Lori’s List: ‘Tyrant,’ ‘The Leftovers’ the best of week’s 4 new TV series

Written By By LORI RACKL TV Critic Posted: 07/24/2014, 06:12am

“TYRANT” (9 p.m. Tuesday, FX): This intense drama from the producers of “Homeland” sets a “Godfather”-like tale in a fictional war-torn nation in the Middle East. Adam Rayner plays Barry Al-Fayeed, a California doctor who happens to be the youngest son of a rich Arab dictator. With his American family in tow, Barry reluctantly returns to the troubled country he abandoned, setting off a culture clash of epic proportions. The pilot is riveting but, like our protagonist Barry, a bit joyless. Here’s hoping the series doesn’t collapse under the weight of its own gravitas; it’s a compelling premise that plays out in a part of the world not often seen on TV. Rating: ★★★½

“TAXI BROOKLYN” (9 p.m. Wednesday, WMAQ-Channel 5): The French have given us many wonderful things — delicious wine, stinky cheese, the Statue of Liberty — but they should have kept this inane action comedy to themselves. Based on Luc Besson’s film franchise about a cabdriver who helps a troubled cop solve crimes, this French TV series set and filmed in New York City is neither fun nor funny, despite trying desperately to be both. Chyler Leigh (“Grey’s Anatomy”) stars as a rogue detective determined to get to the bottom of her father’s murder. She forms an unlikely partnership with an equally unlikely French cabbie (Jacky Ido, “Inglorious Basterds”). Pardonne-moi, but car chases and creative cinematography aren’t enough to make up for lame jokes and hackneyed storylines. Rating: ★

“RECKLESS” (8 p.m. Sunday, WBBM-Channel 2): A Costco-sized portion of tropes populate this unimaginative legal drama set in Charleston, S.C., where a no-nonsense Yankee attorney (Anna Wood, “Deception”) from the South Side of Chicago (read: she’s a tough cookie!) shakes things up in sweet tea country. Her love-hate relationship with a local good ol’ boy lawyer (Cam Gigandet, “The O.C.”) is one of many predictable plot points in this instantly forgettable summer soap that would have you believe that sex scandals are South Carolina’s No. 1 crop. Rating: ★

“THE LEFTOVERS” (9 p.m. Sunday, HBO): “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof returns to series television with this unsettling, atmospheric drama based on Tom Perrotta’s novel by the same name. Three years after 2 percent of the world’s population abruptly disappears in an event labeled the “Sudden Departure,” residents of a fictional New York town try to make sense of what happened and learn to live in the aftermath. Justin Theroux (“Wanderlust,” “Parks and Recreation”) ably anchors the series as a troubled police chief and father struggling to hold it together personally and professionally. An intriguing study in how regular Joes react to inexplicable events, the show demands a level of patience bound to result in its own “Sudden Departure” of at least some viewers. Rating: ★★★

Email: lrackl@suntimes.com

Twitter: @lorirackl

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