The Chair – Season One [2021]

The Chair - Netflix

A contemporary dramady headlined by a great actress. The Chair is an almost perfect series for our times.

The one comment I would have on the first season of The Chair, it’s that it’s too short to achieve all of its goal. Six half hour episodes are not enough to balance college scandals, agism, white supremacy as well as representation.

However, spot-on observations about academia and a sturdy ensemble led by an empathetic — and hilarious — performance from Sandra Oh ensure getting you engaged.

To be honest, it’s Sandra Oh who brought me to this show. After seeing her in Grey’s Anatomy, and then Killing Eve, I’m on board for everything she does. Oh’s comedic chops ensure Ji-Yoon’s bravado is believable, and as the problems pile up, the funnier Ji-Yoon becomes.

Nevertheless, this show is more than its main actress. Having a great cast of TV veterans highlighted by Holland Taylor‘s character arc ensures you get multiple fast paced subjects.

Without getting into spoilers, the show is a fascinating glimpse into Korean culture, and is in sharp contrast to the on-screen academic world, which is populated by some remarkably familiar figures. At a high level, the show is a real attempt to grapple with the problems of contemporary academia, and the humanities in particular, by someone who has felt invested in them. Even when the issues don’t get enough screen time, you’re kept wondering about them.

I would love a longer second season just to give us enough time to dive deeper into the multiple subjects highlighted here. However, I’m quite sure that won’t happen. Sadly, most of the Gen Z woke viewers won’t understand what’s being discussed in this show.

The Chair – Season One – Official Trailer
Should you watch it?

If you have an academic background, this show is for you. If you’re smart and have a honed sense of humor, this is for you.

Where can I watch it?

You can stream the first season of The Chair exclusively on Netflix.