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11 Ways to Go Back to School with the Steppenwolf Ensemble

Back to School with the Steppenwolf Ensemble
Photo credits: (from top left) The Wire, The Chair, Pleasantville, David Makes Man

School is back in session! With the fall breeze blowing in the air, 'tis the season for good books, pumpkin spice and (for many of us) a return to campus. It’s also the perfect time to revisit some of our top films and TV shows that capture that “back to school” vibe, all featuring some of your favorite Steppenwolf ensemble members. This list is for students and teachers of all ages, celebrating the learner in all of us! 


Pleasantville (1998)

Featuring ensemble member Joan Allen 
Impressed by high school student David's devotion to a 1950s family TV show, a mysterious television repairman provides him with a means to escape into the black-and-white program. The simplistic, corny world of the show gives way to doses of reality that unexpectedly bring a little color into their drab existence.
Currently available to stream on HBO Max. 

The Chair (2021- )

Featuring ensemble member Cliff Chamberlain
At a major university, the first woman of color to become chair tries to meet the dizzying demands and high expectations of a failing English department.
Currently available to stream on Netflix. 

David Makes Man (2019- )

Created by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney, featuring ensemble member Alana Arenas
Set in South Florida, this lyrical coming-of-age story centers on a teenage prodigy named David who lives in the projects but attends a magnet school for academically gifted youngsters. David, played by newcomer Akili McDowell, straddles two different worlds, navigating between the streets that raised him and the school that offers him a way out of poverty. 
Currently available to stream on HBO Max. 

Mistress America (2015)

Featuring ensemble member Kathryn Erbe
A college freshman cures her disappointment and loneliness by allowing herself to be pulled into the wacky schemes of her future stepsister.
Currently available to rent on Amazon. 

13 Reasons Why (2017-2020)

Featuring ensemble member Gary Sinise
The series revolves around high school student Clay Jensen and the aftermath of high school student Hannah Baker's suicide. Before her death, she leaves behind a box of cassette tapes in which she details the reasons why she chose to end her life, as well as the people she believes are responsible for her death.
Currently available to stream on Netflix. 

The Skulls (2000)

Featuring ensemble member William Petersen
Deep within the hallowed walls of Ivy League's most prominent campus exists a secret society where power and elite are bred. Only a few are chosen to join this society where Presidents are groomed, wealthy bloodlines bond and plots thicken. For Luke McNamara, an invitation to join the prestigious secret college organisation, The Skulls, is a dream come true, until murder befalls another student.
Currently available to rent on Youtube and Amazon Prime. 

Indignation (2016)

Featuring ensemble member Tracy Letts
As the Korean War rages on, Marcus, the only son of a middle-class Jewish family, escapes from enlistment thanks to university. His introversion and atheism will soon put him out of college.
Currently available to stream on Hulu. 

​​The Wire (2002-2008)

Featuring ensemble member Jim True-Frost
This series looks at the narcotics scene in Baltimore through the eyes of law enforcers, as well as the drug dealers and users. Season 4 shifts its focus to introduce Baltimore's school system, several middle school students and their new teacher who was once a member of the Major Crimes Unit.
Currently available to stream on HBO Max. 

Elementary (2012-2019)

Featuring ensemble member Jon Michael Hill 
This take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic character has disgraced Sherlock Holmes fleeing London for present-day Manhattan after a stint in rehab. Holmes has his own plan for keeping on the straight and narrow, throwing himself into his work as a police consultant in New York City. One of literature’s most brilliant detectives has a biting wit, a thirst for knowledge and is always ready to school those around him. 
Currently available to stream on Hulu. 

The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)

Featuring ensemble member Laurie Metcalf
This award-winning series is a comedy about eternal students and brilliant physicists, Leonard and Sheldon, who never underestimate the power of knowledge. But none of that genius helps them interact with people, especially women. All this begins to change when a free-spirited beauty named Penny moves in next door.
Currently available to stream on Hulu and Apple TV. 

In Treatment (2008- )

Featuring ensemble member John Mahoney
This groundbreaking series reminded us all of the importance of continued introspection and the value of learning about ourselves. In Treatment focuses on a psychotherapist, 50-something Paul Weston, and his weekly sessions with patients, as well as those with his own therapist at the end of the week.
Currently available to stream on HBO Max.