‘Welcome to Wrexham’ review: Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney buy football team in FX’s ‘Ted Lasso’ wannabe


‘Welcome to Wrexham’ is desperate to position itself as ‘the real ‘Ted Lasso”, but that’s only part of what happens in this FX docuseries, in which Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney buy a team struggling Welsh football club. The resulting series is a bit of this, a bit of that, and like its flagship franchise, plays more like a wannabe than a true contender.

The main problem is that everything about the exercise seems so obviously fabricated – less the product of inspiration and more something the agents concocted over drinks – starting with the decision to film every part of the process in the goal of making it into a TV show.

Reynolds and the ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ star earnestness ‘We’re doing this because we love the community nature of the sport’ would seem more compelling if these Hollywood personalities weren’t dishing out entertainment (admittedly of a relatively few variety costly) around their efforts.

“Wrexham” also consciously describes itself, as Reynolds openly describes it, as “an underdog story”, with these new owners hoping to turn the struggling franchise into a winner and win the team’s promotion to the upper league levels of English football. . The time spent explaining how it all works is perhaps necessary, but just as exciting as it sounds.

What remains, then, is a juggling of multiple elements, alternating between stars, intimate and personal stories about individual players, and introductions to parts of the city’s blue-collar fan base.

In short, “Welcome to Wrexham” can’t decide exactly what it wants to be, and ends up being nothing much. Like football, there are many activities, without scoring many points in its favor.

After watching five episodes of the 18-episode first season, the best moments happen to have come at the start, when McElhenney talks about his dream of buying a team and how, despite his acquired riches on television, “I had need movie star money” to make that happen. Add his gin game, and at least that explains why McElhenney enlisted Reynolds, whom he had never met in person before the two became friends on social networks.

It’s obviously no mystery why FX would have embraced the idea, combining as it does an actor with a huge social media following and the star/producer of one of the network’s long-running series. And while it’s fun to see people show up to games in Deadpool costumes, the show mostly reinforces the limitations of basing programming decisions on Instagram followers.

Because despite the underdog look, he’s not “the real ‘Ted Lasso'”.

“Welcome to Wrexham” premieres August 24 at 10 p.m. ET on FX and August 25 on Hulu in the US and Disney+ in the UK.