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Showing posts with the label Fares Fares


TV Review: Tyrant “Gone Fishing”

TV Review: Tyrant “Gone Fishing” By: Brandon Wolfe The launch season of ‘ Tyrant ’ has not amounted to great television. The story of a Middle Eastern nation in the throes of social upheaval and the balance of power among the family that rules over it is one that could have easily made for a compelling series, but has instead resulted in a leaden, deeply uninteresting soap opera. The series has bungled matters every step of the way. Its story arc shambles along lifelessly. Its characters are one-note ciphers. Its cast is largely bland and underqualified. Its dialogue is torturously overwritten, horribly flat and unnatural. It has a premise that affords it the opportunity to say something substantial about real-world issues, yet it squanders that potential at every turn. By any reasonable metric, ‘Tyrant’ is a failure. Yet in “Gone Fishing,” the season finale, ‘Tyrant’ stuns us by doing a few things right on its way out the door. It’s not only the best episode of the series by a co

TV Review: Tyrant “Gaslight”

TV Review: Tyrant  “Gaslight” By: Brandon Wolfe “Gaslight” is perhaps the best episode of ‘Tyrant’ aired thus far. In its first season’s final stretch, Bassam’s secret coup against Jamal has finally given the series something to sink its teeth into. Which isn’t to give the impression that ‘Tyrant’ has become a terrific series; it most certainly has not. It’s still plagued by the same set of problems and deficiencies that have governed the series from the outset. But this coup has at least afforded ‘Tyrant’ some much-needed dramatic momentum to shake off some of the doldrums of the season’s earlier installments. Bassam and his coup-enabling consortium have identified Tariq as the primary obstacle in overthrowing Jamal. They decide the best way to get Tariq out of the picture is to have Jamal do the deed himself, using lies wrapped in truth to foster distrust in the general’s loyalty. Because Tariq was wiretapping Jamal’s exploits with Katrina, the paramour to whom Jamal confessed

TV Review: Tyrant “Meet The New Boss”

TV Review: Tyrant “Meet the New Boss” By: Brandon Wolfe The crux of ‘Tyrant’s’ first (and hopefully only) season finally locks into place in “Meet the New Boss” as Bassam begins the preliminary stages of a coup against Jamal, drawing in allies to remove his brother from office. This is the character arc that Bassam has had earmarked since the pilot, embarking on a journey from wanting nothing to do with his country or legacy to gradually developing an inevitable thirst for power. After the debacle with the sheik’s death, Bassam has decided that Jamal’s incendiary temper makes him unfit to rule Abuddin, which is almost certainly true, but one begins to wonder how much of Bassam’s drive is truly motivated by what is best for his country versus what his own ego suddenly demands. You’re going to keep wondering about that, too, because Adam Rayner isn’t getting across any of the ruthless ambition fueling Bassam. This is very much the Walter White character template being played

TV Review: @TyrantFX “Preventative Medicine”

TV Review: Tyrant “Preventative Medicine” By: Brandon Wolfe After a few episodes attempting, and failing, to craft riveting television out of political intrigue, ‘Tyrant’ moves to that most tried-and-true method of grabbing viewers: murder. Truth be told, it mostly helps. “Preventative Medicine” holds our interest more than episodes of this series generally have. The introduction of juicier stakes for the characters, actions and decisions of more immediate interest to the viewing audience than the legacy-building and political chess games the show usually feeds us, gives ‘Tyrant’ a bit of kick in the seat. We are far from out of the woods here, but a watchable ‘Tyrant’ is certainly progress. Jamal’s impromptu assault on Sheik Rashid in the men’s room has mostly gone in his favor. The doctors find no evidence of foul play and conclude that the sheik’s physical ailment is the culprit behind his nasty head trauma, while the security footage is doctored to remove Jamal’s presence

TV Review: Tyrant “What the World Needs Now”

