It's fair to say that not much was expected of Ted Lasso to begin with. The word was that Apple TV+ had green lit the show for a 10 episode first season based on short skits that Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis had starred in as promotional material for NBC Sports back in 2013/2014. Hardly the world's most glorious pedigree: it's only a short hop away from using a theme park ride as your IP.
The thing is, Ted Lasso actually began life as an improv character created by Sudeikis when working as part of improv troupe Boom Chicago in Amsterdam in 2000 alongside future Ted Lasso co-creators and co-writers Joe Kelly and Brendan Hunt. Hunt would school Sudeikis on English football while playing FIFA with him in the green room, forming the premise of the clueless American trying and failing to understand the beautiful game, which they would then expand upon in performance.
When NBC came calling in 2013 and 2014, Sudeikis co-opted Kelly and Hunt to work with him on the same character - and when Sudeikis' partner at the time (actor/director Olivia Wilde) suggested that there could be more to it than just a commercial and a quick buck, the three reconvened in 2015 to bash out a version of the Ted Lasso pilot, along with an outline for most of the first season.
That material then lay dormant for a couple of years until Sudeikis and famed writer/producer Bill Lawrence began looking for something to work on together. When you look at that back story, it seems that maybe Ted Lasso has a gold-plated pedigree after all.
If, like everyone else, you can't wait for Ted Lasso season 2, here's everything there is to know about the second season so far. But first, let's give the nod to season one, and the impact it's had across the board.
The acclaim, awards and accolades that Ted Lasso has received in a very short space of time are an extraordinary testament to the quality of the show. However, Ted Lasso isn't just a hit with the critics. The 10 episode first season premiered on Apple TV+ on August 14, 2020, arriving on our screens at a moment when, frankly, audiences desperately needed a feel-good story about hope, belief and kindness. That's Ted Lasso - the show and the character - in spades, and the viewing figures and audience engagement that those sentiments have inspired are just as extraordinary.
According to an October 28th report from The Hollywood Reporter, Ted Lasso was responsible for bringing an additional 25% of viewers to Apple TV+, growing its audience by an estimated 600% over season 1 and setting new worldwide records for audience engagement. Ted Lasso stands as the streaming platform's top comedy show in fifty countries worldwide, including America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Germany, France and Japan.
All of that meant that a renewal was pretty much a sure thing - but incredibly, Ted Lasso was renewed for season 2 only five days after the premiere of the first season. Not only that, but at the end of October, in the wake of the surge of excellent reviews and good feeling surrounding the show's finale weeks earlier, Apple TV+ announced that the show had been renewed for a third season before the second had even begun shooting.
Why a third season? Well, probably because three seasons is all we're getting. Interviews with cast and crew have made it plain that Ted Lasso was always spoken of as a three-season show during development and production, and co-creator Bill Lawrence let slip the reason for that on an appearance on Zach Braff and Donald Faison's Fake Doctors, Real Friends podcast last December:
"Ted Lasso is a three-season show... the only way I think a fourth season of Ted Lasso exists would be if Ted Lasso went and coached a soccer team that played about a block from Jason's house in real life, you know what I mean? He's got young kids."
Now, in a case of real life accidentally aping fiction, Sudeikis traveled to the UK to film Ted Lasso - a show about a man who travels to work in the UK to give his wife space when his marriage begins to fall apart - shortly after his own long term relationship with Wilde began to collapse. That would make it even more important for him to be around for his kids as he and their mother now lead separate lives, making it less likely that Ted Lasso will extend beyond the expected three seasons.
One of the benefits of a worldwide pandemic practically bringing your industry to a standstill is that when your production team is suddenly faced with a huge hit right out of the gate, it's easy enough to bring back all of the same people to begin work on writing season two. What else are they going to be doing? That meant that when Sudeikis, Lawrence, et al. got the good word that Ted Lasso was renewed for a second season, they were already hard at work writing that second season, acting on faith that Apple TV+ would want more of the same.
Has Ted Lasso season 2 started filming?
Filming started in the UK in January 2021, with the cast beginning to be spotted in various locations in London and Richmond over the following weeks and months, and the second season of Ted Lasso is set to premiere on Apple TV+ on 23 July 2021.
How many episodes will Ted Lasso season 2 have?
This new season will have twelve episodes, two more than season one, and if Apple TV+ follow their usual protocol, it's expected that the first three episodes will be released upon the premiere followed by the remaining nine on a weekly basis. That schedule looks like it's going to plan, given that Apple released the first trailer for season two during its Spring Loaded event last month.
What is the plot of Ted Lasso season 2?
In recent interviews, cast and crew are being typically taciturn over plot details and character development planned for season two. So what can we expect, and what should we be looking forward to? The biggest story arc of the season will undoubtedly be AFC Richmond's relegation from the Premier League at the end of season one. It's even laid out in plain English by Ted himself in the last minutes of the finale:
"So then, next year we get ourselves a promotion, which looks good on any résumé. Then we come back to this league and we do something that no one believes we could ever do. Win the whole f**king thing."
Let's lay money on it now: that's the Rocky-style outline for seasons two and three right there.
In season two, AFC Richmond will be competing in the Championship, the name given to the next lowest league of association football in the UK. This is the way it works: at the end of every season, the three lowest ranking teams in the Premier League are relegated to the Championship, while the top two teams in the Championship are promoted to the Premier League (and a third team is promoted via a series of play-off matches).
