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Writing and directing the entire season of “Yellowstone” wasn’t always the plan for Taylor Sheridan. When plans to bring in other people in both roles for Season 1 of the Paramount Network series fell through, Sheridan says that being behind the camera for all 10 episodes actually alleviated some of the standard stylistic pressures of a TV show’s first episode.
“A lot of times in TV, you build a world with a pilot and then you try and replicate that world. But since I was the producer and the director and the writer, I didn’t have to hold myself to what I had done,” Sheridan told IndieWire. “It allowed me to make changes visually as the thing evolved, that hopefully make it feel fresh and unexpected. So I think that was probably the best benefit of it, looking back.”
Point - Scene - Episode - Opening - Show
The point it evolves from, the first scene of the episode, is a jarring opening to a show juggling beauty and pain. A highway horse trailer collision leading to a mercy killing is an idea that came very early on in Sheridan’s conception of the show.
“It was the first scene I wrote. And I went from there,” Sheridan said. “I wanted to find a way to show the beauty and the violence and the connection and the visceral realities of moving out west, and I wanted to put it in a very concise moment and I felt that that encapsulated all those.”
Lifting - Family - Episode - Closes - Development
Along with the heavy lifting of introducing an entire family, this premiere episode closes with a surprising development: the murder of Lee Dutton (Dave Annable). Looking for a way to subvert audiences’ expectations, Sheridan wanted to frame the show’s opening around acquainting viewers with these characters, all while establishing the possibility that any of them could go anywhere once it ended.
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