TV Review: Ted Lasso, Series 3 Episode 1

Ted Lasso returns with a third series – will it be its last?

“Why are you breaking up?”

Just a quickie to cover the return of Ted Lasso to our screens (if you have AppleTV+ that is…). From the cosiness of perfectly-timed pandemic programming, the show has rocketed to huge award-winning success in the US, making unexpected but deserved stars of its leading cast (will we ever see Hannah Waddingham doing a musical in the UK again?!). With increased attention, can this third series maintain the balance of life lessons and football club shenanigans as AFC Richmond rejoin the Premier League.

Much of the pre-season publicity has hovered around creator and star Jason Sudeikis’ comments that this might well be the final series (or his final series?) and this opening episode leans heavily into that, with coach Lasso making noises about maybe coming to the end of his project here, feelings exacerbated by the departure of his young son back to the States and the hints that his ex-wife is moving on. How much further can his wholesome charm survive his mental health challenges and the innate British cynicism around him?

Elsewhere, there’s a lot of setting up of stories that haven’t quite clicked into gear yet. Guttingly, Keeley and Roy have split up – her new PR firm and his new coaching gig taking up too much time, or so they say. Nate has taken over as head coach at West Ham, where Rebecca’s ex Rupert is now the owner. Trent Crimm is writing a book about the club. There’s a hugely talented ensemble at work on the show but giving them all something useful and engaging to do looks like it could be an issue here, already the brilliant Sarah Niles as Dr Sharon feels sidelined.

That said, it’s hard not to delight in the return of this delightful show, its warm heart a refreshing change to so much of the drama we see. There’s something to be said for quitting while you’re ahead so maybe it won’t be a bad thing if this is the final season – we’ll find out soon enough.

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