There’s no doubt that given Australia’s current—and seemingly relentless—lockdown, many have taken to meticulously sifting through streaming platforms for their next binge-watch. For many, their latest weeknight watch has been one of Netflix’s empowering yet wholesome originals, titled The Chair.
Written by beloved actress Amanda Peet and creative genius Annie Wyman, the six-part series follows the story of Ji-Yoon Kim, who is the first women and person of colour to be named the Chair of the English department at Pembroke University. But of course, in a relatable twist, the department is struggling to attract and enrol new students due to its stubborn faculty members who’ve been at the education establishment for years and refuse to adapt to the times.
And while the series’ plot line is intriguing enough, it’s the star-studded cast that has most fans captivated, transfixed and downright obsessed with securing a potential second season.
With a Hollywood A-list lineup including names like Sandra Oh, Holland Taylor and Nana Mensah, the rest of the cast members who may not have recognisable names are worth noting too.
Sandra Oh as Dr Ji-Yoon Kim
Sandra Oh takes to the small screen as The Chair protagonist, Ji-Yoon, who is the first woman to become Chair of Pembroke University’s English department. Struggling to be taken seriously by her elderly white male faculty, she works to fight against the patriarchy. Oh isn’t a stranger from fame, thanks to her iconic role as Dr Christina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy and as Eve in Killing Eve.
Holland Taylor as Professor Joan Hambling
One of the most senior members of her department, Holland Taylor stars as Professor Joan Hambling. Despite her previously decent relationship with Ji-Yoon, trouble arises when she becomes the Chair of the department and no longer has time to spend with Joan. Holland sports an incredibly famous career, having starred in TV shows like The L Word, The Practice, Two and a Half Men, and Netflix’s Hollywood. And when it comes to film, she’s known for her roles in George of the Jungle, The Truman Show and Legally Blonde.
Jay Duplass as Professor Bill Dobson
An English professor at Pembroke University, Jay Duplass plays Professor Bill Dobson, who stepped down as chair following the death of his wife. Currently, romantically entangled with Ji-Yoon, their relationship is in rough waters as it continues to become more complicated and undefined. Duplass has previously starred as Duncan in The Mindy Project, Transparent, Search Party and in Alison Brie’s Netflix film Horse Girl.
Nana Mensah as Professor Yaz McKay
Nana Mensah stars as Professor Yaz McKay, one of Pembroke English Department’s newest additions. Her classes quickly became the most popular compared to her peers’, since she uses modern techniques to teach her class, that her other colleagues, most notably Professor Elliot Rentz, resent. Mensah is most known for her role as Dr Camila Candelario in New Amsterdam, as well as 13 Reasons Why and Bonding.
Everly Carganilla as Ju-Hee ‘Ju Ju’ Kim
Everly Carganilla stars as Ju Ju, the adoptive daughter of Ji-Yoon, who is named after her late mother. Thanks to Ji-Yoon’s increasing workload, there is tension in their relationship. Carganilla has previously starred opposite Jennifer Garner in Netflix’s Yes Day.
Bob Balaban as Professor Elliot Rentz
Bob Balaban stars as Professor Elliot Rentz, a senior member of the university’s English department. Refusing to accept feedback on his teaching styles—despite his classes boasting the lowest enrolments—he refuses to change his ways to make his class more successful. Balaban has previously starred in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom, as well as Friends as Phoebe’s estranged father and Netflix’s The Politician.
David Morse as Dean Paul Larson
The Dean of Pembroke University, David Morse plays Dean Paul Larson, who is Ji-Yoon’s boss while in her position as Chair of the English department. Morse has previously starred in famous films like The Green Mile, The Hurt Locker and World War Z.
Ron Crawford as Professor McHale
Ron Crawford plays Professor McHale,who is the oldest member of Pembroke’s English department, and is often seen catching some shut eye around campus. Crawford has previously appeared in the second season of Apple TV+ series, Dickinson.
Mallory Low as Lila
Mallory Low stars as Lila, a PhD student who works with Professor Bill Dobson. However, after not so long, he becomes entangled in scandal, she contemplates how it could affect her and her future. Low’s past work has seen her appear in How to Get Away with Murder and Jane The Virgin.
Ella Rubin as Dafna
Ella Rubin stars as Dafna, a Pembroke student who is adamant on gaining the attention of Professor Bill Dobson. Rubin has previously starred in Billions and the 2021 reboot of Gossip Girl.
David Duchovny as Himself
Starring as himself, David Duchovny is being pursed by Pembroke’s English department to be a celebrity speaker for the students. However, Ji-Yoon is far from willing to have him on campus. Duchovny is easily most notable for his role as Fox Mulder in The X-Files franchise, as well as Californication and Aquarius.