I’ve not been enthralled with TV the last few years and have grown increasingly fussy and impatient with what I’m wasting my time on. My hearing loss probably has something to do with it. I’ve used cordless headphones (to control my own volume so Hubs doesn’t get blown out of his Lazy Boy) for 12-15 years and I still miss some dialogue. Usually because there’s too much background noise/music or actors are whispering their lines.
A great example is a series called Star Trek Discovery, the latest in that never-ending franchise. True to the nature of warping through space, encountering all kinds of alien mischief makers, the title role is played by Sonequa Martin-Green, an Exquisite Young Woman, (who’s an expert on everything). I made it halfway through season 2, mostly because I love Anson Mount, (the Discovery captain in season 2 and former star of a fabulous series called ‘Hell on Wheels’). No matter how dire the circumstances, whether she’s (EYW) fighting for her own life or saving someone else’s, she whispers her lines. And breathy whispers to boot. I find it more annoying than enjoyable. Plus not being able to understand her, I just had to stop watching or risk an ulcer over something I don’t give 2 hoots about (never been a Trekker, much to Hubs’ disappointment).
While I usually feel some loyalty to a series I’m invested in, that’s not always the case. There’s been a handful of series when I felt ‘all in’ for the duration, yet when a certain character was written out/died/killed, I was done watching-period. The second Negan swung his barbed wire bat, (named Lucille after his dead wife), pulverizing Glenn on ‘Walking Dead,’ I walked out of the family room and haven’t watched one minute since. Same thing on “The Good Doctor,” when Dr. Neil Melendez died, I was out. (although I still miss Dr. Alex Park).
About 18 months ago I bought a new iPad Pro (which I love). Included with my purchase was a year’s worth of Apple TV which had recently launched. Hubs was immediately impressed with ‘For all Mankind,’ a twisty version of our ‘space race’ with the Soviet Union, which has the Russians beating us to the moon. Major bummer. It starts around 1970, so the clothes, cars, smoking, hairdos and macho stereotypes brings back a lot of memories. When the pandemic hit, Apple graciously allotted me another 6 months of free Apple TV since we were in lockdown and watching more, so I actually just started paying for this channel.
Once in a while (not nearly often enough with all the remakes/reboots these days) a writer/creator comes up with something so unique and clever, it immediately wins over the masses after the series begins. Most of these ‘limited series’ attracts big stars because the number of episodes are much shorter than your typical network season of 20 or more. This can be frustrating to dedicated watchers as there’s only 8-12 episodes and the season is over in a couple months. Their content is usually more adult oriented and the language is pretty salty.
One such series causing a big buzz since last year is called Ted Lasso, which was developed by real life Ted, (Jason Sudeikis), Beard, (Brendan Hunt) and another guy (Joe Kelly). It reminds me a lot of one of my favorite movies called ‘Major League’ which came out about 30 years ago. Bitchy female owner is saddled with a team from an ex or dead spouse. She has no use for this cumbersome, money sucking bunch of losers and would just as soon see the franchise fail or move.
Ted Lasso hit all the buttons for me. He’s a successful college football coach who moves to England to coach soccer (which he knows absolutely nothing about). He’s sincere, folksy, charming and a people-pleaser. Of course the whole country hates him and chant “wanker, wanker,” during games, on the street or pub (still better than what’s being chanted in football stadiums this fall, but probably means about the same thing) which makes us root for Ted even more.
Ted has his hands full. The team’s owner Rebecca, (great actress, Hannah Waddingham) ‘got’ the team in her divorce settlement from her unfaithful, lowlife husband who adored the team. She’d love to see the team lose every game just to hurt her loathsome ex, which is the reason she hired Ted. To fail. The team has two excellent players who hate each other, Jamie, a cocky young snot, and Roy, an aging icon everyone loves. Fellow coach Beard also made the move from the US and appears to have some knowledge about the sport. He’s helpful and a good friend.
One of the neat side stories in this series is about a young man named Nate. He’s the equipment manager (he talks very soft and fast, even with my headphones I miss some of his dialogue and have to back it up or ask Hubs what he said). He’s bullied by team members. Ted takes him under his wing and chastises the players. Nate proves his worth because he knows the player’s strengths and weaknesses and game-of-soccer-inside-out. Soon Ted dubs him, ‘Nate the great.’ Ted wisely moves him up to be an assistant coach. Nate’s opinions and advice usually prove to be spot on, though they still lose a lot of matches. Or is it games?
Thus season 1 of Ted Lasso was a rousing success, winning numerous awards, while we impatiently waited season 2. Dang those sophomore years can be tough. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve been sorely disappointed in year two of Ted. There have been some touching moments, delivering Christmas gifts to the less fortunate (Rebecca stops by to pick up Ted, who’s spending Christmas alone after his recent divorce). Roy Kent, beloved, cantankerous, retired player, now assistant coach (who says “f#@%” in every other sentence), searching for a dentist on Christmas Eve for his young niece, Phoebe. But Ted’s suffering panic attacks, Coach Beard is trying to find himself, rambling around the city drunk and Nate’s been anything but great. Nate made a gutsy call after Ted ran off the field and has become a darling of the media, which he takes a bit too far. He’s rude to players, scrolls through his phone constantly reading accolades from his adoring fans and bullies the new equipment manager who took his place. Even after getting called on the carpet for his bad behavior, he continues to be a bully.
One shining star this season has been a soccer player from Nigeria named Sam. Everyone wants Sam to end up with ‘the girl’ and be happy forever. Since there’s a couple episodes left I remain hopeful that Ted, Nate, Beard, Rebecca, Roy, Keeley, Higgins, Phoebe (and heartthrob Sam) will return to their winning ways, which has nothing to do with who scores the most goals in their matches. Or is it games?…