Welcome to Sport on the Silver Screen. In this series, I will be looking back over sports movies and series that I have recently watched/re-watched and giving my thoughts on them. Getting into the Schmoedown and starting to follow a number of the personalities from the show has given me a much greater appreciation of movies and seen me starting to watch more, while a resolution for 2022 has also seen me making a resolution to watch more series.
Being a fan of both movies and sports, I have taken the chance to start highlighting the sheer volume of sports movies out there, while also now throwing in the occasional series. In each article I will be giving some details about the movie/series and then a quick review, including a section giving a sports fan’s perspective of the action’s realism.
This series has been heavily influenced by Ben Bateman and Andrew Ghai of Action Industries, but I will not be looking at the traditional “Fist-pump moment” and “Favourite line” sections due to just how much more content a series provides compared to a movie, instead talking about the prospects for the future of the show. Be aware, there will be spoilers, but I will try to keep them to a minimum.
After beng interested ever since hearing good reviews upon it’s initial release, and with a new series releasing very soon, I finally opened the wallet to pay for yet another streaming service, and after bingeing through season 1, I’m now here with a review of season 2 of Ted Lasso.
Released in 2021
Distribution (UK) Apple TV+
Starring Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Phil Dunster, Nick Mohammed, Juno Temple
Synopsis After last year’s relegation, it’s up to Ted Lasso to find a way to get AFC Richmond promoted back to the Premier League while also managing his own personal demons following his divorce. Meanwhile, Roy Kent adjusts to life after retiring from football, Jamie Tartt must pick up the pieces after a poor career decision. Can Richmond end a season full of personal trials with a return to the top flight?
So I absolutely loved season 1, and I think that season 2 was even better. With the vast majority of characters now established, and with 2 extra episodes, the show can now focus even more on the situations to put the characters in, and on how the players are going to grow. And we see that with most of the main characters. We see Roy trying to find his place following his retirement and Keeley’s growth as a businesswoman, while also navigating their relationship and Roy’s close relationship with his niece. Rebecca is moving on with her life (with some interesting consequences), while a series of bad career decisions sees Jamie reach a low that helps put him on the path to becoming a much better person. Meanwhile, Sam Obisanya becomes integral to so much of this season as we see his own personal development, but also his impact on others. The big character growth here is from Nate, who finds his higher position going to his head. I understand that a lot of people didn’t like the way that his character went this season, but I personally appreciated the reminder that power can change people, while we did also see factors that would push him down this route, such as a father who was not satisfied with what he had done. The most notable of season 2’s new characters is Sarah Niles as Dr. Sharon Fieldstone, a sports psychologist hired after a hilarious opening to the season, and while I never really vibed with the character, she provided a straight-talking foil to Ted’s bubbly personality, and eventually this helps us get to know more about Ted’s life.
While the comedy was as great as ever, I would argue that the emotional moments his me even more this season. And they come in so many different ways that at least a couple are bound to affect you. We have the loss of loved ones, panic attacks, Nate’s fall to the dark side, abusive family members and also just some moments of good old fashioned romance of the sport. But there was never anything that ever felt too contrived; I could easily imagine many of these storylines playing out at professional clubs at some point or other.
As for the sporting side of things, it all feels like a good level for the show, but the quality of the football that we actually see is understandably limited by many of the key Richmond players being actors rather than professional footballers, and sadly this is most obvious in the goalkeeping, which honestly wouldn’t even cut it in the National League (the highest semi-pro level in the English football pyramid). But much like last season, the show continues to throw in enough terms for us football fans while giving them a decent enough level of explanation that someone new to the sport can keep up.
A few final thoughts on the series:
- [Spoilers for the end of season 2 episode 8] The end of the Man City episode may be the moment that sticks with me the most from this season. Having just suffered a demoralising loss, Jamie’s drunk father comes in and bullies him in front of the team, until Jamie snaps and (understandably) lashes out. And while Beard throws the dad out, of all people it is Roy Kent who makes the move to go over to embrace Jamie and give him a shoulder to cry on in the moment, despite their mutual dislike. I’m not sure if it’s having been in a similar position to Jamie in the past with (in my case an abusive stepfather) meant it affected me more, but seeing Roy put aside his own history with Jamie in that moment to give Jamie the support he needed was beautiful
- I’d love to know the thoughts behind episode 9 following Coach Beard for one crazy night. I initially thought that it meant we would find out more about him, but we didn’t really, and it was an episode that could have easily been removed without impacting the season. Was he number of episodes increased late in production? Or were they worried that an episode may need to be cut? While I don’t hate the episode, I’d have much rather spent some time getting to know the team a little better.
As I’m so late to the show, season 3 has already began airing, but at time of writing, I am yet to watch. Obviously we have now set Nate up as the main antagonist for nxt season, something we’ve not really had in the show until this point (other than Rupert’s shadow over everything and the occasional timely appearance).
Season 2 left us in an interesting position with some characters’ relationships, so it will be interesting to see how they continue this season, especially considering that the word on the street is that the show will only be running for 3 seasons. And from the sporting point, what does this mean for Richmond? Are we going to see a fairytale title for Richmond in the season after their promotion purely so that the show can finish on a high? Or will they miss out, with the morale of the story instead being about the positive impact Ted has had on everyone in these 3 seasons?
Personally, while I will be gutted if the show ends after 3 seasons, I will always prefer a show that gives itself a set number of series and looks to stick to it, rather than just going on until its eventual cancellation. Having the plan and sticking to it helps to keep the story on track and means that we don’t get any sudden character changes as writers start running out of ideas 6 seasons in.
What did you think of this series? Let me know in the comments. Until next time!
This year, I’m doing Movember a little different with my Movember Marathon.
You can find all the details on my announcement.
Visit my JustGiving page for updates or if you would like to donate.
Help me to change the face of men’s health!