Apple TV+ review: 'Ted Lasso' stays charming in season 2

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
The new season of Apple's signature series keeps up its positive ethos -- and is also much funnier.

Jason Sudeikis in
Jason Sudeikis in "Ted Lasso," premiering July 23, 2021 on Apple TV+.


When Ted Lasso debuted on Apple TV+ in August of 2020, I admit that I was skeptical. In fact, I gave the show a negative review at the time, stating that the show's fish-out-of-water premise wasn't enough to sustain an entire series.

I certainly didn't anticipate the life that Ted Lasso would have over the course of the next year: Yes, it's a popular series, which has collected Golden Globe and Emmy nominations and put Apple TV+ on the map like no other show in its existence to date.

But it's also become a bonafide phenomenon, praised by everyone from politicians to Tim Cook himself, with the show's positivity and optimism providing a much-needed salve for so many people during the pandemic. Not bad, for a series that originated nearly a decade earlier as a series of promos for NBC's soccer coverage.

And now, Ted Lasso is back with another season, and I admit it: That mustached lug and his soccer-playing pals have started to grow on me. Not only is the second season notably funnier than the first, but it makes much better use of its large supporting cast.

Apple reportedly ordered 12 episodes for the second season, with each beginning streaming weekly from July 23, although only eight have been made available in advance to the press; I've seen those eight.

Back to Richmond

Brendan Hunt, Jason Sudeikis and Nick Mohammed in
Brendan Hunt, Jason Sudeikis and Nick Mohammed in "Ted Lasso" season two, premiering Friday, July 23 on Apple TV+.


The premise of Ted Lasso, if you're not familiar, is that the titular character (Jason Sudeikis) is a bumpkin American football coach who's been brought to England to coach a Premier League soccer club called AFC Richmond despite knowing little about the game.

The original conceit was a riff on Major League, in which the team's female owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) is trying to tank the team on purpose, in order to get back at her ex-husband. But eventually, the show humanized that character, while also showing Ted's embrace of his new surroundings, and introducing a colorful crew of players and team employees.

The new season of Ted Lasso picks up the following soccer season after AFC Richmond was relegated to a lower league. The team begins the year with a long streak of ties, including one caused by a very unfortunate collision between a penalty kick and a dog.

What's perhaps most surprising about the second season is that the Lasso character, while present in most scenes, takes a backseat plot-wise for most of the season's first half, with the other characters getting their own prominent subplots.

Jason Sudeikis in
Jason Sudeikis in "Ted Lasso," premiering July 23, 2021 on Apple TV+.


Not all of them are great -- one about assistant coach Nathan (Nick Mohammed) suddenly becoming a jerk is something of a non-starter -- but other subplots are much better, especially the continuing adventures of newly retired player Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein.) Whether he's attempting a monosyllabic, profane turn as a television broadcaster or trying his hand at coaching, Roy delivers big laughs almost every time he appears.

Not far behind is team owner Rebecca's foray into the use of an online dating app, which leads up to a surprisingly satisfying romantic subplot. The app ends up as much more than just an excuse to put iPhones on the screen repeatedly.

The jokes are very strong as well. The presence of a team in the English second division called Sheffield Wednesday occasions a fantastic, "Who's on First"-like run of jokes about "we're playing Sheffield Wednesday Saturday?" And yes, you get to hear the punchline to the "what does the British owl say?" joke from the first season.

Getting serious

Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt in
Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt in "Ted Lasso," premiering July 23, 2021 on Apple TV+.


But the Ted character moves back to the forefront in a big way around the sixth episode when something surprising happens, and we learn that even the guy spreading positivity everywhere could perhaps use some help himself. Sudeikis has been collecting acting awards and nominations for the first season, and this plot would appear to ensure that similar accolades will continue rolling his way.

Meanwhile, the third episode represents probably the best fictional treatment to date of the recent trend of athlete activism, Nigerian player Sam (Toheeb Jimoh) refuses to wear an airline's logo, knowing that the corporation that owns it had decimated his country.

