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     The Comic Book 
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: When the main characters are all evil tyrants of variant selfishness and sadism, and even the supposed innocent character turns out to be a monster too, this trope practically describes every single page.
  • Iron Woobie: In a weird way, Golgoth becomes one of these.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Most of Delfi's dialog. Lampshaded by Lohkyn:
    Lohkyn: God, I need insulin just to listen to you-!
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Considering all the stuff Golgoth does during the entire run, it's very likely the reader will feel unsympathetic towards him considering the final fate of his daughter. It doesn't help that we're given no indication of just why he wants to conquer the world in the first place - how sorry can you really feel for a guy who doesn't seem to have realised that Despotism Justifies the Means wasn't compatible with a happy family life?

     The TV Show 
  • Award Snub: At the 5th Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards, the show was nominated for both Best Drama Series and Most Bingeworthy Show (both losses to The Americans and The Walking Dead, respectively). However, the show didn't leave empty-handed as Taraji P. Henson won Best Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Cookie Lyon.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Hakeem and Jamal's duets from the first two episodes, "Living In the Moment" and "No Apologies". The fact that the two brothers have such great chemistry—both personally and musically—is one of the most heartwarming aspects of the show, even if the rest of the family is actively pitting them against each other.
    • "You're So Beautiful", both versions. Lucious' original version is smooth and sensual, and Jamal's is fun and celebratory. And the latter has the edge over his father, since he also worked his coming out into the lyrics.
  • Broken Base: Given that the show is totally centered around what is essentially a There Can Be Only One-type competition (well, for it's first season at least), it seems that this trope is an intentional part of its appeal. Each brother's storyline is presented (for the most part) with a high degree of objectivity, and each one has a decent case made for himself, which in essence encourages viewers to root for any one of the three without their pick being a designated "hero" or "villain". It also helps that each brother has a backer/mentor (Lucious for Hakeem, Cookie for Jamal, Vernon for Andre), and how you feel about that character will probably also influence which brother you're rooting for.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Nobody (well, maybe 1% of viewers) was surprised to find out that Anika pushed Rhonda down the stairs, especially since she was already frustrated over her own pregnancy and wanted to harm the Lyon family.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Nearly every character in the series is a lying, cheating, backstabbing scumbag with the notable exceptions of Jamal ( until the ending of the first season sees him take a huge level in jerkass), and, surprisingly enough, Cookie (she may be spiteful and quick to anger, but she isn't dishonest). Lucious himself is an abusive, conniving murderous crook. Given all of this, it's all too easy for this trope to set in. However, it is also noteworthy that there are several who are loving the show exclusively because of this. Hakeem does take a level in kindness as the first season progresses.
  • Ear Worm:
    • "Adios" by Tiana.
    • "Drip Drop" by Hakeem and Tiana.
    • Jamal's cover of "You're So Beautiful".
    • Jamal and Hakeem's cover of "What the DJ Spins."
    • "Boom Boom Boom Boom" by Lucious and Freda will be stuck in your head.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Power fans.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Terrence Howard's spousal abuse accusations cast quite a pall over any scenes about Luscious' conflicts with his family.
    • Some fans were uneasy about Lucious firing a machine gun in his study after Hakeem's betrayal in "Et Tu, Brute?". Long story short, the episode premiered on December 2, 2015, the same day of the San Bernardino shooting.
  • He Really Can Act: Taraji P. Henson's performance as Cookie has received acclaim from both critics and fans.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Three episodes in season 2 features a fellow prison inmate of Lucious' named Guy...who's a music producer played by Max Beesley. Remember what happened the last time Terrence Howard and Max Beesley were put together? Bonus points that Mariah Carey guest stars in one episode.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Several, given the nature of the show. The reveal that Lucious' mother is still alive and Jamal getting shot by Freda stand out the most.
  • Hype Backlash: The Tonight Somone Dies plot from Season 5. Throughout the season, it was setting up a death that would 'change the show forever', complete with flash forwards to the future in the season's first half, ending with Andre seemingly being the one in the casket. In the end, the person in the casket was Kingsley, Luscious' illegitimate son, who was introduced that season, and not even 5 episodes before, had patched things up with Luscious, randomly killing himself by suicide. His story ended with Andre (who had suffered through Cancer) receiving his heart.
  • Minority Show Ghetto: Averted. Despite a severe lack of white people in the entire main and recurring cast, the show still gets extremely strong ratings, to the point where a second season was greenlit after only two episodes.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Dubois family did many heinous things, but they crossed the line when they caused Andre's worst mental breakdown yet, by having his therapist messing with his medication.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Many fans of the show love Jamal's singing.
