Are Western TV Shows Making a Comeback?

Western TV shows are making a comeback. Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of shows such as Yellowstone and its two prequel shows, 1883 and 1923, western TV shows have made a big comeback since 2018 and Taylor Sheridan is a large reason for this. The creator of the Yellowstone franchise, Sheridan, took a genre that’s been around since the beginning of television but had gone dormant in recent years, and brought it back to life.

What makes a western TV show so popular is the diversity it brings in terms of storylines. There is no right or wrong way to make a western as long as it involves the basic outline of what is expected from the genre. It needs to be set in the west, there should be ranches and a lack of suburbs, cities, and busy types, and the characters should embrace the western way. Here are a few reasons why the genre is conquering TV once more.

The Popularity of the Yellowstone Universe Helped Revive The GenreYellowstone Cast

Yellowstone’s creator, Sheridan, changed the landscape of television with the creation of Yellowstone, and there is no one reason why it works so well. From the no-nonsense lack of warmth that Kevin Costner’s John Dutton emanates to the sharp, cruel tongue of Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) that cuts right through you but still earns your respect even more, to the quiet and strong personality that is Rip (Cole Houser), it all works undeniably well. Each character brings something unique to the show, and Sheridan crafted them each perfectly. Individually, they work well. Together, these characters and their story of the Yellowstone Ranch are magic.

Taylor Sheridan reignited the western genre comeback in 2018 with Yellowstone, and the show’s success opened ample doors for the creator. He saw an opening in the genre, and he went full-throttle with the creation of 1883, the first spin-off of the Yellowstone franchise. This show follows the lives of John Dutton’s ancestors, who fought their way into Montana to create the largest ranch in the state. When 1883 was an instant success, Sheridan saw a green light to keep going. Sheridan created yet another Yellowstone spinoff with 1923, starring Harrison Ford and Dame Helen Mirren, and the show was even bigger than 1883. These three Taylor Sheridan TV shows gave new meaning to the western genre and caused a significant surge in viewers’ interest in the stories.

The Genre’s Flexibility Helped Make Western TV Shows So Popular

Yellowstone's John Dutton and Summer Higgins

One of the reasons western movies and TV shows are so popular is because of everything the genre offers. For instance, Westerns might serve as an escape for many Americans who live busy, bustling lifestyles and want to focus on something simpler. The West is about land, ranches, and a simple life that’s drastically different from the busy lives many people lead. Westerns are also the cornerstone genre of American television and movies because of the nostalgic storyline.

However, what has really made the western TV show genre so popular throughout the years is the simple way it’s blended with other genres. No two westerns are the same. Some are comedies, while others are dramatic. Yellowstone is dramatic, but the characters are also spectacularly sarcastic. Thanks to the flexibility of the genre, we have Space westerns, spaghetti westerns, noir westerns, and more; there is a western for almost everyone interested in watching one that fits their personal preferences.

Read Next: How Far Should Yellowstone Go?

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