The show, in that plot and others, really establishes the multicultural state of English soccer, a topic that's especially in the news of late following the recent threats directed at Black players on the English national team who missed penalty kicks in the Euro Cup final. And beyond that, the new season even begins with a character taking a penalty kick. Sudeikis himself was recently photographed in a shirt expressing solidarity with those English players.

Back on the pitch

Juno Temple in
Juno Temple in "Ted Lasso," premiering July 23, 2021 on Apple TV+.


As in the first season, enjoyment of Ted Lasso doesn't require one to be a fan of soccer or even to have a passing familiarity with the history or culture of the English football system. After all, the hero of the show is a soccer neophyte himself, who often explains things like the FA Cup through expository dialogue.

As someone who wasn't wild about the first season, I can say that Ted Lasso has formed more fully into the show that I was hoping it would be. However, there's not really anything in the second season that will turn off those who fell in love with season 1.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,721member
    You weren’t wild about the first season…before or after you saw it?  I didn’t have very high expectations either, but I absolutely loved the first season.  It almost seems like you were afraid to admit that you liked it despite giving it an early negative review. 
    sflagelmacguiStrangeDaysCluntBaby92Rayz2016
  • Reply 2 of 8
    payecopayeco Posts: 457member
    It’s really annoying Apple won’t just release all the damn episodes at the same time. Netflix has changed the standard is what people expect. People don’t want to wait to watch week by week anymore. The few people that still want this can only watch one per week if they want to drag it out. 
    MacPro
  • Reply 3 of 8
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,052member
    sdw2001 said:
    I didn’t have very high expectations either, but I absolutely loved the first season.
    My exact feeling.


    payeco said:
    It’s really annoying Apple won’t just release all the damn episodes at the same time. Netflix has changed the standard is what people expect. People don’t want to wait to watch week by week anymore. The few people that still want this can only watch one per week if they want to drag it out. 
    They haven't changed the standard – they walk both sides of the streets.

    Weekly releases a sound business practice on Apple's part. Disney does the same. They don't have the catalog and volume of Netflix so why try to compete with their business model. Just so you can get your instant gratification? Rent ATV for a week, download, and run? Yeah, Apple's not down with that. Netflix isn't crazy about it either.
    CluntBaby92
  • Reply 4 of 8
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,694member
    payeco said:
    It’s really annoying Apple won’t just release all the damn episodes at the same time. Netflix has changed the standard is what people expect. People don’t want to wait to watch week by week anymore. The few people that still want this can only watch one per week if they want to drag it out. 
    Prime does the same for the new shows, like The Boys. HBO too. It’s fine, I have other things to do or see and don’t need them all at once. 
    CluntBaby92
  • Reply 5 of 8
    SpitbathSpitbath Posts: 16unconfirmed, member
    payeco said:
    It’s really annoying Apple won’t just release all the damn episodes at the same time. Netflix has changed the standard is what people expect. People don’t want to wait to watch week by week anymore. The few people that still want this can only watch one per week if they want to drag it out. 
    Or why don't you just wait until all the episodes are out if you wanna binge? 

    Releasing on a weekly basis is in line with the prestige "water cooler" shows produced by the likes of HBO that Apple TV+ is striving for.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,174member
    Yeah I will wait until I can watch the lot.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 929member
    entropys said:
    Yeah I will wait until I can watch the lot.
    Did you renew your subscription? I’m not trolling, just curious, as you’ve been quite vocal about not continuing past the free trial. 
  • Reply 8 of 8
    Seeing Mr Silver trying to excuse away his woeful first season review is nowhere near as funny as watching Ted Lasso, but it is amusing. 

    Silver was pretty much the only person on the planet not to like the stunning multi-award winning series, and his wonky review has seen Silver’s judgment skills tarnished in my mind, but I’m just one person, and no-one can please everyone, not even Ted Lasso. 

    Lasso couldn’t even keep one of his coaching staff happy all the time, despite Ted’s best efforts. 

    Well I am glad Mr Silver’s opinion of Lasso has improved, Silver has polished himself quite nicely with redemption. 

    His original extreme doubts hurt my feeling. 

    But in the end his views turn out to be as harmless and non threatening as a certain non-threatening kiss. 

    Steve Shelley is redeemed once more. 


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