(4 1/2 of 5 stars)
While the trailer for Ted Lasso makes it look like a lame coach comedy à la The Mighty Ducks or Kicking and Screaming, this new Apple TV+ series is so much more.
That’s mainly because it has Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis at its center as the title character. He’s an American college football coach hired by Rebecca (the amazing Hannah Waddingham), a scheming English soccer-team owner, to coach a game he knows nothing about. Her plan is to sabotage the team, beloved by her ex-husband, by putting it into the hands of a doofus. Ted proves to be anything but.
There’s a never-ending joy to Sudeikis and his Ted, and it’s never one-note. Ted, in England and out of his element, is going through marital problems back home and is terrified of many things under the surface. His performance is multi-dimensional, as is Waddingham’s—as is most any actor’s performance on this show.
Brett Goldstein is the grumpy player with a heart; Phil Dunster plays the team prima donna; Juno Temple comes out of nowhere as the prima donna’s not-to-be-messed-with girlfriend. Each character is written with the kind of nuance that brings surprise after surprise; there’s nothing hackneyed here.
I’ve seen the entire first season (as of this writing, six of 10 episodes have been released), and it’s an across-the-boards winner, the sort of vehicle the underrated Sudeikis rightly deserves. Good news: Apple TV+ has already renewed the show for a second season, so this won’t be the last we see of Ted.
Ted Lasso is currently streaming on Apple TV+.