Sandra Oh continues her hot streak with Netflix's The Chair, a new original series that follows the head of an embattled English department at the prestigious Pembroke University.
Professor Ji-Yoon Kim says she feels like she's been handed a "ticking time bomb" in the trailer and it's not hard to see why, as she quickly has to contend with budget cuts, scandal and sexism in only her first week in the job.
The Chair is billed as a comedy drama, with the two genres allowing for both an exploration of social issues surrounding race and gender, as well as a spectacular pratfall from time-to-time – such as in the opening clip below:
Speaking to USAToday, Oh said she felt pressure to "hit that comedy beat", while describing the above scene as a "beautiful, perfect metaphor" for Professor Kim's unenviable position.
Industry veterans Holland Taylor and Bob Balaban are among The Chair cast, sharing the screen with promising rising stars including Nana Mensah and Mallory Low.
The Chair release date
All six episodes of The Chair will be available to binge watch on Netflix from Friday 20th August 2021.
The series had initially been scheduled for one week later, as seen in the date announcement tweet below, but was later brought forward in a move that should be pleasing to Sandra Oh fans.
Alongside the original release date, the streaming service also shared a mocked-up student newspaper clipping announcing the appointment of Oh's character Professor Ji-Yoon Kim as head of the English department.
The Chair cast
Sandra Oh leads Netflix's The Chair cast of as Professor Ji-Yoon Kim, the eponymous head of Pembroke's struggling English department, tasked with revitalising its fading fortunes.
That won't be easy with budget cuts, uncooperative faculty members and a heated scandal to contend with, so expect plenty of stressful moments as Professor Kim settles into the job.
Everly Carganilla (Netflix's Yes Day) stars as Ji-Yoon’s precocious young daughter, Ju-Hee ‘Ju Ju’ Kim, with Ji Yong Lee as her elderly father, Habi.
Jay Duplass (Transparent, Search Party) co-stars as Professor Bill Dobson, an academic who becomes a figure of great controversy among students after performing an offensive gesture in one of his lectures.
Other series regulars include Nana Mensah (Bonding, New Amsterdam), as Yasmin ‘Yaz’ McKay, a popular, progressive English professor and close colleague of Oh’s Ji-Yoon.
Meanwhile, Holland Taylor (Hollywood) plays Professor Joan Hambling, a witty, straight talking member of the English department who is Ji-Yoon’s friend and confidant.
Bob Balaban (The Politician, The French Dispatch) portrays Elliot Rentz, a distinguished English professor who is resistant to constrictive criticism despite plummeting student enrolment.
Rounding out the Pembroke staff are David Morse (The Good Lord Bird) as Dean Paul Larson and Ron Crawford (Dickinson) as old school Professor John McHale, who is on the brink of retirement.
The supporting cast also includes Mallory Low (DC Superhero Girls) as PhD researcher Lilah, Ella Rubin (Gossip Girl) as undergrad student Dafna and Bob Stephenson (Top Gun: Maverick) as campus technician, Horatio.
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The Chair plot
The Chair has been described as a “dramedy” that will focus on the head of an English Department at a prestigious university, which is facing a decline in student interest.
The show will be made up of six half-hour episodes and looks to explore the difficulties faced by women and people of colour in the often traditional world of academia.
The show is the first TV series written and produced by Amanda Peet, who is better known for her acting work in Brockmire and 2012.
Her husband, David Benioff, will also be executive producing, along with his working partner D.B. Weiss, with the two best known for their former position as joint showrunners on HBO's Game of Thrones.
Produced by Benioff and Weiss’s company Bighead Littlehead, The Chair is the first series made as part of their exclusive multi-year Netflix deal. They are also busy working on Netflix’s upcoming Metal Lords and Three-Body Problem.
The Chair trailer
Netflix released the first full trailer for The Chair in July 2021, which you can watch below.
The following month, the streamer shared a featurette about the show which includes interviews with star and executive producer Sandra Oh, as well as showrunner Amanda Peet.