Programming Review: ‘A Teacher’

A Teacher
Ashley Zukerman and Kate Mara in ‘A Teacher.’ (Image credit: Chris Large/FX)

FX on Hulu delves into the taboo teacher-student affair dynamic in its new original series A Teacher.

The series stars Kate Mara as Claire Wilson, a high school English teacher looking to fit into a new environment. Unsatisfied in her marriage to her college sweetheart Matt (Ashley Zukerman) and looking for some companionship, Claire eventually befriends fellow teacher Kathryn Sanders (Marielle Scott) as she looks to get settled in her new surroundings.  

The attractive teacher quickly catches the eyes of hormonal senior high school students and friends Eric (Nick Robinson), Logan (Shane Harper) and Josh (Dylan Schmid), but it is Eric, a star athlete more reserved than most students his age, who captures Claire’s attention. A chance meeting between Claire and Eric at the diner where he works provides the impetus for the two to get to know more about each other beyond the confines of the classroom. Claire agrees to tutor Eric for his upcoming SAT exam, leading to more encounters before the relationship turns intimate after a school dance. 

Eventually both Claire and Eric begin to feel the gravity of their illicit relationship. When their secret gets out in the open, much of the second half of the 10-episode series finds the two having to navigate their lives while dealing with the scrutiny of their affair from both those close to them and from the community at large.

A Teacher executive producer Hannah Fidell artfully balances the predatory nature of the illicit sexual affair (each episode begins with a warning about depictions of grooming that may be disturbing) with the genuine emotions and feelings of the two protagonists. Mara and Robinson turn in great performances that make the relationship both believable and tragic. 

Hulu will stream the first three episodes on Nov. 10, with later episodes appearing weekly. 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.