If you haven't heard, I'm sorry to tell you: Ted Lasso season 3 is expected to be the final season of the show. Showrunner Bill Lawrence has long said that the series was planned for a three-season format, much like a film or play has a three-act structure.
Specifically, Lawrence told The Hollywood Reporter that "when we started, we plotted out everybody’s beginning, middle and end of a three-season arc." That made a lot of sense when AFC Richmond's first season with Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) coaching ended in sadness, and its second season found the team escaping relegation.
Lawrence continued, stating "This story is going to be over next year, regardless, even if the show finds another story to tell and goes on." And that last tidbit, about finding "another story" is obviously a nod to potential spinoffs.
Channing Dungey, Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Television Group (Ted Lasso's production company and distributor) told Deadline that Ted Lasso season 3 "ends beautifully ... If that is all we do in the Ted Lasso universe, I think the fans will be really happy and excited. But there’s also a way to crack open a door. If we’re fortunate enough to do more, we can keep on going."
As much as I want to watch Ted Lasso season 3, I'm still saying "please, no, shut the door," about spinoffs. Here's why.
When will Apple announce Ted Lasso season 3 is the end?
As Tom's Guide contributor Charlotte Henry wrote in her newsletter The Addition, there is "always a desire to keep hold of good things," and it's unsurprising that the powers that be would want Ted Lasso to continue. And as she also pointed out, the official @TedLasso tweet (see below) about the premiere date refer to season 3 as the "new" and not "final" season.
New season kicks off March 15! And unlike that guy who ordered Fireball at dinner and kept saying “crypto is the future,” this is one date you’ll want to remember. https://t.co/Wm4DJqeZI8February 14, 2023
That choice of adjective doesn't declare that Apple's definitely going to deliver more from the Ted Lasso Universe after season 3, but it definitely doesn't embrace the aforementioned statements. Nowhere is Apple saying "this is the end," as many networks and showrunners do prior to their finale (Succession season 4 is already confirmed to be its end, and it launches after Ted Lasso season 3 does).
Ted Lasso season 3 looks like a storybook ending
Then, the Ted Lasso season 3 trailer (see below) dropped, and it felt notable for three things. There's barely any dialogue, there's a sense of dread leading to hope (a natural third act) and no mention that this is the end.
Ted goes from glum to chipper — with a lot of anxiety on the field in the middle. Turncoat Nate (Nick Mohammed) is already regretting his decision to sell out Ted for a position of power at West Ham. The love triangle with Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) and Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) seems to still have more tears left to shed. And speaking of tears: Richmond looks to be getting its butts kicked now that it's out of relegation and in the Premier League.
But tiny moments of joy, such as Coach Lasso hanging out with his son at a game, and waving, and that epic group chant of "I love you guys so very much," show that the Richmond crew will likely be able to come out the better for whatever happens. And we'd bet they're gonna triumph in the end, in one way or another.
So, everyone, let Ted Lasso season 3 be the ending
Going back to WB TV's Channing Dungey, she also said "What had initially been the vision that Jason and Bill [Lawrence] had, when they went into Season 1, was very much a three-act structure. Then I think it becomes one of those things that as you get going with it, and if you fall in love with that world and those characters, it’s hard to say goodbye."
And, listen, I get it. Apple probably doesn't want to let one of its most popular shows‚ which it refers to as a "juggernaut comedy" and "global phenomenon," leave. Doing so will probably make people more ready to churn out of Apple TV Plus until another show comes around. But letting Ted Lasso's world close right will also do good for Apple.
Letting a series end properly will only help your image with audiences, as the rare Netflix shows that keep going past the point where they need to be — hi, You — go on. Audiences will trust that Apple knows how to properly handle shows, and feel more ready to commit to new shows (we've always said Netflix's eager swings of the canceling axe make us less ready to dive in).
Outlook: Apple TV Plus is actually ready to say goodbye to Ted Lasso
This is part of why I'm more eager to try a new Apple TV Plus show than I am shows on Netflix. And Apple's been on a hot streak as of late, with the likes of Shrinking, Slow Horses and Bad Sisters, among others.
Yes, Apple can probably find a way to talk one of the Ted Lasso cast members into sticking around to tell a new story. The most likely pick, we think is whatever Roy Kent's up to — but when Lawrence has already told us that these characters were made with their stories already planned out, whatever comes next will feel like an afterthought by default.
A Ted Lasso spinoff would have to escape the chasm where Friends spinoff Joey is found, and will have a hard time becoming a Better Call Saul. The latter is of course possible, but why not take this potential new story and put it into a new character, for a new addition to the best Apple TV Plus shows that actually feels fresh?