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Succession (2018-)
‘Succession’ follows almost a similar premise as that of ‘Empire’. It is the story of a dysfunctional family which is the owner of a huge media conglomerate. The problems start when the head of the family, Logan Roy, decides to leave his position at the top of the company due to health-related complications. He has four children who don’t see eye to eye and all of them want control of the company. The show has been created by Jesse Armstrong, and in June 2018, it was announced by HBO that ‘Succession’ has been greenlit for a second season. The series has been positively received by critics, and has a comedic/satiric undertone which makes the writing really interesting. The first episode of the series entitled ‘Celebration’ was directed by Adam McKay for which he won the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series.
9. Nashville (2012-2018)
‘Nashville’ is one of the most popular musical dramas of recent times. It follows the lives of several country music stars in Nashville and the problems between them. The show has a taste of ‘A Star is Born’, but here the established star is not happy that her place is being taken away by the newbie. The show starts with following the rivalry between Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). While Jaymes is a country music icon, she is getting old and Barnes is the new superstar of the genre. Later in the series, Jaymes’ daughter who also grows up to be a famous country musician. The first five seasons of Nashville were all positively received by critics.
8. Star (2016-)
‘Star’ is a story about three strong girls who forge their own destiny. It revolves around Star Davis, a young 18-year-old girl, her half-sister Simone Davis, and Alexandra Crane. The three decide to form an R&B/pop group despite opposition from all quarters and problems from their past which always haunts them at every corner. However, the girls struggle and finally start getting successful. ‘Star’ crosses over with ‘Empire’ at a point when the trio are given a chance to sign for a small record label by Empire Entertainment. Now when they start becoming successful, the girls realize that fame comes at its own price. The show has been nominated for multiple Teen Choice Awards.
7. Shameless (2011-)
John Wells is the creator of this comedy/drama which has been airing successfully on Showtime since 2011. While ‘Empire’ tells the story of a business tycoon and his family, ‘Shameless’ is a tale about a working-class family headed by Frank Gallagher, a drunk who is also a single father, He has six children, but his drinking problem does not let him bring his children up properly, and thus they start taking care of themselves. William H. Macy won two Screen Actors’ Guild Awards for his fabulous performance as Frank Gallagher. The show has received positive reviews from all critics for its social awareness and great writing.
6. Queen Sugar (2016-)
Queen Sugar is a critically acclaimed show that has been created by Ava DuVernay. It is the story of three siblings who come together when their father passes away. While one of them is a journalist and social activist, one is a working mother who lives in upscale Los Angeles with her son, and the third sibling is a brother who is also a single parent and is facing troubles raising his son as he is unemployed. The three of them meet when their father leaves behind an 800-acre sugarcane farm. The show gives rise to important themes of racial profiling, gender, and class to the surface. The show does not indulge in melodrama, but tells a robust story deeply rooted in socio-political realities of the characters.
5. The Royals (2015-2018)
This is a show about a fictional British royal family on whom a sorry fate has befallen. Queen Helena is the matriarch of the royal family. The heir apparent is Prince Robert, who also has two siblings Twins Prince Liam and Princess Eleanor who only enjoy the perks of being born into the royal family without wanting to take responsibility for anything. In the meanwhile, Liam falls for the daughter of the head of security. While trying to keep the prestige off the family intact, Helena decides to take matters in her own hands to decide the future of her family and see to it that it does not go to ruins because of her incapable grandchildren. Mark Schwahn is the creator of the show and Elizabeth Hurley plays the role of Helena.
4. The Fosters (2013-2018)
When a lesbian couple try and raise five children, there are bound to be problems. This is the situation the two leading characters in ‘The Fosters’ find themselves to be. Stef Adams (a policewoman) and Lena Adams Foster (a school principal) are the two leading characters of the how. Along with their children, the couple lives in San Diego, California. Teri Polo and Sherri Saum play the two major characters in the show. Jennifer Lopez is one of the executive producers of the show. Freeform was airing the show from 2013. Freeform has always been a channel to take up socially aware topics and The Fosters found a right home at the channel.
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3. Vinyl (2016)
A story about a 1970s record executive, Vinyl is a rollercoaster ride through the crazy rock ‘n roll world of drugs, sex, alcohol and flamboyance. Richie Finestra is the executive played by Bobby Cannavale. The show, though canceled after one season, has some great filmmaking and impactful performances by the cast and crew. Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese are among the creators of the show with Scorsese also having directed the first episode. The soundtrack of the show is excellent and Cannavale delivers a stunning performance. Fans of hard rock, punk, and even classic rock must check this show out! When HBO decided to cancel the show, Scorsese reportedly got very disheartened and felt that this would not have happened had he been more involved in the series and how it turned out to be.
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2. Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
Probably one of the most popular shows in the history of television, Game of Thrones has become an indisputable part of modern pop culture. Each actor playing major characters in the show are now major superstars in their own rights. Created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, GoT follows three major storylines- one of what happens at the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, King Landing. One how a descendant of the original ruler of Westeros has been collecting an army to take back what is hers, and the other one is of what lies beyond a protective wall built to the north of Westeros. The series has shattered numerous records, and Peter Dinklage has been the standout performer in the series, being awarded three Emmys and one Golden Globe Award for his performance in the character of Tyrion Lannister. No other show in television history has had such a wide following. Each episode has huge production costs, quite a lot of CGI, and detailing.
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1. The Sopranos (1999-2007)
‘The Sopranos‘ is widely considered one of the greatest TV shows ever made. It is the story of Mafia boss Tony Soprano and his family. Soprano has a tough time managing his huge underworld empire and his family at the same time. Soprano visits a psychiatrist regularly for counseling, and it is to her that he reveals everything. When the series begins, Tony Soprano starts as an underboss of the DiMeo crime family, and slowly rises up the ranks to become its ultimate boss. The interesting thing about his character is that despite being a mafia boss, Sporano sometimes suffers from depression. This vulnerability coupled with his fortitude is what makes him one of the greatest characters in television history. The Sopranos has won a total of 21 Emmy Awards. The Writers Guild of Ameica, Rolling Stone magazine, and numerous other bodies have declared this show to be the greatest ever.
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