Tag Archives: Josh Holloway

TV Watch: Yellowstone

 

What is known today as the Paramount Network has a long and winding history in cable television.

Founded way back in 1983, it was known originally as “The Nashville Network“, with programming geared around a country music theme through 2000. Over the next few years, the network changed names a number of times in an attempt to lure a younger audience.

In 2003, the network changed its name to “Spike TV“, moving away from the country genre and instead gearing its programming directly to a male audience. It eventually settled in as just plain, old “Spike” from 2006-18, with another change in 2010 emphasizing reality programming.

On January 18, 2018 the network re-launched as “Paramount Network“, moving its headquarters to the Paramount Pictures studio lot in Hollywood. The parent company, Viacom, is hoping to position it as a direct competitor to networks such as FX and AMC by highlighting original programming.

Much as AMC did with “Mad Men” in 2007 and “Breaking Bad” the following year, Paramount is hoping that its first original drama will catch the attention of viewers. That drama is “Yellowstone“, and as with those now classic AMC offerings, it absolutely hits the mark.

Yellowstone” initially drew me in with the star power of two-time Oscar winning motion picture legend Kevin Costner as the lead actor.

Now 64-years-old, Costner plays John Dutton, owner of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, a cattle ranch which is billed as “the largest contiguous ranch in the United States.” Dutton is also patriarch of a clan that includes his three children and a grandson.

Kayce Dutton is played by Luke Grimes. A former U.S. Navy Seal who lives on a neighboring Indian reservation as the series opens with his Native American wife, Monica, and their young son, Tate. Many will remember Grimes from his roles in the film “Sniper“, as well as the “Fifty Shades” film series and ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters” series.

Wes Bentley portrays the other son, Jamie Dutton. He is a lawyer and politician who finds himself alternately loyal to and at odds with his family. Bentley is a familiar face who has starred in a number of high-profile roles, including in the “American Horror Story” series on AMC, as well as in films such as “American Beauty“, “Interstellar“, and “The Hunger Games.

Jamie is most frequently at odds with his sister, John’s lone daughter, Beth Dutton, played in an often scene-stealing role by Kelly Reilly. A veteran and acclaimed English actress, Reilly may be best known to American audiences for her role as Vince Vaughn’s wife in the second season of “True Detective” on HBO.

The fiery redhead is the financier of the brood and the most fiercely loyal to her father. However, she also flaunts her sexuality, and has a substance abuse issue which frequently overpowers her common sense.

Cole Hauser has a pivotal role as Rip Wheeler. A true cowboy in every sense, Rip is the longtime head of the Yellowstone ranch hands and a sometimes lover of Beth. He is the single most loyal person at the entire operation to John, the quintessential go-to guy who will literally do anything for his boss, and who is almost considered a fourth sibling.

The drams centers around the interactions of the main characters with one another, as well as their wider interpersonal and professional relationships. However, there is also much happening with the show’s other leading character as well – that being the ranch itself.

Set among the vast natural beauty of Montana and Utah, the Yellowstone Ranch is the center of a number of conflicts involving the neighboring ‘Broken Rock’ tribal Indian reservation, land developers looking to build homes and casinos, and the government looking to preserve and police the Yellowstone National Park.

David Hale, who portrayed a squeaky-clean deputy sheriff in the series “Sons of Anarchy” on FX, created this new series and directed all of the episodes in the first season, which premiered in June 2018. Season two then debuted almost exactly a year later.

The series has been renewed now for a third season, likely coming in early summer of 2020, and the already fantastic cast will be getting some new star power as well.

Josh Holloway, known to most for his award-winning role as James “Sawyer” Ford on the ABC drama “Lost” comes on board as an ambitious hedge fund manager.

Also joining the cast will be three-time Emmy Award-winning actress Jennifer Landon, daughter of famed star Michael Landon. She will portray a new female wrangler at the ranch.

In a wide-ranging interview with Mike Fleming Jr for Deadline back in May 2019, Costner commented on his role with “Yellowstone” moving forward:

“Yellowstone moves fast, and sometimes I am not privy to where it’s all going. It keeps with the promise you make, to create images and words that you never, ever forget. That’s what happens when movies are at their best.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oT-PGjlNM-c

This is cinematic caliber television at its very best. Gorgeous landscapes framed beautifully serve as the backdrop for top-caliber acting at nearly every turn, and a major star as the series lead.

“Yellowstone” is television as it should be, and I highly recommend it for anyone who has not yet enjoyed the first two seasons and 19 episodes. You can stream them here at the Paramount Network website for free by logging in through your cable provider.

 

 

 

 

 

TV Watch: LOST

For the past few years, as I would be watching something on the ABC television network, I would constantly see commercials for “LOST”, a program that I had never actually viewed myself.

Over time I would hear numerous friends and family members talk about this show, see and hear references to it in popular culture, and wonder what all the fascination was about.

