Why Yellowstone Season 1 Is Rotten On Rotten Tomatoes & How It Turned Its 56% Failure Around

Yellowstone’s debut season faced intense scrutiny among top critics, but subsequent seasons would redeem the popular show and convert skeptics.


Yellowstone season 1 stumbled out of the gate with a rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, leaving some viewers and critics underwhelmed. However, this initial setback did not define the trajectory of the show. Despite the lukewarm reception, Yellowstone season 1 persevered, gradually winning over audiences. As the show progressed, it found its footing and began to garner critical acclaim, ultimately turning its 56 percent failure around.

Despite the early setbacks, Yellowstone season 1 laid the foundation for the captivating, hair-raising saga that would unfold in the following four seasons. The popular TV drama introduced audiences to the complex world of the Dutton family. Led by the charismatic Patriarch John Dutton, we see how their choices impact their relationships and lives. The show skillfully explores a compelling blend of political intrigue, cultural dynamics, and the rugged essence of the neo-Western genre, solidifying these elements as its defining trademarks.

The Problems With Yellowstone Season 1 & Why Critics Disliked It

When Yellowstone first premiered, it faced its fair share of challenges and received mixed reviews from critics. The show’s inaugural season struggled to find its footing and faced numerous issues that contributed to its lukewarm reception on Rotten Tomatoes. Of these issues, two stood out. The first and main criticism of Yellowstone season 1 was its slow pacing and meandering plot lines. Some viewers and critics found the narrative to be disjointed and lacking a clear direction, which made it difficult to invest fully in the characters and their storylines. In particular, the show established random, inconsequential conflicts that were difficult to follow and took away from the overall story.

Secondly, there were concerns about the show’s writing and character development in the first season. Some critics felt that the dialogue was often clunky and lacked depth, while others believed that certain characters were one-dimensional and lacked complexity. Dave Annable’s character, Lee Dutton, reinforced this idea. Despite being one of the three Dutton siblings, his vague introduction and, eventually, the ease with which his character was discarded left viewers and critics alike shrugging their shoulders. Like an afterthought, he was there one minute and gone the next.


When Yellowstone Gets “Good” & How Its Rotten Tomatoes Score Improved

Despite the initial challenges faced by Yellowstone season 1, the show made significant improvements in season 2, capturing the attention of a wider audience and gradually improving its Rotten Tomatoes score. As the series progressed into subsequent seasons, Yellowstone found its stride and began to address the significant criticisms it faced. The show’s pacing became tighter, focusing more on engaging storylines and character development. This shift allowed viewers to become more invested in the complex dynamics of the Dutton family and the conflict-filled world they inhabited.

The writing in Yellowstone also evolved, with sharper dialogue and a deeper exploration of the characters’ motivations and conflicts. The show started to balance its dramatic elements with more nuanced storytelling, appealing to a broader range of viewers. These improvements didn’t go unnoticed, and the Rotten Tomatoes score for Yellowstone significantly increased as the seasons progressed. The show’s quality continued to soar, with season 2 garnering an impressive 89 percent rating, followed by season 3’s perfect 100 percent. The show maintained high scores in its penultimate season with 91 percent and, in its final season (5), gained a fresh rating of 84 percent, thus solidifying its place as a critically acclaimed series.


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