Yellowstone is a behemoth. It’s dominated the TV landscape since its debut in 2018, and numerous Yellowstone spin-offs have since released to near-equal success. You can’t log on to Paramount Plus without being bombarded with the faces of the Yellowstone cast, and that’s no bad thing.
The show, which is currently on a mid-season break with no return in sight, is one of the best TV series of the modern era and alongside Kevin Costner as John Dutton, creator Taylor Sheridan has helped to reignite mainstream interest in the Western genre. Still, that doesn’t mean Yellowstone fans are always happy, especially as the wait for the Yellowstone season 5 part 2 release date drags on and on.
Now, over on social media platform Reddit (where only the most devout fans congregate) Yellowstone fans (Yellowstoners? Duttonites?) are in dispute about what they consider to be an uncomfortable truth: the Yellowstone spin-offs 1883 and 1923 are better than the main series. Ouch.
“I think that it’s due to the prequels being much shorter. After watching all of the Yellowstone [series], I believe that the writers ran out of storyline by the third season, and it became a complete soap opera,” said one user on a post titled ‘Why are the prequels so much better than Yellowstone?’
There’s some merit to that argument. Since season 3, which ended with a big bang (the shooting of John Dutton) the series has become somewhat cyclical, as the Duttons seem to fight a new enemy each season who wants their land. Then again, Sheridan would likely argue that the Duttons’ defense of their land is literally what the show is all about.
Another user argued a similar point to the first, saying that the tightness of the spin-offs was to their benefit: “I think having the restriction of the prequels being a limited run, with definitive end points on a timeline is the kind of control that Sheridan needs to keep to a tighter narrative.”
While this seemed to be the consensus (yet another poster says, “1883 and 1923 (for now) seem to have a clear direction. Yellowstone doesn’t,”) it certainly wasn’t the only opinion.
A dissenting voice proclaimed: “I’ve just finished Yellowstone – first show of this type I’ve watched, I loved it! I don’t think it’s stretched thin – the plot remains: the land is under attack and they are trying to defend it, and the interactions with the reservation are evolving too. The only thing I have against it is how awful Jamie has become but hoping the next episodes redeem him somehow.”
The truth of the argument is this: Yellowstone is great when it’s great, but there have been a few dips and those have come when the series seems to lack some direction. Season 4 is probably the best example. In our own list of every Yellowstone series ranked, we placed 1883 first, Yellowstone second, and 1923 third. 1883 is nothing less than brilliant.
While you make up your own mind, you can check out the six best Taylor Sheridan TV series and movies. Or, learn more about the status of the 1923 season 2 release date, as well as the Lawmen Bass Reeves release date, and 6666 release date.
If that’s not enough, you can read our explainers on characters like Jamie Dutton, Beth Dutton, and Rip Wheeler. Or, see our breakdown of the full Yellowstone timeline, before seeing our guidance on how to get over the fact that Yellowstone is breaking up with you.