TV Review: Tyrant “What the World Needs Now” By: Brandon Wolfe ‘ Tyrant ’ is still moseying along, trying to spin the situation concerning the rapidly growing public demonstration at the town square into nailbiting television. Yet as volatile as the situation is reported to be (we never actually check in at the scene this week), it’s presented more as a backdrop, an offscreen catalyst for the real meat of “What the World Needs Now”, which is the backroom maneuvering and machinations put into play to resolve the protest without bloodshed. Now that Sheik Rashid has publicly demanded (not requested, mind you) a meeting with President Jamal, the Al-Fayeed administration is grudgingly forced to accept. Bassam, ever the peacenik pragmatist, believes this to be a good thing, a step in the right direction toward bringing longtime enemies together and pushing Abuddin toward something resembling civilization. Jamal, however, bristles at having to bow to the wishes of a man he has looked u

Tyrant Review – “Hail Mary”

Tyrant Review - "Hail Mary" Review by Brandon Wolfe ‘Tyrant’ picks up the thread from last week with the public protest against President Jamal still raging on, the flames being fanned by the rebellious Ihab Rashid. Bassam has taken it upon himself to resolve this crisis peacefully, to redeem his family name after the years of violent tyranny perpetrated by his father. He has set a meeting with Rashid to try to talk things out, but Bassam shows some savviness when he cancels the meeting at the last minute, realizing that Rashid would just use it as an opportunity to grandstand in front of his followers rather than engage in a dialogue. Bassam finds a new tack to pursue, or rather a new Rashid. Twenty years prior, Bassam’s father and Ihab’s father, Sheik Rashid, came extremely close to a peaceful resolution before things ended up going south and Sheik went into exile. Who better, Bassam figures, to bring about peace now than the only man who ever came close to pulling it

TV Review: Tyrant “Sins of the Father"

TV Review: Tyrant “Sins of the Father" By: Brandon Wolfe After a moment of modest promise last week, ‘Tyrant’ is back to its usual floundering about. The series remains as clumsy as ever while telling stories it believes to be compelling but that land with a resounding thud. “Sins of the Father” even begins with a thud, in a flashback to Bassam’s college days, where he arrives at his dorm room to find that it has been besmirched with graffiti and news clippings decrying a gas-attack massacre initiated by his father. This sequence is a microcosm of how inept ‘Tyrant’ is, for not only is it set to “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears, a song choice insultingly on-the-nose both in its lyrics and in its “hey, it’s the ‘80s!” era evocation, but it’s also a bungle in terms of basic numbers, since we’re told in the present day that the 20th anniversary of this attack is now occurring, which would have placed Bassam’s college experience in 1994. Add math to the list o

TV Review: Tyrant “My Brother’s Keeper”

TV Review: Tyrant “My Brother’s Keeper” By: Brandon Wolfe Maybe ‘Tyrant’ isn’t a total lost cause after all. In its first two showings, the series had set itself up to be a sensationalized soap opera, using its provocative premise as mere window dressing rather than something to really sink its teeth into. While I cannot say that “My Brother’s Keeper” necessarily negates any of this as being the case, the episode has a very clear focus on the story it’s trying to tell, and it’s actually a pretty interesting story. In a pinch, this will do. It’s Jamal’s first day as president of Abuddin and his first order of business is to appoint Bassam to the permanent position of Special Consultant to the President. While Bassam has had a change of heart and now does want to play a role in his family’s empire during this transitional phase, he still intends it to be a temporary one, though his wife Molly is dubious that he will be out in the three-week time frame he has designated. Jamal’s seco

TV Review: Tyrant “State of Emergency”

TV Review: Tyrant “State of Emergency” By: Brandon Wolfe The pilot episode of ‘ Tyrant ’ was very flawed, but showed some promise. Its major pitfalls were a fairly unremarkable set of characters, a bland lead actor and an overreliance on silly melodrama, but its intriguing premise and lush production values seemed to merit giving it some time to find itself. However, its second episode, “State of Emergency” would seem to indicate that ‘Tyrant’ might not be on the path to pulling itself out of its tangle of problems. The characters remain uninteresting, the lead remains dull and, if anything, it doubles down on the melodrama. It doesn’t seem to be working out its flaws, but reveling in them. In the aftermath of his accident, Jamal is on the road to recovery. We are told of the nature of his injuries, which will make every male member of the viewing audience squirm in his seat, but that he is on the mend. But while he is incapacitated, civil unrest is growing in Abuddin in the