A show in the desert…
When the son of Abbudin’s President, a fictional Middle-East country, Barry Al Fayeed choose to return home for his nephew’s wedding, things got a little out of hand.
Barry ran away from home at the age of 16 and went to America, where 20 years later he is a practicing pediatrician with a wife and two children who have no clues about Barry’s horrifying past and family.
Thinking it’s the perfect time to reconcile with his family, Barry’s wife forced him to accept the wedding invitation and off they go to the Al Fayeed’s territory. Once they arrived, Barry and family are welcome by Barry’s older brother, Jamal, and ushered to his childhood house: a gorgeous Mesopotamian palace (being a President’s son has its perks!)
However, things doesn’t seem to changed much for Barry’s family. His father is still a despot who gained presidency by blackmail and violence, and his brother being his father’s right hand followed the same tyranny path. As if things couldn’t get worse, in the middle of the Arabian Night’s wedding his father suffer from a fatal heart attack! What will Barry do? Can he just leave again and not care about his homeland?
FX’s Tyrant is written by Israeli-famed writer, Gideon Raff (Homeland) and developed by Howard Gordon (Homeland) and Craig Wright (Six Feet Under). The show has been creating buzz since last year for several reasons. First there was some heavy bidding between FX and HBO over who will produced the series. Second, Ang Lee was supposed to direct but dropped out and replaced by David Yates (Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows).
Given its massive hype, Tyrant did deliver what it’s set out to be: a gripping, solid drama over dangerous background. The pilot succeeded creating a dangerous and chaotic state, may it be the fictional Abbudin country or the mysterious Al Fayeed Family. The casts also did solid to make viewers want to tune in again next week.
Adam Rayner as Barry Al Fayeed is calm and firm at the same time. The little twist with Barry at the end of the episode should be enough to send shudders to your backbone (what the hell happened?!). Where else, Jennifer Finnigan, Anne Winters & Noah Silver performed adequate as Barry’s American family. I personally am looking forward to Sammy’s homosexual story line in the Arab country. However, Ashraf Barhom as Jamal Al Fayeed is the obvious winner in this game. We all should thank the writers for giving us a two-dimensional character and not just another Arabian dictator with black heart.
Saying that, Tyrant doesn’t shy away from minor plot holes. From casting a Brit actor as Bassam Al Fayeed to lack of character development on Barry’s old life and family. I understand the show wants to focus on Barry’s dictator’s family, but couldn’t they give two scenes on how he actually escaped from Abbudin and ended up as a pediatrician? Seems a little vague to me.
Nonetheless, Tyrant is a clear winner on originality. Let’s hope the rest of the nine-episode will show us how different this FX-produced Middle-East drama unfolds on American network.