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Ted Lasso Season 3 Review: Apple TV+'s Hit Comedy Has Lost Some of Its Magic

The Emmy winner is still warm and fuzzy, but it hasn't learned any new tricks

Kyle Fowle
Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, and Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, and Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Apple TV+

Early on in the Season 3 premiere of Ted Lasso, the titular coach wonders aloud if there's really much purpose to still being in London coaching a soccer, ahem, football team. At the end of last season, AFC Richmond won their way back into the Premier League, a story of triumph in the face of adversity. Now, at the beginning of the new season, Richmond is expected to finish last in the Premier League and once again be relegated. As Ted (Jason Sudeikis) faces this potentially grim, cyclical future, he also watches as his son, Henry (Gus Turner), boards a plane back to Kansas after spending six weeks with him during the summer. The man has left his family behind in order to coach a team that will likely never win a trophy. So, Ted wonders: What's the point?

It's an appropriate, slightly meta question, considering that there have been many hints that this could be the final season of the Emmy Award-winning comedy (though nothing is official and surely Apple TV+ isn't in a rush to ax such a popular show). Ted Lasso, and its popularity, is impossible to separate from the context of when it premiered. The first season hit Apple TV+ in August 2020, during a truly brutal stretch of the COVID-19 pandemic. Any hope left over from March that lockdowns would end and everyone could safely return to a normal life was dashed at that point, and everyone was on edge. There was no end in sight. 

And then there was the first season of Ted Lasso, a beacon of optimism and joy, and a story about how community — and being good to one another — is all that matters in the face of adversity. The first season was funny and sweet, but more than anything it delivered a much-needed message of hope, as Ted Lasso, an American football coach in over his head at AFC Richmond, begged everyone around him to fight against cynicism and embrace goodness.


Ted Lasso


  • Some nice additions to the cast of regulars
  • Feel-good storytelling is still intact


  • Storylines feel familiar and repetitive
  • More narrative threads means more episodic bloat

I'm not going to say that Ted Lasso didn't deserve its critical accolades, because that first season is tight, sharp, and funny. But as both the second and now third season have shown, perhaps the show doesn't quite have the creative juice to stand out as one of the best shows out there. If the first four episodes of Season 3 are any indication, Ted Lasso is certainly comfortable with the kind of show it is, but that also means a fair amount of complacency has crept in.

Season 3's biggest problem is the expansion of storylines. Where the first season was wonderfully precise in its storytelling and rapid-fire with its jokes, the third season is often bloated and meandering. Long gone are the tight 30-minute episodes, as Season 3 continues last season's trend of lengthy runtimes, with many installments this season sitting around the 50-minute mark. 

Juno Temple and Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso

Juno Temple and Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso

Apple TV+

The bloated runtimes are a result of the way the ensemble has expanded since the first season. At the beginning of Season 3, the core group is no longer a core group; instead, everyone needs their own storyline. There's Keeley (Juno Temple) running her own PR firm and dealing with the anxiety of her own success, Nate (Nick Mohammed) settling into his role at West Ham and bolstering his new reputation as a ruthless leader, Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) warring with her ex-husband, and the players dealing with the pressure of the new season. Even when the new storylines are welcome — it's a nice surprise to see both Anthony Head, as Rebecca's ex Rupert, and James Lance, as Trent Crimm, getting more screen time — they can't help but feel like overkill, especially as Ted's own complex character arc, which was so deftly explored and deconstructed in Season 2, mostly takes a back seat for the first part of the season.

Look, Ted Lasso still has some of its magic. The music will swell and your eyes might get misty. It will still make you feel all fuzzy and warm inside. But, to quote Ted, what's the point? Is it enough for a show to simply comfort us, to act as the cultural equivalent of a weighted blanket that helps us sleep better at night? Maybe; I guess it depends what you're looking for in your art. If you're looking for a show that's confident in its rhythm, with familiar characters who won't steer too far off the well-worn path, then you'll surely find a lot to love in this third season of Ted Lasso. If you're looking for the show to adapt and shift gears, you'll be sorely disappointed. 

Premieres: Wednesday, March 15 on Apple TV+
Who's in it: Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Juno Temple
Who's behind it: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt, and Joe Kelly (Creators)
For fans of: The Good Place, Schitt's Creek, Superstore
How many episodes we watched: 4 of 12