Two seasons down and Ted Lasso has proven itself a sports series with staying power. The program, which is Certified Fresh at 95%, hails from Jason Sudeikis, Bill Laurence, Brendan Hunt, and Joe Kelly, and caught on fairly quickly with audiences when it first premiered in 2020 at the height of the pandemic lockdown. Sidestepping TV’s recent gritty-antihero tendencies, the program built its reputation on exploring feel-good themes of community and teamwork, while chipping away at the mental health stigma in sports. Each episode avoided common genre tropes, embraced joy over conflict, and became the must-watch show of the year.
The program follows the American coach on his trip across the pond to lead AFC Richmond, a soccer team struggling to maintain status and relevancy in the English Premier League. Lasso is obviously a fish-out-of-water here, but with the support of Coach Beard (Hunt), team owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), player-turned-coach Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), publicity guru Keeley Jones (Juno Temple), and communications director Leslie Higgins (Jeremy Swift), the mustachioed leader and AFC Richmond grew as a team and they all persevered in ways they never thought possible. Well, all except for troubled assistant coach Nate Shelley (Nick Mohammed), whose finale twist will lead to new challenges for Ted and team in season 3.
Out of the 20 Emmy nominations the show received for its freshman season, it came away with seven wins — including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor for Sudeikis, Outstanding Supporting Actress for Waddingham, and Outstanding Supporting Actor for Goldstein. Sudeikis took home the Golden Globe for his role and the series received a Peabody Award earlier in the year. Not too shabby.
As we wait for the show to return for its third and final season, let’s dig into some other programs of a similar ilk. From the inspiring to the heart-warming, to the down-right knee-slapping, here are 10 feel-good shows to watch if you love and miss Ted Lasso.
Brockmire follows the journey to redemption for Jim Brockmire (Hank Azaria), the disgraced Major League Baseball announcer who, after suffering a massive emotional breakdown on-air due to his wife’s infidelity, is demoted to the minor leagues. With his life in shambles, Brockmire is left to pick up the pieces and attempt to reclaim the personal and professional successes he once took for granted. It’s worth pointing out that Brockmire isn’t the happy-go-lucky type like, say, Ted Lasso; in fact, he’s quite the opposite. But underneath all of the descriptive insults and salty demeanor resides a program about being knocked down and continuing to get back up.
Where to watch: IFC, Hulu Plus, 4 seasons
Ted Lasso is chock full of positive messages and inspirational monologues. It doesn’t really take much work to see the inspirations for the series shine through, and one of the biggest is acclaimed football drama, Friday Night Lights. The program follows Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) as he relocates his family to Dillon, Texas, a small town where football is life one hundred percent of the time, to lead its famed high school team to championship greatness. But after a big game takes an unfortunate turn, Coach Taylor and his team are faced with even bigger challenges to bring home the coveted title. There are many aesthetic similarities between both shows, and the themes of community, identity, and teamwork shine through even in its bleaker moments.
Where to watch: Netflix, Peacock, 5 seasons
One could easily call Ted Lasso a workplace comedy. It brings together a fun, diverse collection of personalities who all have the same goal in mind: to play football and, hopefully, to win. When compiling this list together, there were a bunch of Grade-A workplace comedies to consider. Sticking with the sports theme (e-sports, to be exact), we’d like to direct your attention to Mythic Quest. The program follows the team at Mythic Quest Studios, as they work to keep their popular video game title in tip-top shape, while consistently struggling to maintain relevancy in a fickle, and constantly evolving, industry. Egomaniacal creative director Ian (Rob McElhenney) and his anxiety-ridden partner Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) lead the quirky group in a cavalcade of episodes that parodies the gaming world with ease while building a kooky family along the way.
Where to watch: Apple TV+, 2 seasons
What happens when you die? According to this hit NBC series, you either find yourself in “The Good Place” — a heavenly paradise, for all eternity — or, you know, the other place *cough* down there. The show stars Kristen Bell as the flawed, yet endearing Eleanor Shellstrop who discovers she’s in heaven by mistake. Her attempt to hide in plain sight is consistently put to the test once she’s assigned a soulmate. Chidi (William Jackson Harper), a former professor of ethics and philosophy, is that partner. Throughout the series, he, along with new friends Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto), help to keep Eleanor on the straight and narrow. But when it’s revealed that The Good Place may not be all that “good,” Michael (Ted Danson), its architect, throws one challenge after another at the group, only to find himself questioning his own reason of being. For a series that mixes silly visuals with existential themes, The Good Place reveals itself as a celebration of humanity, community, and the enduring notion of progress.
