The smash show Empire rolled into our lives like a wrecking ball. It came, it saw, it conquered primetime audiences. But now that the season finale has aired, Wednesday nights are feeling a little empty.
How should you cope? By diving headfirst into another round of pop culture. Whether by digging into the show’s music, or catching up with hit shows like Scandal, here are 7 ways to tide yourself over until Empire returns.
The show has been endlessly compared to the classic ’80s soap opera. Lee Daniels has even jokingly referred to Empire as a “black Dynasty” (though showrunner Ilene Chalken, who worked for Dynasty producer Aaron Spelling for many years, wants fans to know Empire has more grit, truth and authenticity than your average soap opera).
The show creator has a pretty impressive directorial filmography. Nominated for two Oscars, Daniels made a name for himself in Hollywood before ever heading to TV land. He directed the heart-wrenching flick Precious, the controversial The Paperboy and the decades-spanning biopicThe Butler. He also produced Monster’s Ball, the gritty 2001 flick that won Halle Berry a Best Actress Oscar, making her the first African-American actress in history to do so.
The Paperboy is available to stream on Netflix, while the latter are available for purchase on Amazon Instant Video.
The show is all about a music mogul and his family, so why not reminisce with the recently-released soundtrack? Not only does it feature the musically-talented cast, it features major players like Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson and Courtney Love.
The album is streaming on Spotify and is available for purchase on iTunes.
Shonda Rhimes changed the game for people of color on television. The mastermind behindGrey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and the executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder led a diversity breakthrough that hasn’t been seen in decades, paving the way for shows like Empire. Plus, she’s a huge Empire fan herself.
Previous seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal are available on Netflix, though both are still airing their current season on ABC. You’ll have to catch up with How to Get Away with Murder on Hulu, though only the last five episodes from the first season are there.
This is for everyone who just wants to see Cookie and Lucious, a.k.a Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard together onscreen again. The 2005 flick starred Howard as a pimp in Memphis trying to get his rap career off the ground. Henson plays a hooker named Shug who sings backup for him. The film garnered Howard an Oscar nomination and is also notable for winning the members of Three 6 Mafia an Oscar for Best Original Song.
The classic 1968 film starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole won three Oscars and was one of the inspirations for Empire, according to an interview with producer and writer Danny Strong.
The film follows the story of King Henry II as his wife and sons plot against him.
The Shakespearean tragedy was another conceptual inspiration for the show, Strong says. It follows the drama Lear faces as he splits his kingdom between two of his three daughters.
The play was also adapted into a TV movie starring Ian McKellan, which is free to stream on Amazon Instant Video.