Starring: Kevin Costner, Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Asbille, Brecken Merrill, Jefferson White, Danny Huston, Gil Birmingham, Ryan Bingham
Created By: Taylor Sheridan, John Linson
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Yellowstone is a modern day western which stars Kevin Costner. It’s a 9 episode season but think of it as one long ass movie…but trust me, it’s good! It’s got beautiful scenery, people on horses, people killing each other and every cast member has a black eye!
The TV series follows the Dutton family, lead by father John Dutton (Kevin Costner) who controls the largest ranch in the United States. For the children, there’s former Navy Seal and living on the reservation with his wife and son, Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes). The youngest son of John, and probably the most like John. There’s Beth (Kelly Reilly), the financier for the ranch and quite the drinker, and has a love/hate/mostly hate relationship with her brother Jamie (Wes Bentley). Jamie is the family attorney and inspiring politician. He loves his family but gets frustrated with having to put out too many fires. Plus there’s Lee Dutton (Dave Annable), but don’t get used to him. John’s right hand man is Rip (Cole Hauser), foreman for the ranch, John’s right-hand man and enforcer who’s been with John since being taken in by John very early on.
Now that you now the people involved for the most part, we can talk about other things. The ranch borders Yellowstone National Park, Indian Reservations and property where land developers want to put pricey condos, casinos and hotels on it. So the main issues is dealing with land developers like Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston), dealing with Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) and stuff related to the reservation, and then pretty much seeing a once-large family destiny shrink in size from death, feuds, falling outs and other things. Ah family.
When Paramount Network launched (replacing the bro-ish Spike TV), the first show I really wanted to check out was Yellowstone. The Waco one looked interesting too. I didn’t watch when it aired because whatever reason, probably just too busy and my DVR was already backed up with other shows. I was still planning on watching on because I like Kevin Costner and Dances with Wolves is one of my favorite movies. Plus, Taylor Sheridan has been on my radar thanks to Sicario movies and Wind River. I was blown away at the way this was shot. Wide lenses, beautiful landscapes and the only way you can really film a show like this. You don’t half-ass something like a show like when you have Costner leading the cast.
The first episode is 90 minutes long and pretty much part 1 of a long movie. The series can be slow at times, but there’s a lot of interesting characters and stuff happening on screen to make you want to stick around to find out what happens. Of course whenever Costner is on screen, it’s always the most interesting. The show uses some flashbacks when needed to tell parts of the stories, and they use Josh Lucas as John Dutton. Certainly looks the part, and I kind of wish they hadn’t used him for the flashbacks because I would have liked to have seen him in the present as someone else.
I thought Rip was one of the better characters, and you wonder why he’s so loyal to John until you find out in a flashback towards the end of the season. Kayce is another intriguing one, one that is destructive when people get in his way but wants to be there for his wife and son. Beth and Jamie feuds are great for TV, but I felt like the two were going to be some secret lovers towards the end for some reason. Maybe I’m watching Game of Thrones too much? I really liked the character Walker when he came into the show, about halfway through. He was played by Americana singer-songwriter & actor Ryan Bingham and would like to see him more on the show next season. We’ll see if he lasts. All the cowboys in the bunkhouse felt like a show in and of itself, and usually provided the comic relief from the show. The brunt of the jokes usually was from Jimmy (Jefferson White), a ranch hand who was a criminal and giving a second chance.
Not sure if I have any complaints about the show but I feel like once the show goes into season 2, if they lost Costner’s character, the show would still be able to do okay without him. I almost thought it was going to happen this season. Then again, this isn’t Game of Thrones.
The bonus material on the Blu-Ray were broken up into a lot of 3 or 4 minute EPK type of stuff, that probably aired on the network or YouTube. There’s some good stuff in there, but broken into different little snippets. It gets annoying after awhile and seeing the Paramount Network logo appears for like 12 times before and after the clips. Then there was a lot longer one called “Taylor Sheridan & Kevin Costner on Yellowstone” which was great to see. For the most part, we got a lot of cast interviews, shots from behind the scenes on location in Montana and Utah. I like Taylor’s approach to filming, using old lenses, shooting wide and being there on location. There is some special effects but nothing too drastic that is too noticeable to the casual viewers. These episodes were uncensored with cursing and nudity, I need to watch an episode on Paramount Network to see how much they show versus here. It will make me deceive if I watch season 2 when it airs or wait for Blu-Ray again.
My only complaint or disappointment from this Blu-Ray is there’s no UV or digital HD code. Paramount’s still in this we’re doing our own stuff sort of thing, while the majority of the other studios are letting you own the seasons after you purchase the Blu-Ray/DVD. UV pretty much won’t be a thing soon anymore so not sure if they will join Movies Anywhere anytime soon. Still, I would have liked to have seen a digital HD code with this set if I wanted to watch anywhere if I felt in the mood to binge this again. People still want to somewhat “own” something, and that’s download. Having it made available on streaming your app isn’t appealing because if people don’t have cable they can’t watch it.
Overall, Yellowstone is a good show, sometimes slow, sometimes clunky but it made me want to watch more and see what happens. I’m curious to see what happens in Season 2, and you should check out this show just to see the scenery and to see Costner in a western again!
Costner on Yellowstone
Character Spots: Beth
Character Spots: Lee
Character Spots: Jamie
Character Spots: Rainwater
Character Spots: Monica
Character Spots: Kayce
Working the Yellowstone: Production Design
Working the Yellowstone: Special Effects
“Yellowstone” Official Theme Music Composed by Brian Tyler
Taylor Sheridan & Kevin Costner on Yellowstone
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (24.50 Mbps)
Original aspect ratio: 2.00:1
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit)
Bottom Line: Beautifully shot tv series that was interesting, but sometimes felt slow in spots.
Running Time: 465 mins