TV show called "Ph.D, The Series". The students were going to be in the fictional field of Mathematical Forestry. There was going to be all manner of hijinks and drama. Sabotaged experiments. Sticky TA-undergrad romances. Imperious liberal elite professors. You know how it is.I've always loved the idea of a PhD TV show. I've put way too much thought into it, too. It's perfect! Here's my cast breakdown:
You could get rotating hot young things cast to play the undergrads (think pop star de jour). This would be great to draw in the younger audiences. Maybe the next Backstreet Boy comes out of the closet to his gruff and closeted English Comp prof in a paper. Maybe tomorrow's Britney gets caught plagiarizing her World History final and shows up in tears at her prof's office hours.
Grad students could be another great source of drama - think drugs, sex and rock and roll (all the drudgework can be shown in CSI-style montages - rotating camera angles over TAs hunched over massive tomes with hard-pounding music playing over it all). The bad-boy slacker who has a savant-like ability with obscure formulas or Latin or something (done before, but it's a rich vein - it'll hold). The deeply troubled and troubling rising star character actors could be your source for actors. Maybe throw in a lost idealist in there too. Fewer pretty folks, but more troubled - it balances out. This would also be a great source for farewell episodes. We get to know the grad students and then they leave in a couple of years. That's drama.
The key would be the profs though. Bardiac's (one of the commenters over at Ianqui's) right - The Lilith-From-Cheers sexy Shakespeare specialist would be perfect. She/he gets all the smitten undergrads to take her/his class and they struggle and actually learn! She/He is brilliant and frustrated that all anyone wants to do is oggle. This is very marketable. You get a beautiful actor and you get to deal with image and gender issues too! And she/he is an alcoholic.
Then there's the comic relief clueless chair who screws everything up.
You'd also need more second-tier pretty but backstabbing folks, too.
Your main love interest couple would be a prof with a trailing spouse going through marital and career troubles while trying to settle in at the new campus. They'd be in separate departments so the plots don't get to heavy in one specialization, but you get good crossover in the characters. You'd have to specify the departments though, and they'd have to be fairly mainstream, but with very technical upper echelons. I'd say maybe English and Chemistry. Everyone can approach both subjects on a basic level, but you could show the incomprehensibility of the elite levels of each - and as a bonus, if the series goes downhill, the entire campus could be wiped out in a chemical explosion brought on by a spurned TA. Or a umm... Wordsworth virus? hmmm... That needs work. English department folks need to be more dangerous.
Finally, there's the dottering old emeritus who actually knows and understands everything secretly keeps everything from falling apart. He'll show up every now and then and dispense wisdom and yoda-like confusing sayings that prove true only in sad tear-stained hindsight.
It's perfect I tells ya!
Hollywood! Give me a call!
(Last post of the night - I promise)