  • Narm:
    • While Hakeem and Jamal normally make great music together, their performance for the investor showcase where they sample "Money for Nothing"...complete with backup dancers wearing TV's on their heads...was more than a little ridiculous.
    • Jamal and Ryan's makeout session after the former becomes CEO of Empire becomes somewhat narm-y when you notice that Jamal clearly can't get his one shirt sleeve off, and has to do the scene with the shirt awkwardly hanging off of his wrist.
    • After Jamal beats the crap out of Warren and he is angrily screaming, which fits and is fine. The problem is that as he is being dragged away by Hakeem and Andre, the way he says "get off me" doesn't fit the tone of the scene.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The show got hit badly with this in early 2019 when actor Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyon) had been attacked by a pair of Donald Trump supporters in what was a racist and homophobic hate crime. There was a huge outpouring of support for the actor from the entertainment industry and even politicians who decried the attack. Then the case took a turn for the bizarre when, two weeks later, the attackers were discovered to have been a pair of immigrants from Nigeria who said Smollett paid them to pretend to attack him, resulting in Smollett being charged on multiple counts of having staged the entire thing as a publicity stunt because he wasn't happy with his salary. This hit the show's ratings hard, ending with Jamal being Put on a Bus at the end of Season 5 and ultimately it was announced that the sixth season would be the last one.
  • Playing Against Type: We've got one ex-superhero who's now a gay documentarian, and another current superhero as a new artist on the label. Which (ex)superhero is gonna be next?
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Maybe not quite "rescued", but fan reaction definitely warmed to Rhonda over the course of the first season, where she slowly underwent a Heel–Face Turn from a rather bitchy, scheming Lady Macbeth to a supportive, genuinely caring wife who prioritized Andre's health and well-being rather than his taking over Empire, to the point that some fans felt some real sympathy for her after she accidentally murdered Vernon to protect Andre, something that definitely wouldn't have been played for such if it had happened in, say, the pilot.
  • Seasonal Rot: It's generally agreed that the first season was good all across the board. The following seasons have been... somewhat divisive.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Andre's story arc. Mental illness is still a taboo subject in the African American community, and Andre's character shows that it can afflict anyone regardless of race or class. Lucious and Cookie's reactions are not unheard of, with Lucious doing his best to hide Andre's condition and refusing to think of his son under those circumstances, and Cookie thinking it a "white people problem" and that all he needs is family love. She's heartbroken when she realizes that's not the case, and is later seen researching bipolar disorder.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Those who have seen Hustle & Flow can easily consider this to be a television sequel to the film. Helped by Terrance Howard playing a guy trying to make it in the hip-hop world, coming from a Dark and Troubled Past. The comparisons basically write themselves.
  • Take That!: 50 Cent got this more than once in season 2. To be fair, he repeatedly kept raining on the Empire's parade.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Frank Gathers, who spent the entire first as both The Dreaded and The Ghost finally shows up in season 2 proving to be a good rival to Lucious, is killed off in the season premiere.
    • Kingsley, who's character arc went from, "I'll take down Empire!" to "I wanna get along with my family, as well as my father, to, "IDK, guess I'll die!" It's also upsetting how rushed his character arc was, given a majority of the fans were disappointed that the result of the Tonight, Someone Dies mystery that had shrouded most of the season.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Porsha jumped a subway turnstile and when ticketed, she gave her name as Cookie Lyon. Oh, she got fired and then rehired.
    • Cookie in "A High Hope for a Low Heaven": Hakeem is late for a meeting and she can't reach by him by phone...and is then sent video of him bound by duckedtape. The season up until this point Cookie has witnessed Tiana get robbed, a video threat sent to her company, and a head in a box. You would expect her to take this as a serious threat and immediately react to it. Instead she brushes it off as Hakeem messing with her.
    • Anika's plan to push Rhonda down the stairs, resulting in her miscarriage, would've worked flawlessly if she had simply gotten rid of the shoes she wore when she committed the crime. It really didn't help that she wore them again right in front of Rhonda, which was how she figured out Anika pushed her.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Casting Chris Rock to play Frank Gathers, a drug lord who had only been spoken of in dreaded tones throughout the first season. When we finally meet him in the second season premiere, seeing Chris Rock in those chains totally killed the immersion. It was perhaps the first time Rock has ever done a 100% dramatic role (and a rather dark one at that), but because he's so distinctive as a comedian, it was impossible to take him seriously. Though, he doesn't live past the first episode.


Example of: