TCA 2014: Quick Takes From FX’s TCA Presentations for TYRANT, THE BRIDGE, THE STRAIN, SONS OF ANARCHY and FARGO

"Sons of Anarchy"
“Sons of Anarchy”

On Day 13 of the 16-day biannual Television Critic’s Association Summer 2014 Press Tour, FX introduced its new programming, and the following is a snapshot-look at a few of its new and returning series.


“Tyrant” is FX’s new summer series that debuted June 24th, about a fictional Middle East country Abbudin run by a family dictatorship. Then, on the day of his grandson’s wedding, the reigning dictator Al Fayeed dies, leaving his eldest son Jamal (Ashraf Barhom) to take over. Unfortunately, the younger son, who had fled to the U.S. twenty years earlier changing his name from Bassam to Barry (Adam Rayner), had chosen this pivotal time to return for his nephew’s wedding, and once the father dies, Barry feels compelled to stay to help ease boiling tensions in the country by standing by his older brother Jamal’s ascension to power. The Al Fayeed family has been such an oppressive ruling dictatorship that now that the ruthless father has died, the entire country is unwilling to be subjugated to another. With Jamal’s taking over his father’s role and showing signs of being even more ruthless than his father, the country is on the verge of upheaval with violent protests erupting all over. So Barry is uncertain if he should flee with his family before things get any worse, back to their safe and comfortable lives in the U.S., or if he can really make a difference by staying and supporting his brother’s regime. “Tyrant” is show is a bleak look at tyranny and the tensions of a family that is uncertain how to maintain their position of power or even if they should continue to wield such unchecked power over an entire nation. The theme of the show is “the price of power” and it is explored in a thought-provoking fashion. First point of interest: As intellectually stimulating as it is to watch, “Tyrant” has graphic violence, some of which is sexual violence that can be stomach-turning. Point of interest: Due to a recent military conflict, “Tyrant” relocated the location for filming from Israel to Turkey. (“Tyrant” is a 10-episode series, with four episodes having already aired. New episodes air on Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on FX.)


“The Bridge” returned for its second season on July 9th and quickly jumped back into the tormented lives of Detectives Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger) and Marco Ruiz (Demian Bichir) as they continued to pursue the disappearance of thousands of young girls from Juarez, Mexico that may or may not have been brought into El Paso, Texas. Simultaneously, the show follows the stories of two reporters, Daniel Frye (Matthew Lillard) and Adrianna Mendez (Emily Rios) as they track they missing girls and the disappearance of a drug cartel’s money; and two very different women Charlotte Millwright (Annabeth Gish) and Eleanor Nacht (Franka Potenta), whose actions set off a chain-reaction of events that jeopardize the lives of everyone around them. In the second season, Sonya also embarks in a personal relationship with the brother of the man who killed her sister and there are ripple-effects from that unhealthy liaison. Then Marco is driven to find a way to kill David Tate (Eric Lange) — the man who murdered his son. “The Bridge” is a complicated, yet captivating look at the under-belly of a world of crime that no one really wants to look at. First point of interest: As separate as all these storylines seem on the surface, they tend to be interwoven and come together in subsequent episodes. Second point of interest: “The Bridge” also depicts graphic violence and does not shy from strong sexual situations. (“The Bridge” airs Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on FX.)


“The Strain” is a colorful and creepy vampire tale with strong horror elements. Taking the idea that vampirism may be transmitted by a parasite and that this contagion is bringing about the next phase of human evolution, “The Strain” looks through the viewpoint of three CDC agents after they come into contact with a plane full of seemingly dead people — a few of which will be transformed to their new state and only seek to convert their families to this new glorious state as well. Unfortunately, not only do these vampires crave blood, but they crave to transform their blood-related family members to be just like them. First point of interest: “The Strain” series does not follow the books from which it is based on. Second point of interest: Keep a close eye on Corey Stoll’s hair as it may be a clue to a big change as the season progresses. (“The Strain” airs Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. on FX.)


“Sons of Anarchy” was always a story inspired by Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and it has never felt more evident than where the characters pick up in Season 7 of the series. With the death of Tara (Maggie Siff), Jax’s wife, in the finale in Season 6, murdered by Jax’s mother Gemma (Katey Sagal), Jax (Charlie Hunnam) is caught in the vortex of destiny as it tightens the noose on his life. Season 6 was also momentous in the death of Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman), after Jax finally killed the man he deemed responsible for all the pain and loss in his life. But little did Jax know that his mother would become the next villain in his life as she took the life of the mother of his children. The lies, the loss, the desperation, the desire to escape this seemingly destined path to self-destruction is all swirling around the SAMCRO club and its fearless leader Jax Teller. Due to the well-written characters and the seamless casting of the actors for each role, “Sons Of Anarchy” quickly became one of the most addictive and fastest growing audiences on television. First point of interest: Season 7 picks up 10 days after the death of Tara. Second point of interest: “Sons Of Anarchy” has been the most successful and highest rated show in FX’s history. Third point of interest: Look for some interesting new characters to appear this season, including Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson, Malcolm Jamal Warner, and the return of Walton Goggins as Venus. Fourth point of interest: FX has greenlit Kurt Sutter’s next series “The Bastard Executioner,” which will be set in the 14th Century. (“Sons of Anarchy” Season 7 premieres on Tuesday, September 9th at 10:00 p.m. on FX.)


“Fargo” ended its first, highly-acclaimed and successful first season in June and it was just announced that it has been picked up for a second season by FX. Unfortunately, one of the big changes for the second season will be that it will have an entirely new cast. So viewers need to be aware that while the title is the same, all the familiar faces and characters will be gone. The good news is that the themes and quirky storytelling style of “Fargo,” will be maintained. Also fun is the announcement that the second season will take place decades earlier, which means that the character Lou Solverson, portrayed by Keith Carradine, just at a much younger age in the time period after he returned from Vietnam in 1979. The producers hinted that the Season 2 story could involve what happened to Molly’s mother. Point of interest: “Fargo” Season 2 is tentatively schedule to air Fall 2015.

That is a wrap on Day 13 at TCA and a wrap on coverage of Summer TCA 2014. Thanks for following along and reading our daily recaps. Be sure to look for all the new shows coming this Summer and Fall as there are some amazing new shows debuting and returning.

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