The career of a company high-flyer in glittering Shanghai is throttled at the hands of some vindictive competition in The Rational Life (Netflix, series one now showing). Qin Lan stars as hard-nosed but warm-hearted lawyer Shen Ruoxin in this slow-burning concoction of romance, corporate duplicity, stalking and ... amateur astronomy. Far from putting a downer on the whole enterprise, its relatively slow pace is a welcome relief from the shouty sort of drama that hurries along at the expense of character development and credibility. And The Rational Life certainly feels believable, with its vicious office politics, a big boss clueless about the real, nefarious goings-on and a slimy back-stabber slithering his way up the corporate ladder by sabotaging Shen. Even as her standing in the legal division of Zenpro Automotive disintegrates, Shen must also combat antisocial media trolls who blame her for a complainant’s injuries, a mother haranguing her for being left on the shelf at only 33 years old, and an obsequious colleague-boyfriend, seemingly on a mission to keep Shanghai’s florists in business, who mortifies her before the entire department. Her response? To remain calm and infuriatingly rational, knowing that revenge is a dish best served cold. This is a philosophical lesson her two most loyal allies find difficult to comprehend, but as lowly young interns they have much to learn about treachery in the workplace. Shen, on the other hand, realises that when it comes to Qi Xiao (Dylan Wang) and You Sijia (Lin Xinyi), it’s good to have friends in low places, because they will never sell you out for a corner office with a view. And what views the series’ director of photography presents: Pudong and the Bund from every angle and at every time of day, the coruscating heart of a metropolis in which, at least according to Zenpro, it’s still a man’s world. Fun and games If, to paraphrase synth-pop rockers Depeche Mode, you just can’t get enough, you just can’t get enough football – notwithstanding the recent international tournaments and the looming English Premier League season – then why not fill your boots with even more? Then again, as with most football-based sitcoms and dramas, there isn’t much of the game itself in Ted Lasso (Apple TV+, series two available from Friday). And that’s because the show, groaning under its expanding haul of awards and citations, is really about a far more intricate sport: that of understanding emotion and ambition. The series has an Alan Partridge-esque heritage, amounting to an expansion franchise that sprouted from promotional videos made by Jason Sudeikis for NBC Sports, which in 2013 acquired American broadcast rights to the Premier League. Sudeikis reprises his role as Lasso and continues to bumble through his many sporting shortcomings – although he now understands that in Britain, “soccer” is a “cuss word” and that goals, not points, are the objective. As head coach of AFC Richmond, Lasso arrived as a blow-in from Kansas with zero professional experience and was initially derided by his players and lined up for failure by the club’s owner, Rebecca Welton, who had ulterior motives. (Played by an intimidating Hannah Waddingham, she could even have been Lasso’s first-choice centre-back.) But ultimately, no opposition could match Lasso’s down-home wholesomeness and cheery disposition. Meaning that as the new season starts, Richmond are a band of brothers, a petulant star player and ferocious ex-captain are back onside and even the vituperative fans have been roped into the Lasso philosophy – and some left-field series humour. “Old people are so wise. They’re like tall Yodas,” muses striker Jamie Tartt. Funny old game.