Entertainment Is The Only Rule When It Comes To Writing Yellowstone

The runaway success of "Yellowstone" has baffled some critics who don't seem to be able to reconcile the inherent melodrama of the Dutton family power struggles with the genuinely thrilling aspects of the show that make it such an effective dramatic hour of television from week to week. Meanwhile, the so-called flyover states have made it one of the most-watched shows on cable, and now the fervor is spreading to encompass the entire country, including the coastal elite. 

"Yellowstone" has consistently been snubbed by the Emmy Awards, with season 4 earning a sum total of zero nominations while the compelling prequel spin-off, "1883," landed only three technical nods at last year's ceremony. With season 5 set to premiere this Sunday, November 13 on the Paramount Network for a special, two-hour event, Taylor Sheridan's legitimate smash hit may be in store for its biggest ratings yet. 

A little more recognition and respect for the powerhouse series might be on the horizon in the future. If history is any indicator, the prototypical primetime soap opera "Dallas" wound up winning four Emmys after being nominated 21 times. For now, those accolades will have to go to more conventional shows that aren't as difficult to pin down. As the co-creator of "Yellowstone," Sheridan has a theory as to why the show's detractors have yet to embrace the show, telling The New York Times, "I think one of the reasons the critics haven't responded to "Yellowstone" is that I'm breaking a lot of story rules. I'll jump the plot ahead for no reason whatsoever except that I wanted to and it's entertaining." 

Why do we love Yellowstone so much anyway?

That kind of confidence displayed by Sheridan comes from knowing what the audience wants and not really caring how it's perceived. "The people who get it eat it up, and the people that try to look at it with a critical eye see a mess." The series does take a lot of severe twists and turns that can seem to come out of nowhere, but that's part of the fun, isn't it? Sheridan doesn't seem too concerned with adhering to the established rules of running a show, explaining to the NY Times

"That's what I love about 'Yellowstone,' the way that it flows from being campy to melodramatic to intensely dramatic to violent. It's every old western and new western and soap opera thrown together in a blender. And yes, I think it infuriates and confounds some people who study storytelling. They don't understand why this thing's such a hit."

Putting a finger on exactly why the show is so successful can distract from the pure enjoyment of just watching how every outlandish storyline unfolds. The fandom has certainly responded to the core tenets in "Yellowstone" of family loyalty and a dedication to preserving a vanishing way of life. But there's also a majestic beauty found in the cinematography and the capable actors who fill in that space are all giving fantastic performances. If critics really want to know why there's so much love for the show, Sheridan has the answer. "Here's why: It's wickedly acted and the location is fantastic, and we're peeking into a world that no one really knows." 

Find out more about the world of "Yellowstone" when season 5 premieres this Sunday on the Paramount Network and Paramount+.