Barry Al-Fayeed has been living in the United States for twenty years, during which time he got married to Molly Olson, and had two children (Sammy and Emma), with both Molly and he working as physicians, Barry as a pediatrician, in Pasadena. This life belies the fact that at age sixteen, he, under his given name Bassam, escaped his family life in the middle eastern country of Abuddin, where the Al-Fayeeds have been the dictatorial rulers for generations, normally of violent and repressive regimes which he could not morally tolerate. He has not been back to Abuddin since. On the urging of his mother, Barry decides to go back to Abuddin with Molly and family in tow. He may find that leaving Abuddin this second time around is more difficult as he gets ensconced in the troubles the Al-Fayeeds are facing in general in continuing to rule the country as a repressive dictatorship. The longer Barry stays, the more it in turn affects the only life of democratic freedom Molly, Sammy and Emma ... Written by
I decided to DVR "Tyrant" after seeing a few promos. I'm happy to report that the promos didn't do justice to the series. I was hooked in the first ten minutes.
The adult cast is excellent. I expect that the children will be as well, but I haven't seen enough of them to be sure. The writing is mostly top-notch, and the relationship dynamics seem altogether plausible, with one exception (more on that below). The visuals are beautiful.
I wondered whether the depiction of an Arabic middle eastern country was accurate, but I've not visited there and have no frame of reference (other than news reports, which I take with a large grain of salt). I recommend that you read email@example.com's review, which I found very helpful.
My only real issue with the writing is with some of the interaction between Bassam and Molly. I get that the show needs to show us the dynamics of their relationship and tell us the back story. But I would expect these two characters to have a higher level of emotional maturity than the writers seem to give them credit for. Molly keeps trying to have serious conversations in public places where they're not appropriate, and Bassam doesn't seem mature enough to say more than "I can't talk (or won't) about this now." It's a common plot device, but I think this series deserves something less common.
I can't wait for the next episode.
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