Last night FX premiered their show Tyrant. My reaction – wow, this show is bad. Tyrant is about Bassam “Barry” Al-Fayeed” and how he returns to the fictional Middle Eastern country of Abbudin for his young nephews wedding. Barry’s father is the ruthless dictator of this fictional country, which Barry fled when he was 16.
Where to begin with what is bad? Well, first off, the guy who plays Barry, Adam Rayner isn’t even Middle Eastern – he’s British and American. Usually I don’t take issue with someone’s nationality in a role. However, in a show where the main plot is a man from a Middle Eastern whose family is of the same and the main guy isn’t of that same ilk, makes no sense. Then there’s Barry’s kids – the stereo-typical self-centered American kids. The 16-year-old son is self-absorbed and snotty, while his 17-year-old sister looks upon the country she’s visiting with contempt. The son, when arriving in Abbudin, is clearly taken with his relatives wealth and power. Never a good sign for a kid who’s had an easy life so far.
Barry’s wife is not a developed character. She spends most of this episode staring at her husband, trying to get him to share his thoughts and feelings. It’s obvious that Barry is a man who is not one to pour his heart out each and every time something bad happens. Towards the end of the first episode, when Barry is trying to fly back home after some stressful scenes, his wife again tries to get him to talk. When Barry keeps saying “not now” his wife starts to cry and states she doesn’t know how much longer she can deal with this, threatening a possible divorce. Really? You have one bad incident with your husband and you are ready to call it quits? Just made me dislike her so.
When Barry and his family arrive in Abbudin, his brother meets him at the airport, right after the brother raped a married woman in a room where her husband and children could hear what was going on. His brother is clearly a scumbag. His further scenes back this notion up. Barry’s father appears to be very happy with Barry’s return but we get glimpses of the type of man his father is. It’s not a good man.
The episode ends with the future of Barry and his family up in the air. Are they trapped in this country, will they be able to leave of their own accord, is Barry really the Tyrant of this show? Previews of upcoming episodes don’t look promising. His wife seems like she becomes more annoying and the portrayal of the people in Abbudin doesn’t seem to flatter them.
I don’t know if I’ll watch future episodes of this show. I was not impressed with what I’ve seen so far. FX seems to have wasted an opportunity to have a show about a different culture and life. Instead they give viewers a bunch of drivel, poorly developed characters and a bad story line. The future of this show is definitely up in the air.