Where to watch: Netflix, 4 seasons
For a show about a team of police officers, Brooklyn Nine-Nine regularly puts the detective stuff on the back-burner, instead, focusing on the cast of characters, their conflicts, and the comedic results. Each unique personality, from snarky hotshot Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and the anal-retentive Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) to the tough, no-nonsense, Roy Kent–ish Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), muscle-bound softie Terry (Terry Crews), innocent goofball Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), and by-the-books Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) make up a familial dynamic common in so many popular workplace comedies of today. If you were to put AFC Richmond uniforms on this crew of crime-fighting heroes, it’d be easy to imagine the crossover potential. After all, Ted Lasso may be a show about football, but like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the series often puts the sports stuff on the back-burner to focus on the character stories that make up this engaging world.
Where to watch: NBC, Hulu, Peacock, 8 seasons
Sam Richardson’s appearance in the latter half of Ted Lasso’s second season may have taken some viewers by surprise, but there’s a fun connective tissue between Apple’s hit series and Comedy Central’s underrated program, Detroiters. The show was executive produced by Sudeikis himself — who shows up in a recurring role in the series — and follows best friends Tim (Tim Robinson) and Sam (Richardson) who hustle tirelessly to make a name for themselves in the world of big advertising. The optimism runs deep in the duo, who, let’s be clear here, are really bad at their jobs. That dynamic allows the comedy to flow freely throughout each episode. However, it’s the strong bond between the friends that really allows the series to shine, showing a male friendship without all the cliche bravado.
Where to watch: Paramount+, 2 seasons
Over three decades have passed since Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) defeated Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and his Cobra Kai rivals at the All Valley Karate Tournament in 1984’s Karate Kid. The movie launched a successful film franchise, and, unexpectedly, led to one of the most celebrated sport-themed series in recent years. Cobra Kai continues the story of Daniel and Johnny and revives the long-gestating rivalry between the two men. Embedded with pop culture references and nods to the original movies, the program doesn’t just explore the lives of these fan-favorite characters but gives a fresh look at the concepts of family, classism, teamwork, discipline, and forgiveness, while exploring how decades-old trauma can impact the next generation. Oh, and the fight scenes are pretty great, too.
Where to watch: Netflix, 3 seasons
Unlike Ted Lasso, it took Schitt’s Creek some time before becoming the talk of the town. But audiences eventually caught on to the hilarious riches-to-rags tale of the Rose family. After losing their money to the Internal Revenue Service, the disgraced clan is forced to relocate to Schitt’s Creek, a town they bought as a joke. From palatial means to sharing space in a run-down motel, the group is forced to not just face the consequences of their actions, but they eventually rediscover their humanity, as well. Like Sudeikis and Hunt’s involvement both behind and in front of the camera on Ted Lasso, Schitt’s Creek was created by two of its stars — Eugene Levy and Dan Levy, his son.
Where to watch: POP, Netflix, 4 seasons
(Photo by Tommy Garcia/Fox)
Before the outsider journey of Ted Lasso warmed the hearts of audiences everywhere, there was Pitch. The short-lived Fox series also walked some similar ground, telling the disruptive and inspirational tale of Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury), the first woman to professionally play in Major League Baseball. Putting a Black female character on the pitcher’s mound provided fertile ground for challenging conflicts and awarding accomplishments to take place, and they do. She struggles to find where she fits in the major leagues and battles resentment and discrimination from her teammates to prove her worth on the mound. Bringing some tough love to the mix is Mark-Paul Gosselaar as baseball veteran Mike Lawson who begrudgingly takes the newcomer under his wing to help her traverse this high-profile new path.
Where to watch: Hulu, 1 season
Taking inspiration from the real-life Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling league of the ’80s and ’90s, Netflix’s GLOW piledrives the notion that wrestling — through all its choreography and panache — is absolutely a real sport. Beneath the campiness of the costumes, and fun hijinks the crew gets themselves involved in, the episodes regularly dive deeper into thought-provoking themes of family, gender politics, community, and friendship. Alison Brie (Community), Betty Gilpin (Nurse Jackie), and Marc Maron (Maron) lead a talented ensemble who execute body slams and pluck our collective heartstrings with equal ease.
Where to watch: Netflix, 3 seasons