Taylor Sheridan might not be a household name like Shonda Rhimes or Ryan Murphy, but he is gaining recognition in the TV industry. Known for creating the hit series Yellowstone, Sheridan has become a popular figure among middle America and fathers. Yellowstone, often referred to as the "red-state Game of Thrones," became the second most-watched show on television last year, second only to NFL football. Yellowstone has garnered a dedicated following, with fans proudly sporting merchandise and discussing the show with their parents. The series is set in rural Montana and revolves around the Dutton family, led by John Dutton, as they fight to maintain control of their Montana cattle ranch in a changing world.
The show draws parallels to HBO's Succession, as both focus on a ruthless patriarch battling to keep power in a technology-driven society. Aside from the success of Yellowstone, Sheridan has also created an expanding universe of spin-offs and shows. In 2021, he signed a multi-year development deal with Paramount reportedly worth $200 million. This deal has given rise to what is now known as the "Taylorverse," a collection of Sheridan-created programming. While some shows are standalone, like Tulsa King starring Sylvester Stallone and Lioness featuring Zoe Saldana, the majority of the Taylorverse consists of Yellowstone spin-offs, exploring the history of the Dutton family and showcasing fan-favorite characters. One of these spin-offs is 1883, a prequel series streaming on Paramount+.
It tells the story of how the Duttons ventured West on a wagon train and acquired the land that would become Yellowstone Ranch. While Tim McGraw and Faith Hill portray the original Duttons, the true hero of the show is Isabel May's character, Elsa. She defies gender norms by wearing pants and proves herself as a skilled and fearless cowboy. However, despite this hint of female empowerment, the power ultimately remains in the hands of her father, James.
1883: Bass Reeves is another spin-off set to air on Paramount+. This series takes a different direction and focuses on Bass Reeves, a real-life African American lawman who is believed to have inspired The Lone Ranger. David Oyelowo will portray Reeves, and although details about the plot are still under wraps, it has been revealed that Cole Hauser, who plays Rip in Yellowstone, will make a cameo appearance, delighting Rip fans everywhere.
In summary, Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone has become a cultural phenomenon and the most-watched show on television, drawing comparisons to both Game of Thrones and Succession. With a lucrative deal from Paramount, Sheridan has created an expansive cinematic universe known as the "Taylorverse," including spin-offs like 1883 and 1883: Bass Reeves. These shows provide further exploration of the Dutton family's history and introduce new compelling characters.