Review: ‘Power’ is the Best TV Show Ever Produced By 50 Cent (and the Worst)

Review: 'Power' is the Best TV Show Ever Produced By 50 Cent (and the Worst)

You know “Power” even before you start watching it. The drama executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson exudes the qualities, but not quality, of his other “street” films, “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” (a well-above-average film, actually) and “Righteous Kill” (the Robert DeNiro/Al Pacino team-up that’s as awful as “Heat” is superb). The formula is simple: A muscle-y tall black male with a limited vocabulary proves his toughness early on before revealing a side of himself not welcomed by his single-minded peers. He wants out of the game, but he can’t admit to anyone — not even himself — that he’s scared to try.

Sadly, “Power” doesn’t seem to elevate the conversation past those previously explored ideas, nor does it carry the sense of urgency needed to escalate its events. The posters and early previews of the new Starz series stressed the duality of Ghost, our lead character’s most common title (“Boss” comes in a close second), but the series gives up on the premise very quickly.

After a credit sequence of images mirroring one another and collapsing in on themselves (what could it mean?), we open on Ghost arriving at his club with his wife. Music blares, beats bounce, and Ghost looks as smooth as anyone who’s ever walked into a club sober. Soon, though, he’s called away to deal with urgent business, not club business. This other business — torturing a man caught stealing from his delivery man. Yes, Ghost is in the drug trade, and the nightclub is just a front for where he really makes money. 

Anthony Hemingway, who directed eight episodes of “Treme” and the feature film “Red Tails” (produced by George Lucas), gives the series a slight stylistic elevation in these early scenes. Not many filmmakers emphasize the change in feel when you walk out of a club onto the street, and Hemingway is no exception — other than dampening the volume (which is really only part of the total discombobulation). He does, though, make sure we note how Ghost changes when he leaves the club. The music switches from the non-diegetic score to the thumping tones of the club jams, a smooth DJ transition to accompany Ghost’s desired operating status.

Then, though, it all starts to blend together, right around the time we learn he’s not living a double life at all (slight SPOILERS to follow). It turns out Ghost’s wife Tasha, who at first is made out to be ignorant of his more illicit activities, actually knows and supports his “secret identity.” She’s his Lady MacBeth — a Lady MacBeth who masturbates in front of his driver after “catching” Ghost giving his number to an old friend, marking one of two standout sexual talking points from the premiere episode alone. 

In the other, Ghost and Tasha are having some uninspired morning sex when Ghost starts flashing back to the night before when he shot a man in the head. Rather than stop, Ghost keeps going, rushing to finish but also approaching climax more quickly. Psychologically, it’s troubling enough, but throw in the unintended conclusion that Ghost is turned on by murder and “Power” needs some serious time on the couch.

“Power” is the kind of show that uses f-bombs to emphasize a point, hoping to sound tough but coming off as ignorant instead. Characters often laugh at things that aren’t funny, perhaps trying to convince us that whatever story is being told is actually more humorous than we understand. It’s a bland, one-dimensional drama, joining Starz’s growing collection of forgettable original programming. The company doesn’t need any more Saturday night premieres ready to wander off into obscurity the moment they air. It needs something sharp, new, and daring. 50 Cent does too, but it’s unlikely he’ll find it digging in the same pit.

Grade: D

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Angie she amazes me men

Joseph Howard

Power is great and keeps my attention. Love Tommy’s character. He is what he is and does what he does. His loyalty to Ghost and Tasha goes beyond friendship, more like family. Perfect actor to play Ghosts with looks and smoothness. Look forward anxiously to each episode.


Best show on the air right now great actors as well not the typical shit you see the plot was very well written you won’t waste your time watching this show shit will have about 11 seasons #POWER

Deborah Stachowski

I think this is the best show going right now. I’m totally into this show more than any show in passed.


