Between streaming giants like Netflix and Hulu, there have been some incredible shows paving the way for more connected and captivating storytelling. But none have been more powerful and genuinely relatable than Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso, a serious charmer that will have you smiling from ear to ear. With a stunning 20 Emmy nominations under its belt for the cast, writers and crew, the Apple TV+ comedy has won over audiences, not just for its witty writing and a multitude of perfect performances but the sincerity and heart that sits with you well after an episode. Co-creator and star Jason Sudeikis' modern take on the voice of reason and compassion is not just positively necessary in these times but a real miracle among streaming we rarely see.
Returning for Season 2 on July 23 and leading the way to a brighter spot amid the pandemic, the infectious and undeniably funny Apple TV+ series starring Sudeikis as the eponymous American football coach fumbling along while leading a premier English soccer team is every bit as charming and hilarious as its first. Thanks to overwhelmingly positive word-of-mouth building up an admiration for the past year alongside numerous awards and nominations for Season 1, the equal parts optimistic and thoughtful comedy has a lot to live up to heading into its next 12-episode arch. Having seen the first couple of episodes of the season, PopCulture.com is happy to report the show is a real, bona fide winner brimming with its continued theme of kindness and generosity of spirit, without ever feeling repetitive. However, there is a more sheltered, emotionally complex tone bursting at the seams for everyone this time around, especially Ted following the events of last season between his divorce and panic attacks, one that left many AFC Richmond fans wondering if he had a "bad curry."
As the Season 1 finale saw clubhouse attendant Nate (Nick Mohammed) get promoted to the coaching staff, the team faced a throng of trials, including losing their place in the Premiership at the hands of former AFC Richmond teammate Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) and what felt like the end of veteran soccer star Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein). But as Season 2 picks up the pieces with Lasso alongside Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), getting full support from AFC Richmond owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) and her trusty sidekick Higgins (Jeremy Swift), they work toward a comeback for the ages. But in the premiere episode "Goodbye, Earl," things do take a bit of a turn to underscore a melancholy tone with the introduction of sports psychologist Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles), much to Ted's aggravation after one of its star players faces uncertainty. Meanwhile, Roy Kent is as Roy Kent as Roy Kent can be, not enjoying retirement and trying his hardest to navigate a healthy relationship with Keeley (Juno Temple), who has created a new dating app that skilfully plays a major role throughout the season.
Written with heart and a warm realism, Ted Lasso is most definitely one of the best shows out there today, offering audiences the chance to not only feel Ted's genuine joy of being around others but through its earnest moments to become a stronger character and show. While the premise is something most necessary in a realm of spite, it's Sudeikis's character that really makes this show even more worthwhile. Through an adorable heart that is just sugary enough, Sudeikis delivers some very bizarrely hilarious moments with Ted where he will say something downright ridiculous, making you wonder how a grown man can be so naïve. But because Sudeikis delivers each moment with such a genuine vulnerability and sincerity, you really only love him more because of it. What can be viewed as a weakness or a branch within toxic masculinity often plaguing sports is instead transformed perfectly as a strength and admiration through the classic "show, don't tell" writing technique aptly created by show writers Joe Kelly, Bill Wrubel, Jamie Lee, Leann Bowen, Jane Becker, Phoebe Walsh, Sudeikis, Goldstein, Hunt and showrunner Bill Lawrence.
Among the hilarity Ted Lasso brings, there are some sad moments that follow this season similarly to its last but in a continually affecting way that will tug at you. But as the tears are few and far between the comedy for an added nuance to every moment and its characters involved, they pack a punch to leave an indelible imprint. A lot of that can be attributed to the chemistry and performances from the more fleshed out ensemble cast this season including the likes of Waddingham, Hunt, Swift, Goldstein, Mohammed, Temple and its soccer stars, Dunster, Toheeb Jimoh (Sam Obisanya) and Cristo Fernandez (Dani Rojas), who are equally amazing and elevate every moment of this series to what is a sheer charm.
When Ted Lasso premiered last year during the pandemic, it didn't make too much of a dent in the sea of streaming. But it was a real underdog among viewers who could see a miraculous potential far beyond its initial roots stemming from NBC Sports commercials with Sudeikis and Hunt — a spinoff that can tempt failure like those GEICO Caveman ads turned short-lived ABC sitcom in 2007. Standing out among other series with a divine ability for storytelling, the show succeeded well beyond anyone's imagination amid a time of worry, thanks to clever writing and strong performances. Like all miracles though, Ted Lasso came in with an embrace of kindness and enough substance to turn it into an unlikely sensation that will no doubt stand the test of time among rich, awe-inspiring programming.
Season 2 of Ted Lasso is currently streaming on Apple TV+, and a new episode will air each week. All episodes of Season 1 are also currently streaming and PopCulture readers can get a free three-month trial subscription here.