“Yellowstone” is one of those TV mysteries, with high ratings but, like the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, doesn’t always command a lot of respect. Last year’s Vanity Fair headline summed up this dynamic: “Not the most talked about show in Yellowstone that everyone is talking about.”
Success is often TV’s best revenge, even if it’s not nominated for an Emmy. Still, the new season of the Paramount Network series is still fighting for more relevance by veering sharply toward politics to accommodate the saga surrounding John Dutton (played by Kevin Costner) and his sprawling ranch. All soap opera conspiracies.
Granted, Montana politics has been part of the series from the start. But last season, in the gubernatorial race, Dutton threw his hat into the ring and put it in a position, as he said in his acceptance speech at the season five premiere, “This It was never my plan.”
Already considered a modern western, “Yellowstone” never strayed from its cowboy roots, and Dutton made clear his interest in big cities and wealthy vacationers turning Montana and its pristine mountains into playgrounds rather than playgrounds. Homesick suspicion.
Indeed, Dutton brings the same taciturn, edgy values he brings in politics to his business and dealings with his family, bluntly saying: “I fight for what’s right. I don’t care who supports it.”
There’s more to the series, of course, but Dutton’s new role as the kind of principled, no-nonsense official nearly everyone wants to vote regardless of political preference helps set the stage for the latest show Bring dramatic arcs in the onslaught of Paramount’s plethora of related spinoffs. In addition to 1883 which launched last year in the saddle by Sam Elliott, another prequel starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, 1932 will premiere on the Paramount+ streaming service in December.
Yellowstone parent Taylor Sheridan is also behind another new Paramount+ series set in the Heartland, Tulsa King starring another veteran movie star, Sylvester Starring Sylvester Stallone, a New York City gangster who was exiled to Oklahoma after his release from prison.
In a way, “Yellowstone” and its various offshoots seem to suggest that no matter how much the entertainment industry changes, some things never go out of style—in this case, Costner (who defended the more graphic Westerns more work) star power than any other modern actor) offers abound; and old-fashioned storylines from soap operas.
Add a little West Wing patriotism, and who knows? The new season of Yellowstone might even get more people talking about it.
Season 5 of Yellowstone begins on November 13 at 8 p.m. ET on Paramount Network.