Netflix’s slate of reality shows continues to churn out new content, such as ostentatious empire it returns for its third season (and a spin-off set in New York City is on the way). The new season picks up where season 2 left off, as Kane continually found himself at the center of the drama and Kelly tries to move on after another breakup with Andrew.
Opening shot: A freeway overpass brings us back to Anna Shay’s Beverly Hills mansion, where she’s chatting with her friend Anna when Kelly’s ex-boyfriend, Andrew, arrives bearing gifts.
The essence: The third season of the reality series about ultra-rich Asians and Asian-Americans in Los Angeles returns to Netflix. The little drama between the cast members is still the name of the game, as some happenings in season 2 start to see their consequences.
What shows will it remind you of? ostentatious empire is another installment of “rich people reality TV”, with ridiculous amounts of wealth on display sort of like the real housewives franchise. The Asian cultural turn puts it in league with family karma.
Our take: There are a few key aspects that make reality shows like these successful: interesting characters and compelling stories. ostentatious empire it’s got the characters down: from the nosy Kane to the aloof Anna to the eager to please Christine, the series has a good mix of interesting characters interacting with each other in an entertaining way that keeps the show moving at a good pace.
But it’s unclear if the show will ever transcend beyond the little drama between the cast members. And to be fair, that’s pretty cool and that’s why some people come to these shows. However, I do think that reality TV can be a place to talk about real life in the communities that it focuses on, like when family karma took the opportunity to explore how homosexuality is disfavored in traditional Hindu households and how to bridge generational gaps in ideology. ostentatious empire gets a chance to dig into what it means to have wealth as a perceived immigrant in America, especially since so many of the cast members are self-made, but so far it only focuses on small, inconsequential squabbles between the cast.
Sex and skin: None in the first episode.
Parting shot: Christine and Jaime have an awkward lunch where Jaime accuses Christine of getting into drama with a magazine editor.
sleeping star: Anna’s delivery of funny lines is always a delight. Even though she feels almost too cool to be a part of this gang, her air of nonchalance is a welcome personality.
Most of the Pilot-y line: “I spent $2,000 on this jacket and shit girl, I look good,” says Kane as she walks down the street in a jacket adorned with mini stuffed animals (yes, you read that right).
Our call: SKIP IT. It’s perfectly fine if you’re looking for high school drama, but it’s not a place to find deeper stories about the Asian-American community.
Radhika Mennon (@menonrad) is a TV-obsessed writer living in Los Angeles. His work has been featured in Paste Magazine, Teen Vogue, Vulture and more. At any given moment, he can ponder at length about Friday Night Lights, the University of Michigan, and the perfect slice of pizza. You can call her Rad.