In the US: Tuesdays, 10pm, FX
Sometimes, before criticising fiction, it's worth looking at reality and noting just how much weirder it can be.
Take Bashar al-Assad. He's the ruler of a little country called Syria that you might have heard of recently. He's very much A Bad Man, having amongst other things deployed chemical weapons against his own population in a very bloody civil war that's claimed the lives of over 100,000 people.
Guess what? He never wanted to be ruler of Syria. He wanted to be a doctor. In fact, he went to Western Eye Hospital, part of the St Mary's group of teaching hospitals in London, so that he could become an opthamologist.
In fact, it was his brother Bassel who was being groomed for power by their father, Hafez al-Assad. However, Bassel was killed in a car accident, which meant that Bashar was recalled back to Syria and his father decided to prepare him to become president instead.
Reality is strange: had that car accident not happened, one of the bloodiest dictators of modern history would be off treating eye disorders somewhere.
Thus, going into FX's new show Tyrant, it's worth remembering that despite all the seemingly preposterous conceits of the show, reality is almost certainly serving up something stranger somewhere in the world. Set in a thinly veiled version of Syria that's separated by a mere star on its flag from the real thing, it sees an Arab-American paediatrician return back to his home country for his nephew's wedding. While there, his father has a stroke and his brother has a car accident, which would be merely tragic were it not for the fact that his father is the ruler of the country and he in turn is now its new de facto ruler - at least until his brother gets better. Will he prove to be a better, kinder ruler, or will power turn him into the thing that he's tried to so hard to avoid?
Written by Gideon Raff, the Israeli writer/director who created the original Homeland, Prisoners of War/Hatufilm, the show is a hard but rewarding watch, albeit one that knows it. But it's not without its problems.
Here's a trailer.