Last season, AFC Richmond were on the disappointing - read, devastating - end of that arrangement, meaning that to reverse their fortunes in season two they'll need to end the year at the top of their current division. You can bet that this will be the narrative focal point of the new season.
Will the entire cast return for Ted Lasso season 2?
We already know that all of the main cast that appeared in season one are earmarked to return for season two alongside plenty of the recurring cast, meaning that there should be no aborted plot threads left over from the finale of season one. In terms of the character relationships set up by the first season, we can expect a certain amount of conflict caused by the club's newly precarious position. But teamwork makes the dream work, and season one spent some time bringing all of the characters together to form a tightly-knit unit, so it's likely the biggest source of drama will come from outside of AFC Richmond.
Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso
Out of everyone, our eponymous hero is the least likely to change or be changed by the events of season two. After all, his relentless kindness and optimism is this show's unique selling point. Season two's trailer seems to indicate some friction with new character Sharon, a sports psychologist played by Sarah Niles brought in to evaluate and improve the team's performance. There's also likely to be continued heartache in the form of his evolving relationship with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Michelle, and the distance between him and his son. However, it's unlikely that either will permanently dampen Ted's sincerity and warmth. Why mess with a good thing?
Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca Welton
The trailer for season two seems to indicate romance on the horizon for everyone's favourite karaoke-singing boss. There's plenty of fan interest in seeing something develop between Rebecca and Ted, of course - but the chemistry between the characters seems to stop at the platonic level. There's a lot more chance of further conflict with Rebecca's ex-husband Rupert, however. With his beloved club relegated, you can be sure the scheming snake will have a plan to regain control of AFC Richmond.
Rebecca is also likely to have to deal with the plunge in club income caused by their relegation, while the huge Premier League salaries her team receive will need to remain in place to persuade them to remain with AFC Richmond long enough for them to achieve promotion again. That situation isn't going to be tenable for very long...
Brett Goldstein as Roy Kent; Juno Temple as Keely Jones
Roy's career, already on the skids due to his 'advanced age', is almost certain to be over after that knee injury in the season one finale, and the obvious character arc for him now will be seeing what life has to offer after football.
However, it seems pretty clear that Roy and Keely are being positioned as an ongoing relationship leading into season two and probably season three, with both of them finding significant benefit in being in an emotionally rewarding relationship for a change.
Nick Mohammed as Nate Shelley
One of the many feel good storylines of season one saw stammering kit man Nate grow in confidence and influence within the team under Ted's leadership, until the season finale saw him promoted to assistant coach. The smart money is on this character arc continuing throughout season two and three, until Nate is nominated to replace Ted himself at the conclusion of season three, currently expected to be the series finale.
Phil Dunster as Jamie Tartt
You'd have been forgiven for thinking that Jamie's story might be over with the end of season one. After all, having returned to his home club of Manchester City under a bit of a cloud, it was his last minute goal that saw his former teammates relegated out of the Premier League, and with neither team able to play the other again next season, it would take some unlikely maneuvering to see Jamie back on the AFC Richmond bench again.
However, since we know that Phil Dunster is back in season two, the question is not whether Jamie Tartt makes a return, but how and why? Given how Ted reaches out to him at the end of last season, it seems likely that ego-monster Jamie will be given a chance to redeem himself.
As for the rest, Jeremy Swift has indicated that Higgins will get to interact with other characters on the show next season. That's a time-honored way of giving your supporting cast new things to do without necessarily giving them subplots and storylines of their own. After all, this is a half-hour single-camera sitcom, and screen time is at a premium - so expect to see Coach Beard and lesser team members like Isaac, Sam and Dani with fresher, funnier interactions. There may be an unforeseen wrench in the works, however - and it's nothing to do with any plot twists or narrative skulduggery.
Where can I watch Ted Lasso season 2?
Apple TV+ has been widely available on a long-term free trial basis to Apple customers purchasing products from the company's hardware portfolio over 2019 and 2020. According to Variety, market research in January 2021 indicated that a huge 62% of current Apple TV+ subscribers said they were using a promotion, meaning that most of the people tuning in to stream Ted Lasso's first season were doing so on a free subscription to a free app.
Clearly the idea was that, as with any free trial, those taking it up would find themselves unable to live without the service and would pay the $4.99 a month to subscribe thereafter. Now, according to the same research 30% of subscribers on Apple's free trial intended to pay to continue once it expired. However, 29% flat out said they didn't plan to resubscribe, and the remaining 41% said they weren't sure - and that 70% of free subscribers will find their trial period expiring shortly before Ted Lasso's season two premiere on July 23rd.
Apple TV+ is a new service, and still lags far behind other streaming giants when it comes to original content. Breakout hits like Ted Lasso, The Morning Show and Mythic Quest might well help drive subscribers to pay for the product. There's also a possibility that Apple intends to use its TV service to drive people towards its hardware offerings rather than the other way around, just as Amazon bundled its streaming TV service with its premium shipping service to create Prime.
Still, for shows reliant on the Apple TV+ platform to attract viewers, it's got to be a concern. Will all eyes still be on Ted Lasso when season two premieres this summer? Only time will tell.