Tyrant—the new drama about an Americanized prodigal son returning to his Middle-Eastern royal roots—debuts tonight on FX at 10 pm, and you can expect your internet to blow up about it tomorrow... and not for very good reasons. Here are what some of the early reviews are saying....
There’s not a fleshed-out character in the show, beginning with Barry’s stock-villainous brother Jamal (Ashraf Barhom), who we immediately meet raping a subject with her own husband and children still in her house. To a person, the characters are types: the shallow American kids, the dissolute playboys, the noble protesters and journalists, the cynical advisers, sneering elites and sad-eyed children. The problem isn’t that Tyrant portrays a troubled region as troubled; it’s that it doesn’t use its time to begin to make this world as real as ours.
Nearly everyone on the show is an annoying bore, and there’s not much reason to root for anyone. It’s as if Gordon tried to skirt the controversy of a heavy subject and controversial setting by creating a show that is too lazy and contrived to get worked up over.
[This type of rape scene] represent the laziest kind of shorthand. Want to give a male character's personality a gloss of darkness? Want to give your show a "complicated" storyline? Want to give your show the air of an "edgy" drama? Let a man menace, attack or rape a woman.
When these incidents occur on "Tyrant," we don't know the woman's name, or if we do know her name, we don't know much about her. The women in these scenes are devices — they are there to create an atmosphere of danger or to move the plot along.