Should 'Yellowstone' Let A Certain Hope Go Ahead Of Season 5?

Yellowstone John Dutton Kevin Costner Paramount Network
Paramount Network

On “Yellowstone,” none of its first family - the Duttons - would want to go where they are not wanted. Based on how the Emmys have treated Taylor Sheridan’s hit drama, that would include the tinsel-tour pageant. It is high time that the series, which Paramount Network switched from airing during the summer to a friendlier awards-season window in the fall - would be wise to heed.

“Yellowstone” is a massive pop culture sensation, and it has carved its way into the hearts and minds of viewers without needing the stamp of approval that awards season brings. It has done so with twisty characters that do not give an inch and grey characters other shows would have killed off many seasons ago. It is brave enough to wrestle with tough questions when others would prefer quick answers.

For another year, the Emmys ignored “Yellowstone” – completely. Yes, you read that correctly. And - no, you should not be surprised. It is not a shocker for those who continue to follow the nominations of the largely out-of-touch annual schmooze-fest. Despite huge ratings, growing critical praise, pivoting to a fall premiere window, and boasting a cast led by Kevin Costner - the Emmys have remained snobby.

The situation was so critical The New York Post took a breather from defending Amber Heard to notice. That is pretty telling, people. For them to take a break from supporting Heard speaks volumes. While “Yellowstone” hurt itself with a few of its Season 4 plot twists, it was still in a much more defendable position than Amber Heard at any point during Johnny Depp’s successful trial against her.

As for “Yellowstone” and its awards season hopes, it seems like a self-wrought curse. Rest assured that if yours truly likes a show, it seems destined to incur an awards season ice-cold shoulder. For context, “Bates Motel” and “The White Princess” both experienced it. Now, it is “Yellowstone’s” unfortunate turn up to bat. 

My ridiculous fan theory aside, there is a more logical explanation for why “Yellowstone” has gotten snubbed by the Emmys. “Yellowstone” is not the kind of show that the academy likes, let alone wants on television. It is not a costume drama (“Game of Thrones”), involves the drug trade (“Breaking Bad”), or is a smoking ad (“Mad Men”).

The rest of the math is a little complicated. Family politics drives “Game of Thrones” and conflicted and complex men in the latter two series. “Yellowstone” is a blast from the past in that it is a Western. It is also a response to timely real-world issues. The mind-blowingly brilliant “Squid Game” masterfully offered its own poignantly aching take to similar plights in 2021. It deservingly got nominated big-time.

Objectively speaking, “Yellowstone” leaned too heavily into Jimmy’s 30-something coming-of-age saga, Beth’s embitterment, and the Duttons’ stalled revenge against the conspirator(s) behind their would-be assassinations. After an explosive third season that seemed to hint Season 4 would be its greatest yet - the feeling of rolling downhill could not help being felt when it manifested. 

That being said, what the cast, direction, and “Yellowstone” writing team did still managed to be among the best TV saw in 2021. Even with a hand tied behind its back, “Yellowstone’s” aim remains as keen as Kayce Dutton fighting a bad glare. Last year, some contenders came on strong in the beginning only to waver later, while Season 4 of “Yellowstone” remained consistent. 

There will be “Yellowstone” fans who will rant and rave if they have even made it this far into this article. “Don’t watch if you are going to complain!” they will say. To which I respond, let us criticize the things we love because love means being honest. If “Yellowstone” were “just” a TV show, you would not be here clicking on articles about it, and you would not care the Emmys snubbed it.

I have made a point of ignoring the Emmys because it has infuriated me with its ignorance over the years. That means it matters to me on some level. I will admit it. I care. It would be great if “Yellowstone” were nominated and recognized by the Emmys. Due to politics, it feels doubtful that will ever happen. Of course, “Friday Night Lights” eventually got its much-deserved recognition. 

So, anything can happen. I wish “Yellowstone” would go back to its summer release schedule and forget trying to court the awards season with a fall release schedule. It is not worth it. Enjoy being the king of summer again, and stop letting awards shows have the power of knowing they matter enough to change the way you do business. John Dutton wouldn’t, and neither should you.


Thankfully, “Yellowstone” still has its 2022 SAG nomination for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series to fondly recall. Season 5 premieres Sunday, November 13, 2022, on Paramount Network. In the meantime, what do you think the hit drama should do about its awards season dilemma? Do you want it to return to its summertime roots? Or keep chasing awards glory with its fall release schedule? Sound off in the comments section below!