Season one of “STAR” aired while FOX’s “Empire” was on winter hiatus.
Season two of “STAR” will air concurrently with the flagship FOX drama.
September 27 marks the start of FOX’s new Wednesday lineup. Season four of “Empire” will air in the 8PM hour, while season two of “STAR” will occupy the 9PM slot.
Given that both series are musical dramas co-created by Lee Daniels, the synergy should be abundantly obvious.
In an effort to underscore that point, the two dramas nonetheless incorporate a special crossover storyline into their respective season premieres.
As part of the storyline, “STAR” character Carlotta (Queen Latifah) appears on the “Empire” premiere. Jamal (Jussie Smollett) then represents “Empire” on Wednesday’s “STAR.”
Headline Planet recently screened the “STAR” premiere, which is entitled “The Winner Takes It All.” Based on that screening, here are ten things to expect:
Let’s talk about that “Empire” crossover.
If you have any expectations, temper that right now. The “crossover” element of Wednesday’s premieres is very inconsequential.
The “Empire” side of the crossover finds Carlotta approaching Lucious and Cookie at a party for Empire’s 20th anniversary. Carlotta reveals that Mixed Harmony (her group with Mary) recorded songs with Lucious in the nineties. Based on that past, Carlotta is hoping Lucious can do her a favor and connect Big Trouble with hitmaking producers.
That storyline lightly spills over into Wednesday’s “STAR,” with Carlotta remaining confident that she and the girls will receive help from Empire and the Lyons. Late in the episode, Jamal appears as an ambassador, of sorts, for his family.
While technically relevant from a storyline perspective, the actual “crossover” scenes are rather brief and disposable. The “event” is purely a marketing gimmick to help promote FOX’s new Wednesday lineup; it is not an organic, wholehearted effort to unite the two universes.
Big reveals — and twists:
“STAR” wastes no time diving into the action. The early portion of Wednesday’s premiere features some notable developments, including two particularly big “reveals” related to storylines from the first season.
Do not, however, take the reveals at face value. When it comes to a soapy drama like “STAR,” you can safely assume there will be more than meets the eye.
Trouble with the label:
If the girls of Big Trouble thought winning Atlanta NextFest would be a ticket to instant fame, they were sorely mistaken.
Season two opens with a bleak update on Big Trouble’s career. The label does not seem invested in its new girl group. It is not booking Big Trouble with any big-name producers and has neither set a release date for an album nor begun planning a tour. The A&R rep is thoroughly unsupportive.
The label is also facing challenges at the business level. A shakeup seems to be looming, and that could have further ramifications for Big Trouble.
Star in the bedroom:
Early in season one, Star revealed that she has little reservation about using sex to get what she wants.
Early in Wednesday’s premiere, she employs that tactic in pursuit of her current objectives: a small tour and a release date for Big Trouble’s album.
While those objectives affect the commercial success of the group — and, by association, her own quest for fame — Star also has a more altruistic reason for wanting the tour.
Meet Noah Brooks, Meet Ayanna Floyd
– As Star and Alex begin work on a new song, they serendipitously encounter Noah Brooks (new cast member Luke James). An accomplished recording artist and producer whose career has cooled off in recent years, Brooks could certainly use a fresh collaboration to rocket back into the limelight. He and the up-and-coming Big Trouble thus seem like a match made in Heaven.
His immediate objectives, however, seem to be more social and sexual than musical.
– Wednesday’s premiere also introduces “STAR” viewers to Ayanna Floyd (new cast member Michael Michele). She has an existing relationship with the Lyons of “Empire” — and will soon impact the lives of Big Trouble.
Star vs. Arlene:
Hunter Morgan may be dead, but the hostility between Star and Arlene lingers.
Aiming to position Star as a suspect, Arlene begins digging into the singer’s past.
Revisiting her troubled youth clearly strikes a nerve, but Star maintains her strength. She endured domestic abuse at the hands of Hunter, and she will not allow his mother to cause more pain and damage.
Moving into trouble:
As revealed in the official plot synopsis, Wednesday’s premiere finds Alex moving into Derek’s house.
A trying process for any young couple, cohabitation is particularly difficult in this case: they are also adjusting to the news about Alex’s pregnancy and life with Derek’s handicap.
Two sides of lock-up:
Wednesday’s “Star” reveals that Simone is in a juvenile detention center. While Simone can spend her days away from the facility, she must return to the rough environment by night fall. Those nights are not easy for a teenager who has already endured so much hardship.
Cotton, meanwhile, concludes the prison sentence stemming from last season’s theft.
We learn that Cotton’s time in the penitentiary was not as frightening as it could have been. And adjusting to life outside prison — one in which she is not only on probation but also tasked with paying back the money she stole — is not exactly a walk in the park.
Mike Epps guest stars as music industry executive Jay Holland.
Season one of “STAR” made use of fantasy performances in the vein of music videos.
Wednesday’s premiere features two such performances. One is tied to a dream, while another is a visualization of new sonic influences Big Trouble tries to incorporate into its music.