In this bleak apocalyptic August, I'm grateful for a new Sandra Oh show.
On the heels of HBO's "The White Lotus," Oh's "The Chair" arrives on Netflix. Oh plays a Korean-American woman named to lead an elitist university's sinking English department.
While I liked Oh in her long run on "Grey's Anatomy" and as a free-spirited California neo-hippie in "Sideways," I fell in love with her watching "Killing Eve" on BBC America.
As Eve Polastri, locked in a love-hate obsession with Jodie Comer's assassin Villanelle, Oh blended world-weariness, alienation from modern conveniences, street-smarts and instinctual brilliance. And that face, registering each emotional shift.
"The Chair" is a new variation on the campus comedy genre, in which Oh portrays Ji-Yoon Kim, whose promotion as department head is baited with potential disasters. According to rave reviews, Kim must deal with an aging faculty seen as out of touch, a reduced budget, woke students and academic politics. Along with her academic duties, she deals with being the single mother of a young daughter.
Along with Oh, the superb cast features several other personal favorites: Mark Duplass as a professor on the verge of an intimate relationship with Kim, Bob Balaban as older Chaucer scholar clinging to academic traditions, and Holland Taylor as a tart-tongued medievalist.
Actress Amanda Peet steps forward as the six-part series' creator, writer and showrunner, along with Annie Wyman. Peet's husband, David Benioff, and Dan Weiss, famed for creating HBO's "Game of Thrones," are executive producers along with Peet. It's the first venture in Benioff and Weiss's deal with Netflix.
As "The Chair" premiers, Oh fans can look forward to a new season of "Killing Eve," which she's filming on location in London.
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