Since it seemingly checks off every other item on the TV-lover's list of requirements, will Empire Season 1 ever be on Netflix Instant streaming? Unfortunately for fans of the popular online service, not anytime in the near future. For now, Empire is firmly in the grasp of FOX and Hulu, who've made an exclusive deal for the streaming rights of the drama. Even though other FOX shows like Gotham have and will continue to appear on Netflix, new episodes of Empire will be available on Hulu and the first season will remain on Hulu Plus until that deal expires. If you think about it, Empire is right at home there. The streaming service is filled with shows that no one expected to become great, but totally are, like Difficult People, You're the Worst, and The Mindy Project.
Or you could always pay for individual Empire episodes on iTunes or purchase a season pass, if you absolutely need to watch your favorite episodes over and over, at any and all times. But if you're a Netflix subscriber and looking to scratch that Empire itch, there are some other options you stream that are somewhat similar to FOX's hit drama. First, catch up on Season 1 with this drunk recap.
Being Mary Jane
A strong female-led drama, Being Mary Jane is a nice alternative, and one that doesn't get as much attention as Empire, or fellow female-focused series Scandal.
Lee Daniels' The Butler
The director's film demonstrates his ambition and unique take on the black experience. But if you're looking for something a little less Oscar-baity, I'd also suggest watching Daniels' other Netflix Streaming film, The Paperboy... boasting the famous Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron scene.
Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Taraji P. Henson has been working in thankless roles for years, and it wasn't until Cookie that she really got the chance to go wild with a great character. But this Lifetime film demonstrates just how much she was able to do with a role that could have been two-dimensional — and wound up getting an Emmy nomination for the film.
A stylish thriller about two gangsters (played by Nas and DMX) who go on very divergent paths after a large heist. Director Hype Williams brings his music video skills to the film, and even though it isn't always totally successful, it's a testament to the untapped film talent of the world of hip hop. Just look at that opening sequence — no other director was playing stylistic tricks like that.
Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap
If you love Empire but don't know much about the music that the Lyons are making, educate yourself with this documentary about what rap means to a few dozen artists. It's also directed by network TV mainstay Ice-T.
It's another Henson-Terrence Howard joint (yes, they were in a movie together other than Hustle & Flow), an exploitation film about four adoptees who violently avenge their slain mother. It is the type of movie you flip past on cable a dozen times, and brings the same crazed energy as most Lee Daniels films. I'd say even with the differences in subject matter and violent content, this might be the perfect choice if you want to fill that Empire void while watching Netflix.
Image: Chuck Hodes/FOX