- Taylor Sheridan believes critics disliked Yellowstone because it lacked a plot.
- However, with an 84% overall Rotten Tomatoes score and high audience ratings, the show has garnered genuine respect and success.
- While early seasons received poorer critical reactions, later seasons with stronger plots earned love and higher scores.
Creator Taylor Sheridan has an explanation for why critics dislike Yellowstone. A Western set in modern-day Montana, the Paramount Network show focuses on the Dutton family as they desperately cling to power through their enormous ranch. It quickly became a breakout hit and has earned multiple spinoffs, including 1883, 1923, and the upcoming shows 6666 and 2024. Despite its success, the show is soon coming to an end after Kevin Costner’s dramatic exit.
With Yellowstone ending with season 5, part 2, Sheridan had time to reflect on the show’s achievements. During an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, the creator addressed the show’s negative reviews, believing critics initially disliked it because it lacked a plot. He stated that he designed a show that was made for critics to hate, and they have been baffled by its success ever since, specifically pointing out The New York Times. Check out his quote below via Business Insider:
“It has no plot, really… Don’t take my land, I want your land. In that, I have a lot of opportunities to poke fun, but also kind of point out different points of views, and kind of really study a way of life and a world. There’s a lot of defiance in the way I do it.
It’s not surprising that critics hate it because it’s designed for them to hate… [Critics were] confounded by its success… The New York Times have done multiple, multiple articles where they’re doing this essay on ‘Why is this sh*t so popular?’”
Do Critics Dislike Yellowstone?
Despite Sheridan’s comments about critics’ reviews, there are questions about what critics have said about Yellowstone and if there is evidence of immense dislike. As of writing, the Western show holds an average of 84 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, and season 3 alone earned a perfect 100 percent critical score. Four of the five seasons are rated above 85 percent, which indicates genuine respect and acclaim for the show.
One of Sheridan’s pieces of evidence was that The New York Times wrote several pieces questioning why people enjoy the show. The mention is slightly flawed because the paper has also written articles about why people love video games, “Dogs Playing Poker,” or even just beautiful things in general. The paper regularly questions the popularity of any highly respected piece of media. That specific note is not particularly relevant to the media’s alleged “hate” for the franchise.
Yellowstone season 5, part 2, is expected to return in November of this year on Paramount Network.
Still, the Western show’s opening season was the subject of vitriol from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, Yellowstone season 1 has a Tomatometer score of only 57 percent, which is classified as a rotten score. Some criticisms included messy story direction, lack of character depth, and slow pacing. Audiences are kinder, having given the season an 83 percent. Only later seasons saw a boosted score and more positive reception, and this improvement correlates with the show developing a stronger plot. Sheridan’s explanation does provide a compelling reason for the poor early critical reactions to Yellowstone, though later seasons earned love.