Earlier today I made reference to FX creating abstract promos for their comedies like Louie, while generally hyping their dramas with actual show footage. So of COURSE this Tyrant trailer is intentionally vague and virtually indecipherable. Perhaps I should start saying things like, “Money never falls on my lap,” and “TV Blend never wins Peabody Awards,” just to tip the scale my way a little.
So what is this preview all about? As Bassam “Barry” Al Fayeed, Brit actor Adam Rayner (Hunted) stands in the middle of a non-specific desert in the middle of an imaginary country, letting sand fall out of his hand. Metaphors abound, but we’re not quite sure what any of them are at this point. Are these the Sands of Time washing away old wounds? Is the sand merely dirt that Barry cannot stop from surrounding him? Or is it merely just a direct representation of the Middle Eastern setting that Barry is being called back to?
The son of a dictator in the fictional country of Baladi, Barry left his family and country behind on a self-imposed exile to the U.S., where he married an American named Molly and raised two children with her. Years later, he returns to Baladi with his family, only to immediately get caught up in the widespread political unrest and cultural turmoil. It sounds like a completely different take on international problems than those of FX’s The Bridge, and one that cable TV doesn’t always dip into. It’s no mystery why they chose to refrain from using real world locations and nationalities.
But even with that background knowledge, this teaser is still devoid of anything particularly intriguing. Of course, there are questions to be asked about where he got that wicked scar on his hand, and why it’s still so purple. But I found myself more interested in silly questions like, “Why doesn’t Barry leave any footprints in the sand?” I mean, the computer-generated desert looks pretty cool, but it’s just one more thing that isn’t quite legitimate.
Still, we’re pretty invested in any drama FX releases, and Tyrant -- coming to FX this Summer -- has an amazing creative team behind it. Gideon Raff, the creator of the Israeli political thriller Prisoners of War, is working with Howard Gordon, with whom he adapted Prisoners of War as Showtime’s Homeland. They’re joined by Dirty Sexy Money creator and Mr. Peabody & Sherman co-writer Craig Wright. The pilot was directed by David Yates, most famous for his work on the last four films of the Harry Potter franchise. It’s hard to be wary of anything created by such top notch creative minds.
Also starring Weeds’ Justin Kirk, Clash of the Titans’ Ashraf Barhom, Crash’s Moran Atias and The Bold and the Beautiful’s Jennifer Finnigan, Tyrant will debut on FX this June. Might I suggest wearing open-toed shoes while watching.