Tyrant: Pilot
June 27, 2014 2:08 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Barry Al-Fayeed is a California pediatrician who also happens to be the second son of a Middle Eastern dictator. Barry reluctantly agrees to return home with his American family for his nephew’s wedding. Events thrust him into the complex and turbulent growing pains of a nation straining to break free from dictatorial rule.
posted by The Deej (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just when he thinks he's out...
posted by Madamina at 9:05 PM on June 27, 2014

I was looking forward to this and then the pilot was...underwhelming. And problematic. I am on my phone now so linking is difficult, but there is an article from the Hollywood Reporter recently that covers the show's troubled development and the challenges shooting the pilot that was fascinating and elucidated for me just why the show seems so tepid.

Also casting a white guy as the lead character is really disappointing and frankly pretty offensive.
posted by thereemix at 10:51 AM on June 28, 2014

Here's the Hollywood Reporter link. Thanks for the info! I'm going to read it right away.

I actually enjoyed it while I was watching, and not thinking too hard about it.

On reflection, yeah, it had some problems and cliches. And any show with such a touchy premise is probably on dangerous cultural ground from the very start.

I don't want to sound like Stephen "I don't see color" Colbert, but I didn't notice that the lead was a white guy.

Overall, I thought the premise was really interesting, and I plan on watching at least the next episode or two to see how progresses.
posted by The Deej at 11:14 AM on June 28, 2014

I think the premise is great too, and am hoping that it picks up some steam in the next few episodes. The pilot might just be mediocre because of all of the troubles surrounding the shooting of it and the development of the show. Fingers crossed...
posted by thereemix at 12:54 PM on June 28, 2014

Really hope they do a better job with Barry's wife in the later episodes. I don't think the character could be any more clueless than the way she was presented in the first episode.
posted by gyc at 9:21 PM on June 29, 2014

Agreed, gyc. She came across as unbearably stupid to the point of breaking my suspension of disbelief. At one point I yelled at the screen "Haven't you ever seen Not Without My Daughter!"

Or even, say, the news. Or read a newspaper.
posted by The Deej at 6:16 AM on June 30, 2014

Yeah, the wife was just thunderously oblivious, wasn't she? Between that and the bratty older son being all "YEAAHHHH THE ROYAL LIFE IS AWESOME!" I was sitting there thinking, don't you two follow the news? Doesn't it occur to you that your husband/your father left the country FOR A REASON?! Shaking my damn head.

I have a friend who works for an outfit that reviews television and he gets episode screeners before air - they were given the first four episodes all at once, and he's getting the feeling they did that because they kind of knew the pilot was on the mediocre side. I'm taking that as a small bit of hope that things improve.
posted by thereemix at 6:59 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Totally agree on the idiot wife. How can you not understand his reasoning for wanting to get out of there? I understand it and I haven't been married to the son of a Middle Eastern dictator for 19 years.

I'm also kind of disappointed Jamal didn't die because that actor is not the best. He has Whisper To Be Dramatic Syndrome.

Overall, though, I think it has promise. I'll keep watching.
posted by something something at 4:57 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Interesting, but that pilot really wasn't as hard hitting as it should have been. Predictable, glossed over details, unbelievably stupid family. The uncle was brutal, and one dimensional. The daughter and son were both utterly whiny and unrelatable. The wife, my goodness, you think she's so dumb because she'll be revealed to be a CIA plant or something? I mean, she knows the guy she married is the son of a middle eastern dictator. How can they write her to be so very oblivious to everything. And while I like that actor from Weeds, having him as the chummy American diplomat feels wrong.

This show would fare better if we'd met and gotten to know all of the side players surrounding the dictator more, right away, so we could understand how the power in the palace worked and what kept the grandfather in power.

And the troubles with the pilot that the Hollywood Reporter article mentions are on full display. It wasn't very enjoyable, but I'll watch the second one and perhaps we'll have a post about it.
posted by Catblack at 12:16 AM on July 4, 2014

So far I like everything about this show, and am totally hooked by the premise.
posted by xammerboy at 8:47 PM on July 5, 2014

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