Logline: Set in Atlanta and centers on three girls — one white, one black and one half white/half black — who are coming together to form a band and their rise to the top. It will chronicle the choices with which these artists are faced along the way, while showcasing the allure and heartache of the cut-throat music scene, and exploring cultural themes from a new perspective.
Cast: Queen Latifah, Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny, Brittany O’Grady
Creators: Lee Daniels (Writer / EP / D), Tom Donaghy (W / EP)
Studios: 20th Century Fox TV
So Fox is looking for Empire’s BFF, and possibly more music to echo in the void left behind by American Idol. After passing on Urban Cowboy last year, the network has now set its eyes on Star, brought to us by Daniels. is this going to be the next Empire?
It’s not unlikely. Fox TV co-chairman Dana Walden recently hinted at the possibility of a crossover between Star and Empire, clarifying that both shows do exist in the same universe. The cast of Empire has spoken of a spinoff earlier. Overall, things are looking good for Star off the page.
The pilot is interesting, but feels like it would be execution-dependent. It’s one part Empire, one part Thelma & Louise. The tone is a bit hard to pin down, especially since lyrics aren’t included.
Narratively, the pilot makes some interesting choices. It’s about a trio of singers who’re on the rise, so there isn’t exactly much suspense about where the pilot will end up. Accordingly, it’s logical that the pilot uses a really big secret to power the story right off the bat. Good old dramatic irony.
That said, it’s all a bit frantic and melodramatic. There isn’t much time to dig into the principal characters, but Daniels gives us just enough to keep us engaged. Star is on epinephrine. It works for Empire, so why not? The titular protagonist is far from likeable, yet utterly sympathetic.
Daniels and Latifah’s presence gives me faith that this is a pilot worth watching out for. Though it might not gel with Fox’s current revival fascination, its closeness to Empire is a huge plus. Even if it doesn’t get picked up to series this season, there’s nothing stopping it from becoming a planted spinoff with some nips and tucks.