‘Ted Lasso’ season 3 rave reviews: Emmy-winning comedy kicks off what could be its last hurrah

With 11 Emmy victories spread over its first two seasons, including two for Best Comedy Series, “Ted Lasso” has quite a reputation to live up to heading into year three. Whether or not the Apple TV Plus show’s newest dozen episodes – which will stream on a weekly basis from March 15 to May 31 – will be followed by any more remains a mystery. In their generally positive reviews of the first third of the new season, critics agree that the series is well-positioned to wrap up, with most asserting that it should do so lest it overstay its welcome.

The second season finale of “Ted Lasso,” which streamed in October 2021, ended with the AFC Richmond team having barely secured a Premier League promotion in spite of the titular head coach’s newsworthy personal and professional struggles. Season three begins by allowing viewers to witness how the show’s many characters are adjusting to life changes that were enacted at the close of year two and how Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) is handling having lost his sense of direction now that his marriage is officially over.

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With 40 reviews counted, this new season boasts an impressive Rotten Tomatoes score of 93%. Judging by what critics are actually saying, this high consensus rating appears to hinge on the assumption that the show will justify its new penchant for supersized episodes and stick its landing (if that is in fact what it’s aiming to do). Dan Rubins (Slant Magazine) sums up the shared critical sentiment by saying, “If this is indeed the end of the series, it seems bound to go out much as it began, with an indestructible game plan that’s guaranteed to score with its signature mix of warmth and whimsy.”

Rubins further notes that this season serves as a return to the show’s “original formula of silly plus tender, multiplied by wickedly smart,” slightly lamenting that “these episodes feel somewhat earthbound” compared to the original set of 10. Nick Clark (London Evening Standard) acknowledges that the show does feel repetitive at times, but offers plenty of praise, saying, “The football scenes themselves… have gone up a level.”

John Nugent (Empire) writes that the series’ “quirky sense of humor remains as strong as ever, bolstered by now richly defined characters.” Others have been more critical about the season’s structure, with Alan Sepinwall (Rolling Stone) saying that the show “has had to expand itself to accommodate” its growing ensemble, resulting in it surpassing “ideal comedy length.” He does note that, although it’s “a much less tight series” than it used to be, “more of it still works than doesn’t.”

Daniel Feinberg (The Hollywood Reporter) calls the season “both too much and not enough,” emphasizing that the show’s “tone [and] structural rhythms” have not adjusted to meet the expanded length of its installments and that there is “little regard for flow or repetition.” He goes on to say that it has “spread [itself] too thick [and] become a show in which every character feels worthy of being the star of their own [and are] only being half-serviced.” Again, critics will surely further expound their positions on the season once it reaches its conclusion, but for now, most seem to echo Nugent’s thought that these first episodes are “an optimistic, funny, intriguing start to what could be [the] final season” while reiterating that the series probably should pack it in soon.

Aside from its pair of top comedy prizes, “Ted Lasso” has collected one directing and five acting Emmys, including two for Sudeikis, two for featured player Brett Goldstein, and one for supporting actress Hannah Waddingham. While the pressure for the hit show to at least maintain its Emmy nomination average of 20 is daunting, its team is, as always, clearly in it to win it this year.

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