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The Lowest-Rated Season Of Yellowstone May Surprise You

If there's a more surprising success story in the cable TV realm these days than Paramount Network's modern Western saga "Yellowstone," we haven't heard of it. That's not a knock against the series, but more of an acknowledgment that few could have predicted just how big of a hit "Yellowstone" has turned out to be. Taylor Sheridan and co-creator John Linson clearly hit on a formula that TV viewers had been aching to see, which is evidenced not just by the fact that the show is a legit ratings powerhouse, but also by its burgeoning status as a cultural touchstone in recent years.

Those years have seen Sheridan and his crack "Yellowstone" cast (fronted by screen icon Kevin Costner) deliver four full seasons of power-grabbing, cattle-rustling, shoot-em-up melodrama the likes of which the small screen has rarely seen. And they've only got more Western-tinged chaos on the way, with "Yellowstone" Season 5 already well in the works. If you count yourself among the masses who've devoured all four seasons of "Yellowstone" to date, then you know they're not all created equal. But it'll likely surprise you to learn which season of "Yellowstone" currently boasts the lowest critic's score on Rotten Tomatoes.  

Season 1 of Yellowstone is the series' lowest-rated yet

No, the lowest-rated season of "Yellowstone" is not the recently aired fourth. That may come as a surprise, as many fans found Season 4 either too slowly-paced or altogether uneventful. Despite those criticisms, the most recent run of "Yellowstone" was still a hit with critics, whose reviews gave the slow-burning season a solid 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But as it is, Season 4's 77% viewer rating does make it the lowest-rated amongst the series fanbase. And if you're looking for the last-place season of "Yellowstone" according to critics, look no further than Season 1.

That's a surprise indeed, as Season 1 of "Yellowstone" is obviously the one that helped make the show a bona fide hit. While viewers gave the inaugural season a respectable 83% score, critics were far harsher, dropping a rotten 53% rating on those first nine episodes. As for what turned the critics off to Season 1 of "Yellowstone," the consensus is that the tone was just too melodramatic. Sheridan and company clearly did something right for Season 2, which vaulted the series up to an 88% critics rating. And as for the moody 3rd season of "Yellowstone," it was pretty much perfect in the eyes of the critics, and scored an immaculate 100%

As for Season 1's doghouse status, like every season of "Yellowstone," it's hardly without its issues. But it remains a breathless table-setter of a season that critical naysayers would likely find quite rewarding on second viewing.