IMDb rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 60%
Tyrant is more than a drama about politics and power – it’s about family, and the black sheep turning into the saving grace.
While it’s almost seven years old, the series is topical and relevant as dictators continue to fall to this day. It’s a story of hope despite the war and villainy at the centre, as Bassam Al-Fayeed (Adam Rayner) returns to the fictional Middle East country of Abuddin and tries to undo the reign of terror led by his family for decades.
The landscape is pretty – it was shot in Israel and Morocco, with the palace being CGI. What stands out is the authenticity onscreen – from reluctant hero Bassam, to his evil but oddly loveable tyrant brother Jamal (Ashraf Barhom), whose cruelty and dark humour was based on Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein’s son Uday.
Tim Goodman from thehollywoodreporter.com is clear about the starting point: “It’s strong and entertaining but not immediately a knockout. The first episode ends in a place that will make viewers want to tune in to see where it goes. And where Tyrant goes will be crucial. It’s certainly provocative and complex, given its ambition and scope, not to mention the foreign location and politically-charged backdrop for the Godfather-style premise.”