Netflix's New Fictional Show About Higher Ed

Netflix's New Fictional Show About Higher Ed
| Staff

While you work hard to ensure your future at the college of your dreams, it may seem like academic programs and credits are the only things going on there. Once you enter your college or university, you will find that it is one big community made up of many smaller ones. Part of your journey will be to find your specific home there. This may entail finding a teacher you love working with, a project with peers that fuels your creativity or your entrance into an entire academic department.

Each department has their own political scape, mix of personalities and institutional hierarchy. And this brings us to the new Netflix show, “The Chair,” coming out Friday, August 20. Sandra Oh will be featured as the lead, supported by Jay Duplass, Nana Mensah and some exciting newcomers. The show was created by Amanda Peet, who has previously been better known for her work as an actress. This is also the first project from Netflix to have David Benioff and D.B. Weisse as executive producers, who were famous for their work producing HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

The show will center around an English department at the fictional school of Pembroke University. In the series, the department is embroiled in a scandal caused by accusations of improper behavior by one of the professors. Oh plays a teacher who is newly appointed as the English department chair, in the wake of the scandal. It is an exciting promotion for her as it makes her the first female chair and the first chair of color at the university.

Sandra Oh was born in Canada and her family is of Korean descent. She has recently become a spokesperson for the increased anti-Asian violence and sentiment in the culture since the onset of the Coronavirus. Oh has made serious advances for both Asian and female actors, being the first Asian woman to win a primetime Emmy for her portrayal as Eve Polastri, a secret agent in the action adventure series “Killing Eve.” She has been on the pop culture radar for much longer than that. She was also celebrated for her role as Dr. Cristina Yang on the hit medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” which enjoyed enormous popularity for 18 seasons on ABC.

The trailer for “The Chair” just came out this week, and it offers a little glimpse of the upcoming drama to be featured on the show. Apparently, Oh’s character is in a friendship, or more, with Jay Duplass, who plays a fellow professor in the department. Unfortunately, Duplass is also shown to be the character who is under investigation for improprieties with a student. Adding to Oh’s struggles is her role as a parent to her young daughter and caretaker to her elderly daughter.

And as far as her job goes, beside the pressures inherent in the head role of the department, Oh is also tormented with suspicions as to the real motivation behind her promotion. Was she appointed as chair just to take the fall when the scandal takes over them all? We will all have to wait to see!

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