Now Streaming: TED LASSO, S3 E01, Still Kicking, Sometimes Scoring

Jason Sudeikis stars in the series; now streaming on Apple TV+.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas, US (@peteramartin)
Now Streaming: TED LASSO, S3 E01, Still Kicking, Sometimes Scoring

How did the sprightly Goofy become the big, lumbering Dumbo, who only occasionally takes flight?

Ted Lasso
The first episode of Season 3 is now streaming on Apple TV+. Subsequent episodes in the 12-episode season will debut every Wednesday. I've seen the first four episodes of the new season, as well as all 22 episodes of the first two seasons, which continue to be available to stream on Apple TV+.

I don't think it's proper to be nostalgic for a television show that debuted less than three years ago, but I miss the first season of Ted Lasso.

Premiering in August 2020, the show felt like a lifejacket thrown to everyone in the midst of the pandemic, arriving just when everything felt bleak and despairing -- or was that just me?

The stupidly optimistic Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), an American college football coach from Middle America, agreed to a ridiculous job offer from Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), intended to sabotage the British football club she owns as part of a divorce settlement, so that she can exact revenge upon her unfaithful ex-husband. Instead, Ted wins over his players and the whole darn world with his relentlessly sunny disposition and positive attitude as a manager.

That first season, which I binged after hearing recommendations from friends, overflowed with cheery goodness, delivered in bursts of about 30 minutes each. It felt like a true alternative series, unlike any other sports-themed television show.

The second season, arriving in July 2021, expanded its reach, stretching into darker psychological territories, and also stretching out its running time, sprawling past 40 minutes in several instances. The overall tone remained very likable, though, in large part because the better-established characters remained recognizable, people who were trying to do their best under often unimaginably difficult times. That too reflected the times in which we were living.

Now the third, and possibly final, season has arrived, and it brings with it a lot of baggage, along with continued expansion of its running time. (Only the first four episodes were made available for preview, but each runs 45-50 minutes.) Thus, it appears to continue the show's evolution from sitcom to comedy-drama, with the scales balanced somewhat equally between comedy and drama.

The first episode starts new plates a-spinning, though I believe anyone who may be new to the series could, theoretically, jump right on. Ted Lasso remains manager, alongside his assistants, faithful Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) and fiery, recently-retired player / new-ish coach Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein). Rebecca Welton remains owner, alongside her extremely modest assistant Director of Football Operations, Leslie Higgins (Jeremy Swift).

Former marketing manager Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) has decamped to start her own public relations firm. Former team 'kit man' and assistant coach Nate (Nick Mohammed), who quit the team, is now manager of a rival Premier League team, owned by Rebecca's boorish ex-husband, Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head).

It's a lot of disparate moving parts, and they don't all mesh together smoothly. The first episode feels very much like a pilot episode, meant to show where the lead players are now, along with their respective changed circumstances, but also to introduce all the new characters, including several more supporting players. While watching, I often found myself wondering: 'who's that, and why are they there?'

In my opinion, the show's clumsiest development in the second season was the elevation of Nate. His promotion from a likable 'kit man' to a likable assistant coach made sense, since he had good, fresh ideas for the team.

Quite quickly, though, he became a brilliant tactician who manifested arrogant pride in the strides he had made, becoming less likable in the process, and too much like too many professionals that I've observed in the press. That makes him a believable character, I suppose, but what I've always loved about the show is that it chose a far more positive depiction of professional athletes and the staff that manages and promotes them, taking the piss out of their arrogance, not celebrating it.

It's far too early to draw any conclusions about the season, of course, and I'm hopeful that the overall arc will restore my faith in a group of colorful, fictional characters, and their desire to do the right thing. But you can't always get what you want.

Now Streaming covers international and indie genre films and TV shows that are available on legal streaming services.

Ted Lasso

  • Brendan Hunt
  • Joe Kelly
  • Jason Sudeikis
  • Jason Sudeikis
  • Brett Goldstein
  • Brendan Hunt
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Apple TV+Jason SudeikisUSBrendan HuntJoe KellyBrett GoldsteinComedyDramaSport

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