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Fans May Know the Ending, But Welcome to Wrexham Season 2 Is Still Worth the Journey

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney's FX docuseries is about so much more than football.
  • Like so many sports docuseries, Welcome to Wrexham faces the difficult challenge of finding a way to keep viewers engaged, even though they know the end result. Many shows struggle to navigate the realities of their backwards-looking timelines: Netflix's Formula 1: Drive to Survive inspired so many people to tune into races on a weekly basis that by the time the show premiered months later, there was little incentive to relive the drama. The double-edged sword of success also threatens to come for FX's football series, which premiered just a few weeks into the 2022–2023 season, turning casual viewers into devoted Wrexham AFC fans. When the Red Dragons won the National League title in April 2023, it became global news, with outlets ranging from the New York Times to British tabloid The Mirror referencing co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney and the show itself in their headlines.

    Wrexham's quest to win promotion into League Two, the fourth tier in the professional English Football League, drives Welcome to Wrexham Season 2, but in this case, knowing where the season is headed only makes the journey more satisfying. After suffering a disappointing loss to end the 2021–2022 season (the first under Reynolds and McElhenney's ownership), the Red Dragons are desperate to escape the fifth-tier National League — but it's not just their pride that will take a hit if they fail to reach the EFL.

    The Season 2 premiere efficiently establishes the stakes of the 2022–2023 campaign: "From a financial perspective, if we do not get promoted this year, we are f*cked," says McElhenney. He and Reynolds explain that in order to offset management's investment in the team — which includes signing talented (but expensive) players and much-needed stadium renovations — Wrexham needs the influx of cash that comes with playing in League Two. Otherwise, says executive director Humphrey Ker, they'll be "left holding a very expensive baby," all but ensuring that the club won't be sustainable in the long-term.

    Knowing everything Wrexham stands to lose if they don't achieve their goal makes the highs of the season that much sweeter, and the lows that much more disappointing. The Red Dragons' comeback victory over Eastleigh in the first match of the season prompts a joyous celebration and proves management was right to pay a premium for new midfielder Elliot Lee, who scored two goals in the second half. On the other hand, watching Reynolds and McElhenney jump through hoops to impress their VIP guest, King Charles III, only to have the British government deny their request for funding to build a new stand feels like the ultimate let-down, especially when it's explained that the funding has become a victim of parliamentary politics.

    But Welcome to Wrexham's concerns go beyond the team's success on the pitch. Reynolds and McElhenney's dreams for the club are grounded in their commitment to the larger Wrexham community, which has rallied around the Red Dragons like never before. Season 2 continues to focus on the excitement that's emerged in the working-class Welsh town. The premiere includes an extended sequence detailing everything that's changed since the team's playoff run and the docuseries's release, from the influx in tourists — which has doubled business for local pub The Turf — to the insatiable demand for Wrexham jerseys. "They've given the whole community of North Wales such a boost," a shopkeeper says of the club under the leadership of its famous co-owners. "We're just on the ride of a lifetime."

    For the people of Wrexham, this is about "more than football," as the trailer makes clear; it's about a community that's long needed to believe in a better tomorrow finding hope. No matter how familiar viewers may be with the Red Dragons' historic season, that kind of underdog story will always be worth watching.

    Welcome to Wrexham Season 2 airs Tuesdays at 10:00 PM ET on FX and streams next-day on Hulu. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Welcome to Wrexham, FX, Hulu, Humphrey Ker, Rob McElhenney, Ryan Reynolds