The weight of expectation is something that soccer managers and players are acutely aware of. The smallest margins, on and off the pitch, can be the difference between victory and defeat – factors that England and Italy can attest to as the dust settles on Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
As a soccer-based show, Ted Lasso will be familiar with the notion of expectation now, too. Apple TV Plus’ popular football comedy series regularly appeared on ‘the best TV shows of 2020’ lists and, with a plethora of awards under its belt since the series’ initial August 2020 release, the show’s next instalment has a lot to live up to.
Ted Lasso season 2 offers more of the same, in terms of humor and heart, as season 1, but fans shouldn’t worry that the series is starting to feel stale because of that. With the introduction of new characters and subplots, season 2 feels as fresh as the series’ first outing, and further establishes Ted Lasso as Apple TV Plus’ most appealing show.
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Picking up a few months after season 1’s climactic relegation, Ted Lasso season 2 finds AFC Richmond struggling to adapt to life in England’s second tier.
A run of seven consecutive draws, coupled with issues plaguing Richmond’s stars on and off the field, means that the unwaveringly optimistic Ted (Jason Sudeikis) has his work cut out.
Season 2 feels like a turbulent moment for AFC Richmond, and you can see why it has been dubbed as the 'Empire Strikes Back' of the series by the show's cast. Despite its comedic center, Ted Lasso season can be viewed as being slightly darker in terms of its themes (at least, from the perspective of episode 1), just like Star Wars Episode V was.
Thankfully, the US soccer coach has his signature charm and optimism to fall back on, which will be vital in furthering fostering relationships with his players and helping Richmond to try and make an instant Premier League return.
As pleasing as it is to see Ted’s positive-yet-eccentric personality return in spades, though, season 2’s biggest strength arguably lies away from its titular character.
While not exactly bereft of screen time in season 1, the show’s supporting cast are given more room to breathe. Fan favorites, such as Dani Rojas (Cristro Fernandez), receive bigger character arcs in season 2 from the get go, while the likes of Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), Roy Kent (Brett Goldtein) and Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) also enjoy variations in character development, which helps to flesh out the series’ overarching story.
Sure, Ted Lasso (as a show) has never solely been about its main character, but it’s good to see some of the series' other stars get more time in the spotlight.
That extends to Ted Lasso’s newcomers, too. The arrival of psychologist Doctor Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles), for one, creates some welcome tension thanks to her initially frosty relationship with Ted, which adds new dynamics to the series’ setup and ensures that Ted and company won’t always get their way this season.
If this makes it sound like Ted Lasso season 2 is moving away from comedy in favor of a more dramatic approach, don’t fret.
Judging by episode 1’s plethora of laugh out loud moments, season 2 will be packed with dry, slapstick, dark and bizarre humor as well as lots of pop culture references. There are tons of great jokes and quips for fans to enjoy in this first episode.
For fans of Ted Lasso’s sentimental moments, heart-to-hearts between the show’s cast members are plentiful, too. Like its predecessor, season 2 appears to have the right blend of comedic and emotional scenes, which is a big part of what has made Ted Lasso so successful.
Ted Lasso season 2 doesn’t reinvent the series, but there’s a sufficient upgrade to its match-winning formula here that's made us optimistic about its 12-episode run. The writers are building on strong foundations when it comes to characterization and storytelling here in all the right ways.
With Euro 2020 now over, Ted Lasso is ready to fill the soccer-shaped hole in football fans’ hearts – and lord knows that some of us need it.
Ted Lasso season 2 premieres exclusively on Apple TV Plus on Friday, July 23.
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As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
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