This season, Fox has been trying to field new hits by making shows based on pop culture its adult audience can recognize—from the comic book pulp of Gotham to the YA tragicomedy of Red Band Society, the next gen House of Backstrom to the next gen Seinfeld of Mulaney. In many of these efforts, we see the Fox-Backstrom Theory of Contemporary Generational Conflict at work: Optimistic, crusading Millennials suffer or revolt against the worldview of those miserable, narcissistic elders.
In Gotham, idealistic, reform-minded Jim Gordon and older, cynical, that’s-just-the-way-it-is Harvey Bullock bicker and brood as they vainly try to bring justice to Dystopiatown. With Red Band Society, Fox gambled that a nation of John Green-reading adults would see themselves in a ward of plucky teenagers doing the carpe diem thing while trying to beat back the toxic zeitgeist spirit-sapping afflictions. The show failed out of the gate for any number of reasons—like trying to make sickness noble fun, or perhaps just failing at that goal. Sure, we want inspiration in these gloomy times—but when you feel like the world is burning, what you also want is some good fiddling.
Empire is good at fiddling. READ FULL STORY