Netflix is putting together a new show about academics and the chair of an English department which, to be honest, sounds like it could be about petty, trivial conflicts and excessive over-reactions after prolonged over-thinking, which could be exhausting. But then I learn that two of the people behind the show are those overpaid jerk-offs, Benioff and Weiss, who drove Game of Thrones into the ground, which gives me hope. Anyone who watched any of the featurettes at the end of each episodes knows that those two are dull, dry pontificating twits, and therefore they know the material that has to make up the content of any show about academia. Also, it means the show will feature gratuitous nudity and bloody violence, two things that tend to be lacking around university departments, but which would definitely elevate our appreciation of events. Who hasn’t dreamed of crushing the skull of the departmental chair, or silencing that bore who won’t shut up at the planning meeting with a crossbow bolt? (Note: I am currently the discipline coordinator for biology here, and I’m sure none of my colleagues have ever had such a thought.)
Right now, they’re at the casting stage, and they’ve got Sandra Oh and are trying to hook Scarlett Johansson, because she has to be in everything. I’m going to recommend when they’re scouting locations that they check out the University of Minnesota Morris. Imagine an academic dramedy that takes place in an isolated antarctic research station; we’re the closest thing to that you’re going to get, academic life enclosed in a tiny, remote bubble. We’ve already got a wild cast of extras to fill in the gaps, and all you need to do is add a CGI shapeshifting alien, and the story writes itself.
Except the ending. I have no idea how it would wrap up, but with Benioff and Weiss behind it, who cares? We’ll just kill a few faculty and go hang out at the Old #1 Bar and be done.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
You missed the other half of the low-hanging fruit in that joke, PZ. Scarlett Johansson will, as usual, be cast as a character who is at least two of: teenaged, gay, trans, asian, and black, because of course there’s no way they could actually find somebody who really is any combination of those things to play the same role.
Marcus Ranum says
My dad (an academic) used to say “the battles in the department are so intense because there is so little at stake.”
Sunday Afternoon says
Sounds a bit like: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Very_Peculiar_Practice
…or more like: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_Man ?
(BBC version in 1981)
Academics…like this? https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/peasant
Computer science would be a better fit for a drama with gratuitous nudity and violence https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/bound
lakitha tolbert says
Well, I hope for gob’s sake, they don’t put any actual people of color in it, and just have all those roles taken up by ScarJo…
Sounds like a good idea, especially the shape shifting alien.. You do have some extraterrestrial alien predator DNA lying around, I hope.
Well, there’s The Oxford Murders (film). Great movie.
Or maybe Literary Murder (Michael Ohayon #2)
Peter Bollwerk says
Looks like the show is written by a couple women, at least. That’s something positive.
OK, PZ, that’s it. Pack you bags. You’re going to Hollywood. And yes, a mass shooting at the end is perfect because it leads to the sequel series, assuming you get a green light.
I can’t imagine anything more dreadful than a primetime soap opera about college life, unless it’s a primetime soap about hospitals. At least in a hospital dramedy you’ve got people running around yelling “Stat!” or “Code Red” or some such which is dramatic and reasonably true to life. I assume things like that rarely happen in a university setting.
Kevin Dugan says
PZ stares at a microscope display
Cut to bacteria replicating in time lapse
Back to PZ staring,
Colonel enters room “Well? This thing as eaten 6 people so far. We need a handle on it proto.”
PZ gives him a blank look “I’m a developmental biologist, not a prognosticator of alien goo, come back in a year and I might have something.” PZ looks over the Colonel’s shoulder and suddenly his eyes go wide.
Colonel “What, have you thought of something?”
PZ “What, no no. I’m 10 minutes late for a staff meeting.”
@Kevin Dugan, # 12: Damn, if these comments had “Like” buttons I’d click it for your post.
@Kevin Dugan #12
That was genuinely fun!
Why do those two still have a job?
I still feel sad when I remember Jock’s end.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
My best friend and I will frequently mock nudity in movies & shows by discussing its “plot relevance”.
we might say.
“Who ever heard of a liberal arts college as a setting for drama?”
Well, Edward Albee for one.
Ah, what is a “liberal arts college”?
On the other hand I can work up a good drama: Ph.D candidate discovers advisor has stolen and published most of his work. Ph.D student confronts, shoots and kills advisor. Plot continues from there.
Possible subplot: Can the defence get enough grad students on the jury to assure acquittal?
I dunno, Robertson Davies did some interesting stuff with that setting…
John Morales says
jrkrideau @19, you’re on the internet.
I feel like Nabokov might have written about academic shenanigans from time to time.
You may remember the English TV show “Morse” which took place in and around Oxford; professors, lecturers, tutors and students were murdered and murdering everywhere.
From what I’ve seen, the lack of gratuitous nudity at department meetings is no great loss.