A new season of Yellowstone is upon us, the third season now streaming on Stan—with new instalments dropping weekly. This makes me very happy, because Tyler Sheridan’s soapy, occasionally ropy neo-western is extremely My Jam. It takes all the backbiting, double-crossing, sex and violence common in the current crop of ‘power corrupts’ dynastic dramas (Billions, Succession et al) and adds boots and a Stetson hat. Everything’s better with cowboys.
I’m not alone in this opinion. Yellowstone has proved wildly popular, with season two being the most watched cable TV series of summer 2019 in the U.S.
Popularity and quality aren’t the same thing, though. Critical response has been a little lukewarm, tending to praise the performances and production values (shot in Utah and Montana, Yellowstone is often jaw-droppingly beautiful) but throwing shade at the series’ convoluted plot machinations and heightened, histrionic tone. But those are features, not bugs. Yellowstone is all about the Cowboy Code running headfirst into the modern world and seeing what interesting sparks are struck (or wildfires lit).
Besides, how can you not love a show when…