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 season 2 heel has led to new challenges for Shelley, Ted, and the rest of the AFC Richmond crew 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.
Now that the series has reached its conclusion, 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.
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.
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+ (Subscription, seasons 1-3)
If you’re looking for the direct opposite of Ted Lasso‘s self-sacrificing titular soccer coach, may we suggest the self-serving stylings of ego-maniac Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) in HBO’s Eastbound & Down? Power’s story begins with an early retirement from major league baseball due to a cacophony of abusive behavior. Where Lasso is the eternal optimist, always believing that the goal is achievable, Powers goes about everything with a “me first” perspective as he pursues his ultimate goal of getting back into the spotlight. The series comes through with McBride’s signature sense of humor, which may be abrasive and brash to some. But there’s a root-worthy quality to his story and, while his ego drives the series, there’s an unexpected sense of heart featured throughout his journey that makes the show all the more satisfying to watch. It’s also worth mentioning Jason Sudeikis shows up in a recurring role in season 3.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is a sequel series to the beloved Disney hockey franchise that, when summed up, could easily be described as Ted Lasso Jr. Continuing with the inspirational and heart-warming vibe of the original movies, Game Changers takes the story to present day and follows Evan (Brady Noon), a 12-year-old underdog, who ends up being rejected from his high school hockey team. Not to be counted out, his mother Alex (played by Lauren Graham) pushes him to start a team of his own. Collecting a gang of like-minded underdogs, and with the help of original Ducks coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez), the group ventures out to find their own athletic greatness in a masculine realm that rarely embraces the outcast.
Where to watch: Disney+ (Subscription, seasons 1-2)
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.
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.
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.
Like Ted Lasso, Welcome to Wrexham mixes some loud American personalities with the sport of British soccer. A-list celebrities Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney partner up as co-owners of struggling Welsh football club, Wrexham A.F.C. in this FX docuseries. As you’d expect, the program highlights the cultural differences between the two countries. But, awkward comedy aside, the program delves into the bevy of challenges Reynolds and McElhenney face after purchasing the team. Can they learn the ropes and lead Wrexham A.F.C. toward success? You’ll need to watch to find out.
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 (Subscription, seasons 1-3)