Is it possible to find a new goal to aspire to when your current life has become too dangerous to continue with anymore? Can you come up with a new plan? That's part of the premise behind the new Starz show "Power," which had one man struggling to stay alive in a world that was going to one day kill him if he wasn't careful. The story may have been done before, but the show's premiere executed the story with a refreshing pace and some interesting characters.
"Power" followed James "Ghost" St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) who seemed to have everything that a man could possibly want. He was successful and had a high profile New York nightclub called Truth. Unfortunately, there was more to Ghost's successful business than met the eye. The business was actually a front for the makings of his drug empire, which only catered to the wealthiest of clients. His nightclub was supposed to be a way to launder his money cleanly, but he started to think that his phony business could turn into something more substantial. Sadly, his friends and loved ones doubt that Ghost could go legit for any length of time. His devoted wife Tasha (Naturi Naughton) and their children loved their high class lifestyle so much that they wouldn't know what to do without it. She supported Ghost ever since that he was starting out hustling anything he could on the street with his friend Tommy Egan (Joseph Sikora). Tommy and Ghost have been in charge for so long that it was hard to tell when their friendship changed. Tommy appeared to have ulterior motives, such as stealing money from the club's bank deposit and having some interest in Tasha. Ghost's biggest problem turned out to be when his employees started getting attacked and robbed by an unknown threat. He didn't know who to turn to, because they could be behind it. He also crossed paths with his former high school girlfriend Angela Valdes (Lela Loren) who broke his heart when she moved away. She's now a lawyer who was assigned to find the drug dealer connected to a Mexican cartel, which was Ghost who she just reconnected with. Will Angela be the key to Ghost's salvation, or the person destined to put him behind bars? Will Ghost be able to find out who was after his business without getting killed in the process?
In terms of questions, the show posed quite a few that won't likely be answered for a good part of the season. The biggest one involved whether the show had the ability to make it past this season, which it demonstrated that it could have the potential to last for a while if they kept the same storytelling tone. The series premiere mixed the perfect balance between dark comedy and brutal crime thriller by focusing on both sides of the law. Sadly, the premiere spent too much time on the criminal element and only started to roll out the law enforement aspect. Future episodes will likely expand upon Loren's Angela new workplace world as she starts to investigate Ghost's criminal empire. Even though the show seemed to have a rather large cast of characters, the premiere managed to devote enough time to a fair share of them in order to not focus the story solely on Ghost's life. It was also interesting for the show to mix the rap music world with a television show, which was somewhat demonstrated in the show's opening credits that featured a theme song by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson who also served as an Executive Producer on the show. He will also be appeared as a character who might either be an ally or an enemy that Ghost will have to worry about. It's too early to tell just yet. The show's strongest storylines often involved Ghost's connections with his family and his friends; mainly his wife and Tommy. Those stories had the most potential to have long ranging complications for Ghost, since both characters had the potential to betray him if they looked the wrong way. Time will tell to see how Tasha and Tommy's storylines will play out, or what the long ranging effects will be for the season. It'll likely be interesting regardless of the outcome.
As for breakout performances, Hardwick and Sikora led the pack as their seemingly tight knit characters appeared to be going on two very different paths. Hardwick's Ghost was designed to be a man who was full of swagger that seemed to cover up a hidden sadness that longed for something more no matter how much he loved his lifestyle. He embodied Ghost as a confident man who did what it took to stay on top, even if it meant killing a man who robbed from him. Hardwick also gave Ghost a sense of morality that wasn't always meant to be part of his criminal empire. One scene showed Ghost struggling with a brief sense of guilt after he killed the robber as he tried to get back to business as usual. Even though the scene was brief, the aftermath will be going on for multiple episodes, especially after he had his wife burn a piece of evidence that could link him to the crime. Hardwicke also had a strong rapport with both Naughton and Loren that could turn into a very interesting love triangle if the show decided to go that route. Let's hope that the show doesn't go that route too soon because there are so many stories that need to be told before then. Hardwicke's scenes with Loren allowed him to showcase Ghost's softer side that he doesn't always get to show, which the show needs more of to balance things out when the violence gets to be too much. Sikora, on the other hand, had the challenging task of trying to add new depth to the role of the conflicted sidekick who looked eager to make his own rise to the top position. He initially designed Tommy to be the ultimate goofball who didn't have a care in the world. There were a few brief scenes that foreshadowed that Sikora's Tommy had an ulterior motive that will reveal itself sooner or later. Let's hope that it will be the former in order to not keep viewers guessing for too long.
"Power" premieres on June 7th and airs Saturdays at 9:00 PM on Starz.
Verdict: The show has the potential to tell a very different story about what it truly means to be good and evil with a diverse cast to keep things interesting.
TV Score: 4 out of 5 stars