Paramount Network will take on competitors such as FX with new programming like the series Yellowstone starring film legend Kevin Costner. Costner stars in and served as a producer for the series. Paramount has had a long winding journey since its founding in the early 1980s as The Nashville Network, morphing from country music and Southern culture to WWE, Spike TV, and most recently to the series Waco. The latter was a recounting of the federal government’s disastrous raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993.
Yellowstone depicts the trials and tribulations of owning a large ranch in today’s America. Paramount describes the series:
“Yellowstone is a drama series that follows the Dutton family, led by patriarch John Dutton. The Duttons control the largest contiguous ranch in the U.S. and must contend with constant attacks by land developers, clashes with an Indian reservation and conflict with America’s first national park.”
On the Paramount website, trailer and backgrounder videos provide an in depth look at the new series from script writer Taylor Sheridan. Sheridan, who also worked as director and a producer, was behind the incredible film Hell or High Water. That film should’ve won every award it was nominated for—it’s that good.
Sheridan has a penchant for writing about the new West in America.
The Paramount series Waco released in 2018 gave a multi-dimensional portrayal of the federal agents and the Branch Davidians. Approximately 80 civilians died after the raid, and then Attorney General Janet Reno held herself accountable. Reno presided over a number of misguided initiatives but she served longer as AG than any other in contemporary times. Taylor Kitsch played Branch Davidian leader David Koresh in the series, and Kitsch is a dead ringer for Koresh. Some of us who lived through those times and witnessed the events unfolding often felt like we were actually watching Koresh during the series. Michael Shannon, who wowed us in Boardwalk Empire, and John Leguizamo, now starring in Netflix’s Bloodline, were also part of an awesome cast that included Rory Culkin in the role of former Davidian David Thibodeau, a musician who joined the group and then went on to write a book about his experiences.
Yellowstone premieres on Wednesday, June 20.
Paramount is owned by Viacom.
(Kay B. Day/June 13, 2018)