Welcome to Wrexham
Welcome to Wrexham poster.jpg
Poster for the series
GenreSports access-all-areas docuseries[1][2]
Starring
Opening theme"The Times They Are a-Changin'" by Keb' Mo' (episodes 1–2, 18)
"Everyday" by Buddy Holly (episodes 3–6, 8–17)
ComposerGiosué Greco
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes18 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Drew Palombi
  • Jeff Luini
  • Aaron Lovell
Production locations
Editors
  • Mohamed El Manasterly
  • Curtis McConnell
  • Michael Brown
  • Peter Holmes
  • Janak Elise Cox
  • Peter Leininger
  • Marcella Serrano
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time20–47 minutes
Production companies
DistributorDisney Platform Distribution
Release
Original networkFX
Original releaseAugust 24, 2022 (2022-08-24) –
present

Welcome to Wrexham is an American sports documentary series that premiered on August 24, 2022, on FX. The series documents the events of Welsh association football club Wrexham A.F.C., as told by the club's owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds.[3][4][5][6]

Background

In September 2020, American actor Rob McElhenney and Canadian-American actor Ryan Reynolds announced their intention to buy Wrexham A.F.C., a Welsh professional association football club based in the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham, north-east Wales in the United Kingdom.[7] The company RR McReynolds was set up by November 2020, and the deal was completed in February 2021. As of the purchase, Wrexham A.F.C. played in the National League, the fifth tier of English football, below the Premier League and the three tiers of the English Football League system.[8][9]

At the time, the non-league football team was described to be "struggling".[10] Following the suspension of the 2019–20 National League in March 2020 after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, Wrexham A.F.C. was said to have furloughed staff and players, and the club was experiencing a "threat to the[ir] continued existence".[11] Prior to the pair's purchase, Wrexham A.F.C. was owned by the Wrexham Supporter's Trust, a fan-operated company, since 2011. The trust approved McElhenney and Reynolds' £2 million takeover by 98.6%.[12][13][14][15] Following the purchase, Wrexham A.F.C.'s Twitter account posted a skit with McElhenney and Reynolds performing a parody advert for Ifor Williams Trailers, then the only sponsor for Wrexham A.F.C.[16] Following the takeover by an intermediary, McElhenney and Reynolds attended their first ever game since becoming the club's new owners at Maidenhead, a 3-2 defeat in October 2021. [2]

Management before 2011 was described to have "mismanaged the club to the point of near collapse", with fans "starting to fall out of love with it". The club was served with a winding-up order in 2011.[12][17]

The series is said to be inspired by Sunderland 'Til I Die, which prompted McElhenney to be interested in buying an association football club,[12] as well as the influence of Humphrey Ker, who was also interested in purchasing a club.[18] Ker was said to have been always watching association football in the writer's room of McElhenney's show Mythic Quest, causing McElhenney to become interested in association football, particularly "the idea of promotion and demotion", which McElhenney said was "incredible to me".[19] McElhenney also joked that he only had "TV money" and needed "super hero, movie star money".[19] Ker described himself as "Rob and Ryan's representative" to the club as the pair's inside operations person.[19]

Synopsis

The series centers on the Hollywood pair's attempts to revive the third-oldest professional association football team in the world, founded in 1864, and how the team has performed under the pair's ownership.[20] The pair have no known experience in managing a sports team.[10] The series would also highlight the pair's hopes in improving the team and bringing positive change to the local Wrexham community.[10][21]

During and since the takeover, Wrexham has risen in the rankings of the National League. In the 2019–20 National League (prior to any takeover rumors), Wrexham A.F.C. were 20th,[22] and by the 2020–21 season, Wrexham rose to 8th place.[23] In the 2021–22 season and first under the pair's ownership, Wrexham was 2nd finished as runners up; however, missed out on promotion to the EFL League Two.[24][25]

Production

The series is produced by Boardwalk Pictures, the company also behind Last Chance U and Chef's Table.[20] Maximum Effort, a film company founded by Reynolds is also co-producing and marketing the series.[26] FX has commissioned two seasons of the show.[10][21] McElhenney confirmed plans for a second season, following the full release of the first, on October 13, 2022.[27]

The executive producers of the series were stated to be Rob McElhenney, Ryan Reynolds, Nick Frenkel, John Henion, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard, George Dewey and Sarina Roma.[9][21][28] Henion was also the showrunner.[28]

Describing the series, Nick Grad, FX Entertainment's original programming president said "Rob and Ryan will take fans inside the sport as never before, pairing their genuine love for the game with the welcome challenge of building on the heritage of this club".[21][29]

Filming for the docuseries began December 2020,[11] with the film crew appearing alongside the owners' first visit to the team at the Wrexham v. Maidenhead United F.C. match in October 2021.[30][31]

Cast

The cast for the series was stated as the following:[32]

