Paramount Orders a Second Season of '1923,' the Latest 'Unrelentingly Grim' Expansion to Taylor Sheridan's 'Yellowstone' Universe
The most recent series to explore what Sheridan sees as perhaps the most dangerous place on Earth premiered to a record 7.4 million viewers back in December
While some in the travel industry (opens in new tab) rank Montana among the safest places in the world, it may not be the sanctuary of national monuments and stunning natural beauty we soft, naive, feeble tourists have come to think it is.
At least Taylor Sheridan -- now safely classified in quickie trade articles like this one as an "uber-producer" -- seems to believe this notion. Whether it's in fact real conviction or not, Sheridan is now creating meaningful investor wealth by regularly portraying this awe-inspiring place as a highly dangerous rural cesspool with a seedy white-hot underbelly of brutal, hot-headed, gun-toting men -- and women -- bent on self-preservation and revenge at all cost.
The latest prequel series to Sheridan's wildly popular Yellowstone, 1923, was just renewed by Paramount Friday for a second season, following a record-breaking premiere in December, during which it drew a same-day audience of 7.4 million viewers across Paramount Plus subscription streaming and Paramount's various cable TV platforms.
The spinoff stars Harrison Ford as the latest Dutton family patriarch to emerge in the origin-story timeline, alongside Helen Mirren, who plays his wife.
David Glasser, the former Weinstein Co. COO recently portrayed briefly and not so affectionately by actor Jason Babinsky in the award-winning She Said, an indie film focusing on the exploits of Glasser's former boss, executive produces 1923 alongside Sheridan.
So yeah, this particular origin story has plenty of star power.
Just like the Duttons -- the YCU's (Yellowstone Cinematic Universe) ranch-owning family who tirelessly fights off an endless list of craven encroachers -- Sheridan can't miss.
In December 2021, the first Yellowstone spinoff, 1883, debuted to what had been the biggest audience yet for the then nascent Paramount Plus. Starring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, the tragic death of the show's young protagonist and narrator, played by Isabel May, limited the scope of 1883.
But Sheridan's upcoming Bass Reeves, which stars David Oyelowo as the titular legendary Black lawman, is in effect a spinoff of 1883.
Outside of the YCU, Sheridan's Mayor of Kingstown stars the provenly durable Jeremy Renner as a powerbroker in a Michigan prison town. It's awaiting what seems like an inevitable season 3 renewal on Paramount Plus.
Meanwhile, Sheridan's Tulsa King, starring Sylvester Stallone as an aging, exiled mobster, just completed a boffo first-season run on Par+ and is also getting a second campaign.
Paramount, of course, has been wise to hook its wagons to the square-jawed and highly prolific Sheridan, once a bit-playing actor on FX biker series Sons of Anarchy, who has revealed his own knack for creating Kurt Sutter-esque sudsy macho melodrama ... times 100.
Truly, it's gotten to the point in which Sheridan regularly gets several paragraphs' worth of shoutouts in Paramount Global earnings transcripts (opens in new tab). That's a level that only mega-paid creatives like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy have ascended to. It can be now said that Sheridan has even transcended that rung.
Paramount, of course, made one mistake -- licensing exclusive streaming repeats of Yellowstone to NBCUniversal and Peacock before the series and its creator blew up.
Yellowstone, which stars Kevin Costner as the modern Dutton patriarch, just completed its season 5 run on Paramount's linear cable channels. It will debut its highly anticipated streaming run shortly on Peacock, a platform with a sudden emergence -- doubling paid users in a year to 20 million -- that can directly be tied to Sheridan's seminal offering.
Indeed, Sheridan has been outstanding for business ... and largely great for viewers and critics, with Rotten Tomatoes aggregating 1923 at a solid 89%.
And why not.
Truth be told, Next TV sometimes finds the African lion-hunting exploits of the swashbuckling Spencer Dutton (actor Brandon Sklenar) a little non sequitur and silly ... but it all somehow dramatically works to create one darned entertaining show. And with 1923 set to end a first-season hiatus that started back on Jan. 8, we'll be streaming Paramount Plus on Sunday, Feb. 5 to watch episode 5. (We have to chase HBO's The Last of Us with something before we go to bed.)
But again, it's the grit that permeates all of Sheridan's shows that catches our eye. And it's Yellowstone and its progeny that stand out most.
I mean, come on, really? The home of Yogi and Boo-Boo Bear is such an unforgiving place, full of true psychopaths, like modern Dutton family henchman Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauster), who will make your next pic-a-nic basket your last if you're not real careful?
Seriously, read the reviews (opens in new tab) -- the words "unrelenting" and "grim" come up a lot.
We'll keep watching whatever Sheridan puts in front of us, but might just take our kids to Yosemite this year instead.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!