National Public Radio says the new Netflix series the Chair is “another reason to love Sandra Oh.” The New Yorker calls her performance “masterful,” Buzzfeed says “Sandra’s ability to combine comedy and drama — with a hint of rom-com — is extraordinary.”
Nepean-born Sandra Oh has been around for a long time, but her two most recent television series’ have solidified her role as one of the hottest actors around. The US media is currently full of stories praising her work in the series The Chair, where Oh plays a beleaguered Chair of the English department of a minor Ivy League University. Oh’s character takes over the department as its first female chair, only after the department has descended into near collapse. Enrolments are down and the department is dominated by a group of septuagenarian tenured profs who have no interest in connecting with their Gen-Z students.
The six-part series was written by Written by actress Amanda Peet and creative genius Annie Wyman, who was herself a respected academic before going to Hollywood. The series skewers everything related to university life from cancel culture, academic sclerosis, the tenure system and the pervasive influence of big money in university politics.
OH had been making movies for decades, playing, as she put it, “somebody’s best friend,” but that all changed when he was invited to star in the BBC series “Killing Eve” where she plays a British MI6 operative who is stalked and nearly killed by a demented Russian assassin Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer. Despite the violent premise the show is an outrageous comedy. Then of course there was Ohs ten-year stint in the TV drama Grey’s Anatomy.
Reviewing the Chair, New Yorker writer Hua Hsu notes, “what makes “The Chair” worth watching is Oh. Much has been written about her slow path to stardom, as she navigated the limitations imposed on Asian performers in American film and television. She has made a career out of reacting to others and playing complementary roles. Without a lane of her own, she mastered the performance of empathy, working off the energies of those around her. Were this real life, these are precisely the qualities that would make her a good chair.”
After 30 years in film and Television, Sandra Oh has truly come into her own.