The Bear was one of the surprise TV sensations of 2023, seemingly coming out of nowhere and quickly becoming one of the most talked-about shows of the year. (Also one of the best.) Season 2 just dropped via FX on Hulu and -- mild spoiler ahead -- this second course is even more delicious than the first, following chef Carmy Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) and his staff as they turn S1's Italian beef sandwich shop into a fine dining restaurant, amid Chicago city government red tape, budding romances, familial clashes, self-doubt, side trips to Copenhagen, and the ever-ticking clock. Series creator Christopher Storer manages to flesh out every main character and adding a few new ones (sometimes played by very famous actors), while giving a little backstory on the Berzatto clan. The whole cast really gets a chance to shine. The Bear also maintains S1's white-knuckle intensity -- you will likely need a breather after Episode 6 -- while offering moments of sweet respite, and has developed a Friday Night Lights-esque ability to make you cry every episode.
The series has also upped its soundtrack game, with Season 2 even more needle drops than the first. (Storer is also the series' music supervisor alongside Josh Senior.) Wilco and R.E.M. appear again multiple times -- as does Refused's "New Noise," which is the series' "pressure's on!" cue -- with many nods to Chicago (John Hughes soundtracks get another shout out), lots of '80s/'90s indie/alternative, and some surprising/cool choices (The Durutti Column, Harmonia & Eno '76, Martin Rev). There's also an episode where The Replacements are featured multiple times on the soundtrack and a subject of on-screen debate. You can listen to playlist of all the songs from The Bear S2, and the trailer for the season, below.