Episodes

No.Title [33]Original air date [33]U.S. viewers
(millions)
1"Dream"August 24, 2022 (2022-08-24)0.319[34]
Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney attempt a takeover of the world's third oldest professional football (a.k.a. soccer) club, located in Wrexham, a working class town in northern Wales in the United Kingdom.
2"Reality"August 24, 2022 (2022-08-24)0.225[34]
Wrexham Football Club attempts to qualify for the playoffs as their new owners try to very quickly learn the ins and outs of a game and an industry they know nothing about.
3"Rebuilding"August 31, 2022 (2022-08-31)0.232[35]
With just weeks before the season begins, Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds find themselves having to convince star football players and executives to take a chance on Wrexham.
4"Home Opener"August 31, 2022 (2022-08-31)0.160[35]
The first Wrexham home opener of the new era arrives, and whether Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds are ready for it or not.
5"Fearless"September 7, 2022 (2022-09-07)0.278[36]
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney land an important partnership as the Wrexham goalies, and fans, face some tough contests.
6"Hamilton!"September 7, 2022 (2022-09-07)0.213[36]
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney try to fulfill one of their biggest promises to Wrexham as a previous owner's dark shadow still lingers.
7"Wide World of Wales"September 14, 2022 (2022-09-14)0.242[37]
In this "very special episode," Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney give a tour of Wales, and other TV show formats.
8"Away We Go"September 14, 2022 (2022-09-14)0.142[37]
Wrexham Chairmen Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney make a surprise appearance at an away game to watch Wrexham play in person for the very first time.
9"Welcome Home"September 21, 2022 (2022-09-21)0.203[38]
After a year of cheering from afar due to COVID-19, co-chairmen Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney finally get to visit Wrexham and spend time with their team and the town.
10"Hooligans"September 28, 2022 (2022-09-28)0.206[39]
Unfortunate occurrences at the first home game attended by the co-chairmen lead to a police investigation and raise the ugly specter of football hooliganism.
11"Sack the Gaffer"September 28, 2022 (2022-09-28)0.147[39]
Fans grumble about Wrexham's lackluster performance and aim their ire at manager Phil Parkinson; Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney debate his future with the club.
12"Wins and Losses"October 5, 2022 (2022-10-05)0.203[40]
Wrexham AFC begin to play up to their potential while off the field challenges put match play in perspective.
13"Worst Team in the League"October 5, 2022 (2022-10-05)0.149[40]
Roster changes threaten Wrexham's momentum as they prepare to face the worst team in the league.
14"A Hollywood Distraction"October 5, 2022 (2022-10-05)0.095[40]
Ryan Reynolds surprises the team with a visit as Wrexham prepares for the biggest match of the season against Stockport County, their rivals for promotion.
15"Daggers"October 5, 2022 (2022-10-05)0.101[40]
With one match left to play in the regular season, Wrexham has a chance to win the league and promotion.
16"Hello Wembley"October 12, 2022 (2022-10-12)0.282[41]
Hollywood stars and Wrexham residents descend on London for the Red Dragons' big match at legendary Wembley Stadium.
17"Wromance"October 12, 2022 (2022-10-12)0.245[41]
An inside look at the unusual beginnings and dynamics of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney's football friendship.
18"Do or Die"October 12, 2022 (2022-10-12)0.197[41]
For the first time in 14 years, Wrexham has a chance to be promoted out of the National League.

Marketing

In May 2021, an announcement trailer for the series was released onto Reynolds' YouTube channel, titled "Welcome to Wrexham". The roughly 2-minute parody sketch comedy involves McElhenney and Reynolds announcing the docuseries, as well as former BBC News and S4C journalist Maxine Hughes, who acts as a "pretty disgruntled" Welsh language translator for the pair, but adds some "creative" translations to the pair's words.[42][43][44][45][46]

In December 2021, FX released a video promo for the series, titled "It's Never Sunny in Wrexham".[47] The short 30-second clip involved lookalikes of the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia cast, including a Danny DeVito lookalike, set inside the Turf Hotel located next to Wrexham A.F.C's Racecourse Ground.[9][48] In the clip, the lookalike cast looks confusingly at a television screen showing the true cast of the American series starring McElhenney, staring back from their Philadelphia Irish bar. The clip also includes the two owners. The scenes involving the lookalike cast and the two owners were filmed in October 2021 as the two owners visited Wrexham.[9][48] When the lookalike of Danny DeVito visited Wrexham, he was confused for the real actor.[47]

On July 20, 2022, the official trailer for the program was released.[49][50] The series' official synopsis read "From Hollywood to Wales, from the pitch to the locker room, the front office to the pub, Welcome to Wrexham will track Rob and Ryan’s crash course in football club ownership and the inextricably connected fates of a team and a town counting on two actors to bring some serious hope and change to a community that could use it".[51]

Release

In May 2022, it was announced that the first two episodes of the series would premiere on August 24, 2022, in the US on FX.[52] All episodes would become available on FX on Hulu in the US and Disney+ in the UK on August 25, 2022.[8][53][54] The series would be composed of 30-minute episodes.[54] The series would also be released in Ireland on the same day and on Disney+ as the UK. Dates for other international releases have yet to be announced but are expected to be on Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ (under the Star banner) in various other territories.[55][56] It is set to be released as a Star Original outside the United States.[50]

Reception

Audience viewership

According to the streaming aggregator Reelgood, Welcome to Wrexham was the 7th most watched program across all platforms, during the week of September 2, 2022.[57][58]

Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 90% approval rating with an average rating of 7.3/10, based on 30 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Plunking two famous funnymen into the unpredictable journey of a sports documentary, Welcome to Wrexham is a calculated gamble that pays off."[59] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 75 out of 100 based on 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[60]

References

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