8 items from 2015
Last year, Tyrant didn't bring in very good ratings but the FX execs decided to give it more time and renewed the show for a second season. Will the numbers get better in season two? How long will the cable channel remain patient if they don't? Will the drama be cancelled or renewed for a third season? Stay tuned.
Tyrant revolves around the youngest son of a dictator who returns to his war-torn country in the Middle-East with his American family. This season, the drama's cast includes Adam Rayner, Jennifer Finnigan, Ashraf Barhom, Moran Atias, Alice Krige, Alexander Karim, Cameron Gharaee, and Sybilla Deen.
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The biggest criticism of Tyrant's first season was the casting of Adam Rayner, a quite white British actor, in the role of Bassam Al-Fayeed, the Americanized, self-banished scion of President Al-Fayeed (Nasser Faris), the ruler of the fictional Middle-Eastern nation of Abbudin. Not only did Rayner's ... let's call it "pretty" appearance highlight the show's more irksome and flat melodramatic passages, but next to the Galilee-born Ashraf Barhom, who plays Bassam's wildly sadistic, power-obsessed brother Jamal, blue-eyed Rayner seemed simply not to belong in the frame with actors who, for lack of a better phrase, look the part. There's a part of me, however, that has always suspected that this casting was less the work of opportunistic producers who were scared to put anyone but a white male in the lead, and more an expressionistic touch, a way of palpably underlining Bassam's inherent Western attitude and philosophies amidst a world bent on strict traditionalism, »
- Chris Cabin
VideosWatch the Trailer for Tyrant Season 2
As Season 1 drew to a close, Barry conspired with the U.S. government to stage a coup and thus keep his wicked brother Jamal (Ashraf Barhom) out of power. That… didn’t go so well. Instead, Jamal got wind of the plot and had his bro arrested, and now must decide whether or not to proceed with an execution.
In the above »
The quagmire of the Middle East appeared to engulf the first season of “Tyrant,” an FX drama that dropped an expatriate and his absurdly dense American family into the turmoil of his fictional native country. The new episodes, however, reflect a fairly impressive turnaround, significantly diminishing, if not wholly expunging, much of the stupidity, while echoing real-life events in provocative ways. Still not a great show, this project from Gideon Raff and Howard Gordon suddenly exhibits the potential to become a fairly entertaining one, with the disclaimer that the terrain still contains an abundance of storytelling sand traps.
Lest anyone forget the events of season one, pediatrician Barry Al-Fayeed (Adam Rayner) returned to his birthplace of Abbudin for a family wedding, bringing along his wife (Jennifer Finnegan) and two clueless children (Noah Silver, Anne Winters), who were apparently raised without the benefit of books or cable news. When Barry’s father, »
- Brian Lowry
Three episodes were provided for reviewing purposes prior to broadcast.
If there was anything you could say about Tyrant‘s freshman season, it’s that as a show on a basic cable network, is was pretty unique. Set in the fictional foreign country of Abbudin, the show followed Bassam “Barry” Al-Fayeed (Adam Rayner) and his quest back home after twenty years absent – in which he turned into a crunchy granola suburban dad with a wife and two kids – and his subsequent attempts to keep his hotheaded brother Jamal (Ashraf Barhom) from descending Abbudin into chaos.
It was topical and interesting and a slight slow-burn, all the ingredients for good grown-up entertainment, but iffy writing and poor pacing made it ring constantly hollow. Its best, most interesting storylines either going nowhere – Barry’s son Sammy (Noah Silver) and his fling with family bodyguard Abdul – or dragging out far too long for even a 10-episode season. »
- Mitchel Broussard
FX is one network that understands how to tell savory meaty family-centric yarns that build each season with more intrigue as new characters are woven in. In the case of Gideon Raff’s “Tyrant,” we have a layered, life and death drama that has one fictional Middle-eastern country caught in the balance in a compelling whip-smart game of chess between two brothers. Fox may have showstopper Cookie in their “Empire,” but FX has Ashraf Barhom as Jamal Al-Fayeed, the most watchable villain since “Dallas” baddie Jr Ewing. “Tyrant” is the story of the son (Bassam/Barry) of a Middle Eastern ruler who […] »
- April Neale
I'll be quite honest: Tyrant being renewed for a second season was a huge surprise. Critically, it wasn't a hit (I gave up after about 4 episodes), but most viewers who started it did mostly stick with it, as ratings remained incredibly consistent. It's that consistency that FX is looking to hold onto with the series, which also suffered from early creative conflicts (including Ang Lee leaving the project, followed by the departure of Homeland's Gideon Raff, although Howard Gordon remained) that left it without a clear tone (at least to start). Sometimes it was decidedly lackluster, sometimes it was offensive, sometimes it was soapy, and sometimes its conflicting accents were just confusing. But if FX has faith in it, maybe it's time for the Tyrant lost to find it again. Judging from the Season 2 trailer, it shouldn't be too hard to pick up. The coup orchestrated by Barry Al-Fayeed »
- Allison Keene
Jamal (Ashraf Barhom) seeks the help of Ziad (Amir Boutrous) in finding the traitors trying to overthrow him in our exclusive clip from Tyrant: The Complete First Season, which is currently available on DVD from Fox Home Entertainment. We reported in September that FX has renewed Tyrant for Season 2, with the 13-episode season slated to debut sometime this summer. If you haven't caught up with this riveting drama from the producers of Homeland quite yet, you have plenty of time to watch Season 1 on DVD before the new episodes debut.
The series centers on Barry Al-Fayeed (Adam Rayner), whose western views are pitted against his brother Jamal's wife, Leila (Moran Atias), who wants her husband to rule with an iron fist. As a national political crisis threatens to explode, Barry finds himself torn between the seductive lure of absolute power and sympathy for his country's courageous freedom fighters. Jennifer Finnigan, »
8 items from 2015
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