I have to say that the author of this article ben travers is an idiot and does not understand good entertainment. I am a big fan of power and believe it to be one of the best shows on television and the best "drug themed show since the wire. Also songs in the show are awesome! You obviously are one of those up tight white guys who has know idea what it means to hustle, or maybe your a guy that does not like hip hop or drug themes so you don’t like the show or maybe you don’t like fifty so your bashing it for that reason. Who knows, but this is a great show and I may not be the biggest fifty fan but he deserves a lot of credit for this show. Blends class with hustle of the streets beautifully. And for the record I’m not a black guy that thinks your just being a racist, I’m white guy who just thinks your an idiot.


I love Power, I hate Angela. Does Ghost really dies in season 2 finally, and is there going to be another season. This show is exciting, advenventurous, keeping on your toes, I watch both seasons, and I hope there is more,


Give the man some credit and stop hating, can stand you people who always hate. If you don’t like it then don’t watch it, simple.


Hmmm… this "bland, one dimensional drama" has been picked up for a 3rd season. It really is a great show. I’m so glad I ignored your review…I hope others do to.


This show is exciting. I couldn’t wait to see the next episode. I don’t like the review of this show at all. Many people are missing an important aspect of why the club is so important. This is a story about a drug dealer trying to become legit. This is a very smart business minded character. The club needs money and a smart mind to be successful which he is. And I’ve been trying to find something like this show, and what I’ve realized is that there isn’t any shows that combine the famous/rich/glmaour with the streets and police all in one. That’s the Power in the show. Having all that money. A nice penthouse, a driver, the ability to buy his significant other anything he wants. I think the elements that the female producer of the show brought make it very good too. The fact that it isn’t just streets seperates it. Not that it’s ever good to cheat on your wife, but as you can see from watching, his wife wants him to continue being someone he doesn’t want to be because of what it could mean for the future. If you watch this show with a closed mind, only see it for the drugs, streets, and if you aren’t into that kind of thing then that’s your opinion. I’ve truly enjoyed this show, I find myself rooting for James to be successful. But as you can see especially from the finale, season 2 has so many interesting plot points that I won’t ruin. The only complaint I have is that I want more sooner!


50 Cent movie Power is Awesome. It’s real life street game! Great actors and actresses.

The Critic

This Series id Awesome. Can’t wait to see what happens next


I got a call late one night from a friend inquiring about the rights to my first novel, Tribulation Of A Ghetto Kid by The Ghost. She was watching Power. Long story short. Percy Miller aka Prince is in fact James "Ghost ST Patrick. Power hijacked the strongest character out of the author’s novel and then made him the lead role in Power. Tribulation Of A Ghetto Kid. "Jewel Thieves," the novel by The Ghost is coming.


This review is dated 6/7/2014, so what I would like to know is had you seen the entire first season at this time or just the first episode? If you’re reading this and you haven’t seen the show do yourself and favor and disregard the this person’s review and go watch the show for yourself. If there is a better show on tv right now I’d like to know about it. Power is that good.


Thank you Vicky, I totally agree, So typical either there is no black woman representation or the only on black man has his nose up a white woman ass. The way they portray the wife is disgusting. How he treats her is not entertaining. Will not be checking out next season.


Power is a well made show, designed well enough to hold your attention throughout the show. This is clearly among Mr. Jackson’s finest work.


I don’t hate this show. I think it could have been better. It’s a little slow and moody. It spends more time focusing on style than substance, so I get lost I the scenery sometimes, but I stick with it. Like a lot of shows these days, it is filled with overacting, stereotypes, and cliches. It is definitely just a soap opera, with a minor crime drama and a pinch of Real Housewives of wherever. The one part I struggle with is how well Angela is at her job if she doesn’t even suspect that something is off about James/Ghost. Having said all that, I will tune in next season to see how it all plays out.


Vicky, what an accurate comment


Vicky,what a accurate comment

Tv Watcher

Omari Hardwick…oh Lawd!


