Well, there’s ALWAYS trouble at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Yesterday, the interwebs were all a-buzz with word from Deadline that scheduling issues with Kevin Costner might spell the end of
My Cowboy Soap Opera Yellowstone.
Cowboys & Indians Magazine has a good article on the rise of storm clouds over Yellowstone, based on Deadline’s original reporting:
Deadline reports that Sheridan, co-creator and showrunner of the drama, Paramount Global and Paramount Network “are moving to end their signature show in its current form. But they are plotting a potential franchise extension to continue the Dutton saga, a new show with Matthew McConaughey in talks to star.
“It is unclear which of the Yellowstone cast will move over to the McConaughey-led series, but it is expected to include several of the big stars.”
The response from Paramount? Kind of a non-denial denial.
“We have no news to report,” a Paramount Network spokesperson told Deadline. “Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come. Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we are always working on franchise expansions of this incredible world he has built. Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner.”
Which isn’t exactly saying, “Kevin, don’t let the door hit you on the butt on the way out.” But, you have to admit, it isn’t a full-throated roar of support, either.
Apparently, the entire imbroglio stems from time, not money. Costner — who recently won a Golden Globe award for his series lead performance as John Dutton — only wants to spend a week shooting episodes for the second half of the show’s current fifth season, because he’s tied up with directing and starring in Horizon, his multi-part Western epic. (That passion project, it should be noted, has Costner partnered with Warner Bros. and New Line.) But so far, Deadline reports, “Paramount Network has declined Costner’s most recent proposal and instead has made the decision to move on to the other show, sources said.”
How will this all shake out? Well, consider this: Costner is undeniably the main attraction for many if not most of the millions who watch Yellowstone. Over the years, however, other members of the cast — Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Gil Birmingham and Mo Brings Plenty, among others — have attracted ardent fans of their own. More important, up until the midseason finale episode that aired Jan. 1, the current run of Yellowstone certainly seemed to be building toward a blood-and-thnder climactic confrontation that would result in a body count of some sort. Given that the remaining Season 5 episodes have yet to be filmed, Sheridan has plenty of time to decide just whose bodies will get counted.
Couple of thoughts:
- I figured something was up when they split this season, though I thought it had to do with creator Taylor Sheridan having too many irons in the fire.
- I’d rather see them end the show at five seasons than have it become a wooly, shambolic beast that just won’t die like Sons of Anarchy did. My favorite TV show of all time, Black Sails, benefitted from ending at four seasons. The story had been told, and they stuck the landing. Same with Justified at 6. Go out with a bang, sez I.
Here’s a relatively recent Nations At War doco on The Ranging Way of War:
I have decided to plunge fully into my Ranger project. Sorted out a couple of sticking points with the help of Craig Rullman, who thinks it’s a book. We’ll see about that. If you missed my earlier musings on this, the plan is to explore the Ranger as a cultural archetype, looking all the way back to the forests of medieval England and forward to the Global War on Terror. The history of the Ranging Way of War will obviously make the foundation, but I really want to delve into why the figure of the Ranger has become such an archetype, both in the historical world and in the world of fantasy literature. Talk with historical reenactors and fantasy cosplayers as well as men who have actually served in Ranger battalions.
I’m still working on shaping this up, and it will certainly evolve as the work moves forward. If anybody has a particular interest they’d like to explore, drop a comment or send an email.
In honor of Outlander calling it a tale at Season 8, and in anticipation of Jamie MacGillivray: The Renegade’s Journey — a very traditional rendering of Lord Lovat’s Lament.
It’s an open question on how long a tv series should last. Ideally tv shows would always keep high quality, but the reality is that even high quality productions vary in quality. It’s sad to see a good show go down the tube.
I’m looking forward to more on Rangers.
Off topic, but Sabaton history did a video on a decorated female Serbian soldier of the first world war.
Brian Hessling says
Me suspects the hardest part might be settling on the definition of “Ranger”. I think once you get into the 19th century it gets pretty blurry with what amount to irregular guerrillas getting tossed into the “category” during times of larger active conflicts (I’m thinking of the American Civil war for one). But maybe that’s the rub; Rangers always being on the frontier in cold wars and when the war gets hot they get swept up into the larger endeavor.
You are right. Setting the frame is challenging.
Brian Hessling says
When is a Ranger a soldier? When is a soldier a Ranger?
Quixotic Mainer says
The CSA passed the “partisan ranger act”, as legislation trying to answer that very question! Might be a good source.
Looking forward to watching that woods skulking video.
Excellent. Thank you.
Brian H. says
I recently read a piece at revolutionarywarjournal.com about the Ranger Benjamin Whitcomb who I’d never heard of before. Good luck with the project.
Thank you. Whitcomb was an all-time badass. First encountered him in one of Gavin K. Watt’s books. I have no idea why he’s not better known.
Agreed completely about a tight, concise run of episodes being superior to a show being milked well past its expatriation date. That said, with the ability to do spin offs and limited series, I’d say the Yellowstone writers should consider doing two more seasons with Costner in a limited role, released without any rushed timeframe (with a show this big they can take their time, like Outlander does, instead of adhering to a ridged schedule. I’ve always thought seven seasons was a sweet spot. Getting elected governor SHOULD have been the excuse they needed to write his character out save for cameos as well as create conflict with his “successor” at the ranch. If I was in the writer’s room right now, i’d suggest a political appointment in Washington. Killing his character probably wouldn’t work, since they kind of missed that boat when he survived the attack in the season 3 finale – (1923 is handling the near death and slllooooow recovery of a gun shot victim much better). Have him get appointed to agriculture secretary or something semi plausible and accept the position because he wants to see his kids take over for a few years and what they are capable of.
After season 7, they could even do a series finale as a film, then write a sequel series around any actors who want to stay on board.
On a related note, Horizon sounds intriguing from the little I’ve read. Open Range is one of my favorite Westerns, so Costner is more than capable of juggling the actor/producer/director roles and he knows the genre well.
Good stuff. Tracks completely.