The Director, the preview review of the new Netflix series

The Director, the preview review of the new Netflix series

The Director

The academic world has always been a source of great inspiration for cinema. Just think of the dramatic The Fugitive Moment (remembered in the commemoration to Robin Williams) or the funny musical comedy Pitch Perfect, both set in American colleges.

It is therefore not surprising that among the Netflix releases for this August, there and also The Director, the new series created for the small screen by Amanda Peet, with David Benioff and Daniel Brett Weiss as executive producers, together again after Game of Thrones. But will The Director be able to distinguish herself from other shows of her genre?

The storyline without spoilers

To summarize briefly, The Director is a dramedy that mainly follows the stories of Ji-Yoon Kim (Sandra Oh), a doctor who teaches at the prestigious University of Pembroke, when she is chosen to become department head of the English faculty. The general situation in which the woman finds herself is clarified in the first moments of the series and is not exactly the most idyllic: some of her colleagues risk their jobs due to the lack of enrollments in their courses and she is forced to make decisions. important.

However, Ji-Yoon is not inclined to abandon the professors on the "list" to themselves and therefore decides to try a new approach to the problem, looking for a common point between his bosses, colleagues and the needs of students. The task is even more difficult than expected, especially due to some unpleasant incidents involving Professor Bill Dobson (Jay Duplass) and which greatly undermine both Pembroke's college reputation and Ji-Yoon's career.

And if, as they say, misfortunes never come by themselves, then a family situation that is not exactly peaceful comes to increase the load of stress. Ju-hee (Everly Carganilla), Ji-Yoon's adopted daughter, helps complicate her mother's life, making it difficult for her to even have a babysitter to look after her. But perhaps not all evil comes to harm, given that thanks to an unusual friendship between the girl and Dobson, she will be able to get some of the answers she is looking for.

You don't live by books alone

The Director is therefore not an obvious American comedy set in a college, but rather reveals much deeper themes, also advancing some targeted and decidedly current criticisms. Although everything is mainly linked to the university world, the analyzes that The Director makes on today's school society touch on various themes, first of all that of sexism, which still permeates in some academic circles.

Ji-Yoon is one of the characters afflicted by this problem, given that, being the first woman to be appointed head of the English department, she sees everyone's expectations and responsibilities weigh on her. But not only that, also Professor Joan Hambling (played by Holland Taylor) feels on her own skin what is in effect a double discrimination. As a "veteran" woman in education, she leads her to be the underdog even in the assignment of offices.

Another delicate topic dealt with in The Director is racism. Perhaps to most people it could be a foregone problem to face, used mainly to attract a part of the consensus. However, the series never ends in the banal, because in addition to the university sphere, the personal one is also touched. If for the first part we have the dialogues between Ji-Yoon and Professor Yaz McKay (Nana Mensah) that make it clear how much some university decisions are only facade, for the second we have Korean culture and traditions compared to the so-called "dream American ”.

A reduced but valid cast

Not a predictable series then, especially for the ways in which The Director deals with certain problems. Undoubtedly, however, great support is given above all by the interpreters of the main characters. First of all Sandra Oh, known mainly to the general public as Cristina Yang of Grey's Anatomy, but who in addition to the popular medical drama, took part in some internationally known series, also lending her voice in animated productions. To name a few, American Dad, Phineas & Ferb, the She-Ra animated series of 2018 and that of Invincible, as well as Killing Eve, a spy thriller in which she stars.

Next to her we can find the 'incomparable Bob Balaban, interpreter of the rigid Professor Elliot Rentz, who despite having an insufficient handful of students, continues to degrade Professor Yaz McKay who, on the contrary, finds herself a class overflowing with pupils. Balaban's filmography is almost a kilometer long, counting among the directors for whom he worked Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Gore Verbinski and M. Night Shyamalan.

Nana Mensah, on the other hand, is Yaz McKay, the only African-American teacher present in the university of Pembroke and focus of one of the main battles of Ji-Yoon, who tries to entrust her with the honorary chair. Young and daring, she approaches English literature with more intriguing topics considered almost taboo by colleagues, especially by Professor Rentz, but thus attracting the interest of many students. Nana Mensah's career begins in 2009, but the series that have seen her as a recurring character are mainly recent such as Thirteen, New Amsterdam and Bonding.

Last but not least, we also have in the cast Holland Taylor, who plays Professor Joan Hambling, one of the pillars of the University of Pembroke. She is sure of herself, she does not let anyone put her feet on her head and tackles problems in a completely personal way and bordering on the absurd, giving that comic touch to the situations that involve her. Impossible to mention all the roles of Taylor, but one of the most famous remains that of Evelyn Harper, the mother of the Harper brothers of the sitcom Two and a Half Men.

Summing up

Writing by Amanda Peet and the experience of the entire cast, makes La Direttrice a valid and pleasant product to watch. The six episodes of about half an hour each, make the show a miniseries and manage to maintain a certain lightness while considering the importance of the issues it deals with. Without ever falling into banality, it maintains the right balance between dramatic and serious elements, and the funniest ones typical of comedies.

So you just have to delve into the academic world of Pembroke, from August 20 on Netflix!

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