This review was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.
- ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’ Review: A Diamond That Puts Love at the Heart of the Story
- The 15 Best Villains in DreamWorks Animated Movies, Ranked
- ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ Review: A Loving, Laugh-Out-Loud Judy Blume Adaptation
- ‘Copa 71’ Review: A Solid Soccer Doc Highlights a Historic Moment in Women’s Sports | TIFF 2023
- ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Season 4 Review: The Most Hilarious Crew in the Galaxy Returns
When news first broke about actors Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds buying a Welsh soccer team, it was so random that it felt like a prank. Then, when FX came out with Welcome to Wrexham after the roaring success of shows like Ted Lasso, I’ll be the first to admit that the concept sounded like a gimmick. After all, even though there are a lot of lovers of soccer (or, as the rest of the world calls it, football) in the United States, it’s far from our favorite sport. In fact, McElhenney is a proud Eagles fan and for a chunk of Season 1, would often make references to the American football team. But Welcome to Wrexham was not about two Hollywood actors coming into a small town in Wales and kicking up trouble. It was about highlighting the passionate and dedicated fans of a team that’s been desperate to enter the big leagues of English football for years.
‘Welcome to Wrexham’ Season 2 Doesn’t Shy Away From the Impact of the Show
For those who keep up with English football, or those of you who watched Season 1, the dream of helping Wrexham get to League Two in the English Football League ultimately failed. Wrexham nearly made it, but they lost in their final game and remained in the National League. But the fame of the series and their infamous owners have done a lot to get the word out about Wrexham. Season 2 doesn’t shy away from that impact, showing the impact of the series on a global scale. Wrexham now has fans all around the world who are excited to support this team that they’ve watched develop over the course of Season 1.
Wrexham might have lost some of the sheen of being an underdog — after all, how many underdogs have whole FX docuseries based around them? It’s clear when they have games that the owners of the club become easy punching bags for the team. Is Wrexham actually good enough to make the jump to League Two this season? Or is it just getting attention because Deadpool and the guy from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are giving it press? The show correctly investigates the public’s reaction to the sensational changes without putting down the rival fans and getting a well-rounded opinion.
But the town hasn’t lost their love of the sport nor have they wavered in their support of the team. Season 2 highlights some different figures in Wrexham. Like Season 1, this isn’t just a show about football. It’s about the people who love this sport and love their community. Season 2 gives us opportunities to get a closer look at superstar Paul Mullin, as we get a peek into his personal life, as well as superfans like Millie Tipping. It’s surprisingly easy to fall in love with the team and the townsfolk, who all have the authenticity to make you want to root for their success.
It’s Not Just About the Men’s League in ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ Season 2
One of the most surprising developments of the new season is the way the show pivots its focus to shine a light on the Wrexham Women’s Football team. As with nearly all sports today, Women’s Leagues very rarely get the same amount of spotlight or money as Men’s Leagues. Even when the women play better, have better stats, and have to overcome more, they simply don’t get the attention they deserve. Because the women’s team is as much a part of Wrexham as the men’s, Reynolds and McElhenney’s focus shift to them feels like the logical next step in this journey.
In many ways, this focus gives the show a needed boost and evolution. We are still invested in the men’s team making it to Level Two, but the women’s team has more to overcome. For one, their players are amateurs, as in they are not paid to play football. All the women have day jobs and then, on top of that, they’re also volunteering their time to play the sport they love. The top scorer in Wrexham isn’t Mullin or Ollie Palmer, it’s Rosie Hughes. The team doesn’t enjoy the comforts of a stadium like The Racecourse Grounds, the field they play doesn’t even have a spot for the fans to sit in the stands.
But they inspire the town regardless. It’s so clear that they have a strong influence on the little girls who idolize the players and come to see them at their games. Watching Reynolds and McElhenney (and even Blake Lively) support the Women’s team, and watching them show the same sort of care and dedication that we saw with the men’s team in Season 1 is heartening. In terms of their league, these women are far from the underdogs that their male counterparts were, but in terms of their value in the public eye, the team deserves the same sort of attention that the men’s team does.
‘Welcome to Wrexham’ Keeps Its Soul and Heart in Season 2
While there was something very warm and fuzzy about Season 1 and watching two bumbling (I say that with the utmost love) Americans try and figure out how to help this football team — and learn the rules of offside — I had some apprehension about Season 2. Would the show be able to recapture the charm of the first season? The answer is yes, they can and they do it by changing with the times like the opening song of Season 1. It’s not trying to replay the greatest hits of the first season, it’s expanding the narrative field and digging deeper into the significant figures of the story. Season 2 of Welcome to Wrexham has lost none of its heart and continues to embrace what made it so great in the first place: authenticity and highlighting the community and people of Wrexham.
The Big Picture
- Season 2 of Welcome to Wrexham showcases the global impact of the show and the passionate fans who support the team.
- The focus expands to include the Wrexham Women’s Football team, highlighting their struggles and inspiring influence on the community.
- Season 2 maintains the authenticity and heart that made the first season great by embracing the community of Wrexham once more.
Welcome to Wrexham Season 2 premieres September 12 on FX, with episodes available the next day on Hulu.