Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan responds to the show being labeled as conservative, explaining that the series includes progressive themes.
Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan responds to the show being called a “red-state” show. The Paramount Network series stars Kevin Costner as John Dutton, the owner of the titular Montana ranch, and follows his fight to maintain the land against encroaching threats. While Yellowstone received mixed to negative reviews in its first season, it has since improved over the years and became especially popular among conservative American audiences. The highly anticipated season 5 premieres November 13 and is poised to be the show’s biggest one yet.
Taylor Sheridan, Yellowstone‘s creator, insists the series is not, as some have called it, a “red-state” show. In an interview with The Atlantic, Sheridan explains that while Yellowstone has a predominantly white cast and is set in the Republican majority state of Montana, the themes and premises explored in the plot lines of the series are rooted in progressive ideals. Sheridan states:
“They refer to it as ‘the conservative show’ or ‘the Republican show’ or ‘the red-state Game of Thrones […] And I just sit back laughing. I’m like, ‘Really?’ The show’s talking about the displacement of Native Americans and the way Native American women were treated and about corporate greed and the gentrification of the West, and land-grabbing. That’s a red-state show?”
How Yellowstone Is More Diverse Than Some Perceive
Sheridan, a Texas native, conceived Yellowstone back in 2017. It’s easy to see how the series gained a reputation for being more conservative; for one thing, its place within the Western genre immediately gives it the connotation that it holds some older values. Though the Western has always been a staple of Hollywood, it is often seen as a throwback to a very different time, a time when political correctness wasn’t always prevalent. On top of that, that Yellowstone‘s fanbase skews more towards the right in terms of politics has given the series a particular reputation among those less familiar with the plot and characters.
However, despite its white, rural American setting and its popularity among predominantly Republican states according to rating demographics, Yellowstone does not necessarily promote conservative agendas. Yellowstone is at its core a Western that tackles the complex dynamics of a powerful family, not unlike HBO’s critical hit Succession. While John Dutton represents the white conservative man, his quest for power is portrayed in a negative light, showing the tragic consequences of greed. The plot often includes prominent Native American characters, including Chief Thomas Rainwater, powerfully portrayed by Gil Birmingham. Beyond that, Yellowstone is not averse to swearing and sexuality, which would most likely alienate the religious right. All told, this is a series that is more than what some might initially perceive. Sherdian’s pushback against the Yellowstone‘s apparent positioning as a “red-state” show is fair and will perhaps lead some to reconsider how they think of the series.
Yellowstone Draws An Audience Across Spectrum Of American Politics
The Yellowstone season 5 trailer alone garnered 14 million views. The show itself is likely to continue beyond season 5 and has already spawned three prequel shows, 1883 and the upcoming 1923 and 6666. Its popularity appears to be only growing. Yellowstone‘s success could be due to its ability to showcase elements of American life that some might not be familiar with while exploring compelling conflicts. Even better, it has the ability to draw viewers in from across the country’s fragmented political landscape.
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Source: The Atlantic