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Tyrant (FX)


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#1 of 9 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted June 25 2014 - 02:54 PM

This is FX's latest hour-long drama. The showrunners will be Howard Gordon ("Homeland") and Craig Wright ("Dirty Sexy Money"), but the pilot was written by Gideon Raff (who wrote the Israeli series that "Homeland" was adapted from) and directed by David Yates (BBC's State of Play miniseries, the last four Harry Potter movies).

It stars Adam Rayner as Bassam "Barry" Al-Fayeed, a pediatrician in Los Angeles who grew up as the younger son of the totalitarian dictator of a fictitious Middle Eastern country. He reluctantly returns home with his American wife and children for his nephew's wedding, as the unrest that toppled Mubarak in Egypt and continues to plague al-Assad in Syria is about to shake the foundations of his homeland.

I found the concept intriguing, Rayner is phenomenal in the main role, but the execution severely lacking in some places. Barry's wife and son act with a level of naivete, stupidity and overall situational blindness that defies believability. Only Barry's daughter seems to recognize that they have entered a dangerous place with completely different cultural norms with passports and documentation that identify them as part of the most hated and feared family in the entire country.

I listened with incredulity as the wife repeatedly insisted that Barry's relationship with his father be handled like any other troubled father-son relationship. I was absolutely floored by the suicidal stupidity with which the son put out feelers for a gay hookup in a country where homosexual acts can almost certainly get you imprisoned or killed. I pretty much threw in the towel when Barry's father died and the mother and son just couldn't understanding why he wanted to get the hell out of dodge as soon as humanly possible.

Those two characters might be enough to keep me from coming back for future episodes. It's like having two Sansas from the first season of "Game of Thrones", but without the story justification of being a sheltered young girl.

Edited by Adam Lenhardt, June 25 2014 - 02:55 PM.


#2 of 9 joshEH

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Posted June 25 2014 - 04:04 PM

"Anyone think it's a problem that our most compelling, dynamic character commits three sexual assaults in the pilot?"

"...Shut the fuck up, Tim."

 

 

Those two characters might be enough to keep me from coming back for future episodes. It's like having two Sansas from the first season of "Game of Thrones", but without the story justification of being a sheltered young girl.

 

Now that you mention it, it's a common element in ALL of Howard Gordon's shows -- the shrill, clueless, annoying offspring (usually daughters) who behave with total situational tone-deafness. In this case, though, it's actually the son.

 

(Barry's daughter officially surpassed Dana Brody in the brow-furrowing department pretty much with this one single episode, I think.)


"Pablo, please take Chet's corpse into the other room, and then fix Mr. Hallenbeck a drink."


#3 of 9 Paul D G

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Posted July 31 2014 - 09:47 AM

I went in under the impression this was going to be one of the big hits of the season but I'm really struggling with it. So far it seems nothing more than the Moral American trying to change the Arab tyranny from within. Nothing's really happening on the show (until last night, which I hope kicks the show into gear).

 

What happened to the daughter? She hasn't been on in several weeks. Or the gay son subplot? I was expecting more culture shock issues with them - the daughter getting harassed for not being 'modest' for example. I also thought the show perhaps would be about Barry slowly becoming corrupted by the power his family has, despite trying to escape it most of his life.

 

I'll stick it out for season but I'm disappointed.



#4 of 9 jcroy

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Posted July 31 2014 - 03:48 PM

I'll stick it out for season but I'm disappointed.

 

Same here.  Though I'm about to drop this show.

 

This week's episode seemed rather anticlimactic.



#5 of 9 jcroy

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Posted July 31 2014 - 03:53 PM

The older dissident looks similar to an elder al-Sadr type.  (IIIRC, Muqtada al-Sadr's father).



#6 of 9 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 31 2014 - 04:52 PM

I'll be honest, the stupidity from the wife and son irritated me so much in the pilot that I didn't make it to the second episode. Doesn't sound like I've missed much.



#7 of 9 David S. Peterson

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Posted September 18 2014 - 05:19 PM

Renewed for Season Two - 13 Episodes.


David S. Peterson

#8 of 9 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted September 19 2014 - 02:16 PM

Did it get better later in the season?



#9 of 9 David S. Peterson

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Posted September 19 2014 - 04:42 PM

Did it get better later in the season?

Still have last few episodes to finish.

Waiting to see how the

Spoiler


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