(CNN)"The Chair" lays retired an absorbing workout by examining generational divides done the prism of a assemblage English section and the archetypal pistillate of colour starring it, played by Sandra Oh. Yet an exceptional formed mostly outshines the material, leaving what amounts to a mildly diverting binge with 1 inordinately amusing cameo baked into it.
Oh's Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim, arsenic the caller English seat astatine prestigious Pembroke University, is getting pulled successful aggregate directions. There are problems with the dinosaurs connected the unit (played by, among others, Bob Balaban and Holland Taylor), who defy caller ways; an outspoken provocateur, Bill Dobson (Jay Duplass), whose eagerness to disturbance the world cookware creates tremendous headaches; and a rising star, Yaz McKay (Nana Mensah), who arsenic a Black pistillate asks wherefore Ji-Yoon is truthful solicitous of those astatine a hidebound instauration that resists indispensable changes.
"You enactment similar you beryllium them something," Yaz tells her.
Ji-Yoon has her stock of clashes with the dean (David Morse), who is committed to protecting the school's hierarchy and image. Her ill-defined idiosyncratic narration with Bill -- who seemingly ne'er got the memo astir the perils of invoking Hitler to marque a constituent -- lone adds to her discomfort trying to negociate him.
Finally, there's a 2nd schism betwixt the module and students, who person their ain beardown opinions astir the acquisition they're receiving, and with whom the older professors successful peculiar person occupation connecting, viewing them with a premix of confusion, exasperation and fear.
The task was created by Amanda Peet, who produced it on with her husband, "Game of Thrones'" David Benioff, and his producing spouse D.B. Weiss. In a alternatively meta twist, Peet besides enlisted a erstwhile co-star, "The X-Files'" David Duchovny, to playfully look arsenic himself, with eager-to-please administrators wanting the Ivy League-educated histrion to present a lecturer successful bid to wow donors, successful what mightiness beryllium the show's funniest (and astir promotable) wrinkle.
Having dealt with a antithetic benignant of bureaucracy successful "Killing Eve," Oh is good suited to playing a quality navigating this absurd minefield. But astatine times "The Chair" feels arsenic it's juggling excessively much, arsenic opposed to focusing much steadfastly connected a fewer cardinal plots. Taylor's character, for example, becomes obsessed with cruel anonymous comments directed astatine her online, a seemingly unnecessary detour fixed each the crushed the amusement has to screen successful conscionable six half-hour episodes.
At its best, "The Chair" offers a model into the changing quality of academia, the organization impediments to achieving diverseness and the evolving authorities of higher education, with students who are nary longer contented to passively judge what's handed down to them from connected high.
As assembled, the bid possesses each kinds of classy trappings and intriguing themes arsenic it blends drama and drama, without advancing to the caput of the class. Think of it arsenic a doctoral campaigner that, erstwhile dissertation clip rolls around, doesn't rather unrecorded up to its sizeable potential.
"The Chair" premieres Aug. 20 connected Netflix.