“Yellowstone” is a TV series that gets big numbers but, like Rodney Dangerfield, isn’t always respected. Last year, Vanity Fair declared Yellowstone “the most-watched show nobody’s talking about.”
Success is the finest vengeance in television, even without Emmy nominations. The new season of the Paramount Network series makes a sharper turn toward politics to go with all the soapy doings on Kevin Costner’s property.
Montana politics have featured in the series from the start. Last season, Dutton ran for governor, which “was never my goal,” he admits in the fifth-season opening.
“Yellowstone” never strays far from its cowboy roots, and Dutton is suspicious of big-city interests and affluent visitors who want to convert Montana into a playground.
Dutton takes the same taciturn, square-jawed ideals to politics as to business and family, declaring, “I fight for what’s right.” Who supports it?
This new position for Dutton as a principled, no-nonsense public figure might help separate the show’s next dramatic arc from Paramount’s avalanche of spinoffs tied to it. “1932,” starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, will debut on Paramount+ in December.
Taylor Sheridan, creator of “Yellowstone,” also created “Tulsa King,” starring Sylvester Stallone as a New York gangster deported to Oklahoma.
“Yellowstone” and its various offshoots seem to show that no matter how much the entertainment industry changes, certain things never go out of style – in this case, star power, which Costner (who has done more to keep westerns alive than any other modern actor) provides in abundance, and old-fashioned soap-opera plot lines.
Who knows? Add some “West Wing” patriotism. “Yellowstone’s” new season may have more people talking.
“Yellowstone” returns to Paramount Network on November 13 at 8 p.m. ET.