I know some retired Willamette University professors who would love "The Chair" on Netflix. This is a short (three hour) series that covers a lot of ground: college politics, free speech/cancel culture, how minorities are treated in academia.
Sandra Oh, who I came to know and love in "Killing Eve," has a very different role here as Ji-Yoon Kim, the new chair of the English Department at a smallish university. She's terrific, as are all the other actors, notably including Everly Carganilla, who plays Kim's adopted daughter.
Though by far the youngest member of the cast, Carganilla steals every scene she is in, displaying an astonishing talent.
Check out reviews of "The Chair" if you have any doubt about watching it. The Atlantic review is titled, "The Chair is Netflix's Best Drama in Years."
Perhaps, like me, you inwardly sigh with the breath of a thousand winds whenever you hear the words cancel culture, as mangled and distorted as the expression has become. If so, know that the people behind Netflix’s The Chair are likely sighing too. And yet here they are, presenting a unicorn: a near-perfect television show that clocks in at just three hours, and a comedy-drama that skewers the subject of free speech in academia without taking a side, demonizing a particular group, or descending into tweed-clutching.
That last observation is correct. It's refreshing to see a drama where there aren't clear-cut "good guys" and "bad guys." Since I'm a big proponent of free speech, having had some recent run-ins with excessively woke people on Facebook, I was sympathetic to Bill, a professor who gets skewered by students after making an unfortunate Nazi salute in class. The Atlantic says:
During one packed lecture, Bill satirically performs a Hitler salute while considering absurdism’s power against fascism, sparking a viral meme and a furious debate about free speech on campus.
The main gripe I had with "The Chair," a minor one, is that for some reason Bill never offers up a coherent explanation for why he did the Nazi salute, which was captured on video. That makes the angry students seem more justified in their demand that Bill be fired, whereas if he'd defended his action as satire, that should have reduced the cancel culture demands.
Hopefully there will be a Season 2.
The final episode of Season 1 ended with enough ambiguity to justify a second season, which I guess is one reason why it ended the way it did. Regardless, "The Chair" is well worth watching in its current incarnation. If it gets reborn, so much the better.