I absolutely love this show!! I am definitely hooked & can not get enough! 8 episodes isn't enough & I am excited for season 2! Hope Power
has a long run, I also like the fact its on cable so zero commercials!

Stephen C.

I LOVE this show, it just needs a little bit more action, more hustle, and definitely more beat downs!! This show shows how life is in the drug business and the nightlife of the clubs. Excellent show in my opinion. You need to step it up CURTIS !!

Paul Higgins

Great show.


This show is a joke, and starz is making this ridiculous BET turn. This show is badly written, terribly acted with cliche after cliche. And of course the blacks attack the writer and try to protect fiddy. Go watch one episode of the sopranos and then watch this shit. It's awful. Fiddy thinks he has a classic story, a gangster who wants to go straight. Because we have never seen this story before it's very original.


Your review leaves the distinct impression that you have no actual sense of the culture of the protagonist. It's a given that as a film critic, you should be able to watch any film and your review, as your own opinion, should stand. My problem is that you missed the entire theme of unrequited love. What about Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness? No connection there? While 'The Godfather' helped us understand how criminals attempt to go legit, here's that struggle for all to see in 2014. I give 50 cent credit for illustrating that there's only one end, jail or grave, in that lifestyle. I also give him credit for not showing us what he went through to get the club, but how one gets out. Your "D" -while a passing grade in college, has ruined your credibility. You are writing for the audiences who enjoyed 'Spartacus,' 'Black Sails,' and 'Boss.' I also understand the show has progressed to a better place, but you missed the mark. Thanks for the SYNPOSIS, you've passed off as critical analysis.


I am tired of your typical hood love story black man in love with everything except a black woman. They portray the black woman (Ghost's wife) as a ugly, untrustworthy, boring woman with which he just happens to marry and have 3 kids by. Then they portray the white/Spanish woman (Ghost jump off & police) as a sensual beautiful loving woman in which Ghost is willing to give up his family, lifestyle & business for. Shaking my damn head, I would expect this type of role degradation from your usual white producers who thinks they knows black people but actually don't and keep giving use the same mono idealistic roles. But you Mr. Curtis Jackson I would have expected a little different from you. This movie disappoints me and the sex sences are overrated and over sexualized. We have enough movies made from white peoples point of view, so when I watch a movie created from a black man I'm expecting diversity in which this series greatly lacks. Anyways goodluck Mr. 50 cent I guess that's what you think of black women. SMFH


Ok, I have a few problems with this review. Let's start with the fact that he definitely isn't a TALL man. After I read that, I automatically believed that you weren't really paying attention to the show. Also, you wrote about his limited vocabulary, but you made no mention of his ability to speak a second language. I found that to be pretty impressive. And did you really believe Ghost, who wants to retire and begin a legit lifestyle, was turned on by the thought of killing someone during sex with his wife??? I gathered a totally different perspective from that scene. I saw a man who was seriously disturbed and bothered by his actions. In my opinion, Ghost is no longer turned on by money and power; instead he wants to start over, but he may be too deep into the game to quit.




"A muscle-y tall black male with a limited vocabulary", what are u talking about? The lead character is well spoken and is bilingual in English and Spanish. About time TV had a black character that can speak more than English. I think the show is great, it has many different variables going on that make it really interesting to watch. I personally didn't think 50 Cent could make a good TV show considering his string of awful underground movies, but Power is a well made show.


"…The formula is simple: A muscle-y tall black male…"

Clearly you never met Omari Hardwick, who is like 5'5".


The show is too much of a soap opera for my tastes. I think if it focused solely on the drug business, it would be more entertaining. There is nothing about the club storyline that holds my interest. If he were attempting to become a lawyer or some other type of business owner, there would be potential for episodic stories and drama. With the club storyline, I foresee a bunch of scenes with Ghost and his entourage walking through the club, giving knowing looks to each other, against the backdrop of blaring music and dancing bodies, as shown in the premier episode. That will get old quickly.

I wish David Simon would make a new TV series.


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