Sometime late last spring I decided to do something about it. I signed up for the ‘Netflix’ service and began to receive DVD’s of “LOST” beginning with the pilot episode. That first introduction to this new series was a revelation. The production value for a pilot episode of a TV program was equal to what you would normally expect to find at a movie theatre in a motion picture. I was hooked.

There is a very famous anonymous quote that goes: “For those who know, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, none will suffice.” Suffice it to say this quote applies perfectly to the “LOST” experience. If you have never watched the show, I cannot recommend it more highly. You can catch up as I did through Netflix, or via any number of internet resources.

I became addicted to the program, rifling through episode after episode, eagerly awaiting the next DVD shipment and then devouring the four episodes that it contained. Waiting days for the next shipment was at times grueling. That is the nature of the show. It is high quality, and it is highly addictive.

Tonight on ABC, “LOST” begins it’s final season run. The producers and writers have promised that all of our questions regarding the show will finally and fully be answered. It’s stars have begun making the rounds on talk shows and in magazines trumpeting the season. Fans like me have been waiting and waiting for the beginning of the end, and tonight it finally arrives.

For the uninitiated, “LOST” is the story of the survivors of the crash of an airliner, Oceanic Flight 815 onto the beach and into the waters just off of a tropical island. It follows their struggles to recover after the crash, to organize themselves, to explore the island, and ultimately to overcome what turn out to be numerous challenges, some human, some mystical, some mysterious.

There are initially 71 human survivors from what were 324 people on board, as well as a dog who survives, spread across 3 sections of the aircraft wreckage. That first season saw 14 regular speaking parts, making it the largest ensemble program in television history, and enabling the show to establish numerous relationship pairings and conflicts. From that very first season the show was not afraid to kill off major characters, and it has never been beyond introducing new ones.

New characters are brought on to the program in a variety of manners over the years. Remember, there were 71 survivors and only 14 initial speaking roles, so plenty of room to begin to introduce others as main or secondary characters. The show also establishes early on that it will explore the main characters past lives leading them up to the crash, so it will frequently ‘flashback’ to a character’s life and experiences prior to the island.

Series creators J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Jeffrey Lieber envisioned a story line involving drama, fantasy, adventure, and a touch of science fiction. What they have achieved is simply a television masterpiece. Though the high quality of production and the strong writing are the backbone of the show, it is the actors that make us ultimately suspend belief, that make us feel this could really happen. That make us care.

Matthew Fox is the show’s leading man, playing Dr. Jack Shephard, a man who has struggled in life with his relationships, particularly with his father Dr. Ben Shephard, played in a recurring role by John Terry. The balance to Jack’s complicated heroic character is that of John Locke, played by Terry O’Quinn. Josh Holloway stars as bad boy and hunk James ‘Sawyer’ Ford. Evangeline Lilly plays the surprising Kate Austen, who ultimately is locked in a love triangle with Jack and Sawyer.

Also in the mix are Naveen Andrews as Sayid Jarrah, a former member of Iraq’s Republican Guard. Emilie de Raven plays the very beautiful and very pregnant Claire Littleton. Dominic Monaghan plays her sometimes protector, rock star Charlie Pace. Jorge Garcia is rotund lottery winner Hugo ‘Harley’ Reyes. Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim play Korean married couple Jin-Soo and Sun-Hwa Kwan.

These characters, a host of other survivors, and others who have been on the island previously or who eventually are also drawn to the island end up being challenged by one another, a deadly ‘smoke monster’, a mysterious underground research facility, a doomsday clock, time travel and displacement, their own personal fears and demons, and ultimately get caught up in a struggle between good and evil themselves.

Like every group of people, be they family, friends, co-workers, teammates, or survivors of a plane crash, there are many facets to each of the character’s personalities. There is good and bad in each and every one of them, and over the first five seasons they have each had their personal demons exposed and their motivations explored. Despite all of the mythology, religious undertones, and the supernatural, it is these human stories that make “LOST” the quality drama that it is at it’s core.

The lush paradise of Hawaii provides the gorgeous and mysterious island that is itself a character in the program. In one of the early shows, Charlies asks the question that grows on everyone’s mind: “Where are we?” The answer is yet to be revealed, with speculation ranging from a simple island in the middle of the ocean to a sort of purgatory between Heaven and Hell.

Not since “The Sopranos” has a television series captured my imagination this way. In sifting through the hundreds of channels and thousands of hours of programming junk, there is much to like about television today, particularly on cable networks.

“LOST” is that very rare thing today, a blockbuster program from one of the old school networks that actually lives up to the hype. I can’t wait to welcome back the characters, and start to uncover the mysteries of “LOST” beginning tonight.

NOTE: This is a continuation of the “TV Watch” series, all entries of which can be viewed by clicking on that Tag below this article