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‘Yellowstone’ Season 5 Has An Insane Critic-Audience Score Gap, Opposite Of What You’d Think


Yellowstone season 5 has debuted with a double episode premiere this past week, which set ratings records and cemented the show as one of the most popular in the US. But not everyone is happy about the show’s return.

For a while now, there has been this narrative that “woke” critics don’t like this “conservative” series about mostly white cowboys in Montana, and yet that is generally…not reality. In fact, critics have usually liked Yellowstone quite a lot, especially recent seasons, though something is really, really out of whack this season, for some reason. While Rotten Tomatoes critic scores are as high as they’ve ever been, audience scores have plummeted to a level never before seen with the show. Something has people mad. See if you can spot the odd season out here:

  • Yellowstone Season 1 – 55% critics, 83% audiences
  • Yellowstone Season 2 – 88% critics, 91% audiences
  • Yellowstone Season 3 – 100% critics, 85% audiences
  • Yellowstone Season 4 – 90% critics, 79% audiences
  • Yellowstone Season 5 – 100% critics, 28% audiences

Whoa uh okay hold on there. What happened? Audience scores have collapsed for season 5 of Yellowstone, a show I would never have imagined would be “review bombed,” and I am actually not seeing this on IMDB, where audience ratings for the first two episodes are a decent 8.5 and 8.4. So what are RT critical audience reviewers saying? I cannot seem to find a common thread:

“Tired. It should have ended at the end of last season. Feels same old, same old v5.1 I’m hopeful future episodes are a big improvement- they’ll have to be. I caught myself checking the time several times hoping it would be over soon. One good laugh about FB though.”

“Yellowstone has now become Dallas. Beth is Alexis Carrington. Kayce is the only saving grace. The rest are soap opera cartoons. Taylor Sheridan must have too many projects and is phoning in this show relying on tired plotlines. First 4 seasons were so much better”

“The show continues its slide into low grade melodrama soap opera seen in previous seasons. Keep hoping for more, but not a good start w/ this season. Taylor, you may reconsider your stance on that writers room and its existence. Come on dude, you are stretched too thin .. admit it, and go hire some writers.”

“Season 5 off to a terrible start. Did the writers run out of material? Two hours of re-run plot lines, with it’s signature mail-in-moment being Beth at the bar verbally undressing some guy. We get it. There is no maturation…good or bad…in these characters. The characters are saying the same old things…doing the same old things…becoming incredibly predictable. We love Yellowstone, but these first two hours were D-R-Y.”

People just…don’t like the writing? It’s boring? Still, I don’t really understand the severe drop off here, as lord knows Season 4 was excruciating compared to the first three seasons, and fans still liked that decently enough. Granted, these scores may increase over time, but this is significant, and something showrunner Taylor Sheridan may want to dig deeper into.

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