Yellowstone: the smash-hit TV show that exposed a cultural divide

The Kevin Costner-led drama is the most popular show on cable but has been mostly ignored by critics

Yellowstone, a violent drama about familial legacy and the tides of changes in the mountains of Montana, is the most-watched show on cable in the US, though depending on where you live, you might not know it.

The Paramount Network drama starring Kevin Costner as the stony, scheming owner of the largest contiguous ranch in the US drew over 11 million people for its fourth season finale earlier this month without streaming, ratings not seen since the heyday of such 2010s staples as Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, which were both broadly popular and critically feted. (The HBO fantasy epic’s sixth season, for example, averaged 10.61 million first-week viewers including streaming; AMC’s zombie apocalypse staple peaked in its fifth season from 2014-2015 with an average of 14.4 million viewers per episode).

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