“Yellowstone,” the Kevin Costner-led Western has been overlooked by awards bodies for its first two seasons, but the third time could be the charm. The Paramount Network series has gotten more popular with every passing year and ended 2020 as the No. 1 time-shifted program in Nielsen ratings that voters might just take notice now.
The series surged 214.8 percent in time-shifted viewing for its third season, which concluded in August with 5.16 million live viewers — making it the most-watched scripted cable series of the year and up from the 2.8 million that tuned in for its Season 2 closer. “Yellowstone,” which is in the top 30 of our Golden Globe Best Drama Series odds, was not available to stream until it was added to Peacock in November, so its popularity in delayed viewing is not surprising as it has had a devoted fan base from the start. Its third season carries a score of 83 percent from viewers and critics, based on six reviews, alike on Rotten Tomatoes. Tom Ryan of The Age dubs the show a “surprisingly overlooked gem,” adding that he’s “hooked.”
Created by Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water”), “Yellowstone” stars Costner as John Dutton, patriarch of a Montana ranching family as they deal with constant threats to their ranch, the largest contiguous ranch in United States, from developers, Native American reservations, politicians and more. Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser and Gil Birmingham also star, with “Lost” alum Josh Holloway joining in Season 3 as the Duttons’ latest adversary Roarke Morris.
“Yellowstone” was also one of the few shows that aired new episodes in the early months of the pandemic, premiering Season 3 in June to give TV-starved fans some new content to consume. Now that it’s available to stream, who knows how many more new fans it’s amassed or voters it has won over. Plus, never underestimate the timelessness (and prettiness) of well-made Westerns and the appeal of their moral compass in a time when many leaders are lacking one.
If “Yellowstone” can’t lasso up some love this year, there’s always next time — the show was renewed for fourth season before the third even premiered.
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