Should You Watch ‘Yellowstone’ or ‘1883’ First?

by Liz Holland

The Paramount+ series “1883” hit the air last week. The show serves as a prequel to the “Yellowstone” series that so many fans know and love. Even though “1883” takes place before “Yellowstone”, “Yellowstone” was released first. For those of you who have yet to see either show, you may be wondering which to watch first. Although there are no rules to follow, and no real clear answer to this dilemma, there certainly seems to be a fan preference.

“1883” has been criticized by some “Yellowstone” TV fans who find the show to be unexciting. On the subject of which show should be watched first, reddit user ohhjeezlouise says, “I would say ‘Yellowstone’ first. ‘1883’ is a beautiful show so far, but I think you have more appreciation and curiosity if you know the ‘Yellowstone’ backstory.”

Another said “Yellowstone” should be watched first because “1883” is a “snoozefest.” 

‘Yellowstone’ Fans Share Mixed Feelings Online

“Yellowstone” fans on Instagram seem to agree. Under the most recent post regarding the new series on the official Yellowstone account, many fans are asking for the social media channel to quit posting about the new show. One follower commented, “They’ve pushed this so much I can’t stand to watch it.” 

However, it’s understandable that the show is promoting its new spin-off. While some feel that “1883” is not as action-packed quite yet, things should heat up as the series moves forward. Meanwhile, plenty of die-hard “Yellowstone” fans are loving the new spin-off. One fan commented on Instagram, “Tim McGraw is SO good in this series and Faith too! Love them both!!” Another wrote, “I seriously did not expect this show to be so good. I’ll watch anything with Sam Elliott but I really didn’t expect this.”

Another fan pointed out that they find “1883” to be better and less censored than “Yellowstone”. They say that “[1883] gives you the true wild west vibes”. They added that they were certain more people had been killed in the first two episodes of “1883” than in the entire Season 4 of “Yellowstone.”

Spinoff ‘1883’ Serves as A Beautiful Backstory

Tim McGraw, who stars in the show as James Dutton, says “Yellowstone” fans will love “1883”. In a recent interview with Deadline, the actor shares how he thinks fans will receive the new show.

“I think the show will stand on its own and you’ll love it if you watch Yellowstone or you will go and watch Yellowstone to see the continuation of the story,” McGraw says. “But here you’ll see the gene pool of the Dutton family and the correlation between the original family to the modern Yellowstone Dutton family. You’ll see where the toughness, the stubbornness, the dedication to family comes from.”

When it comes to the popular choice for which show to watch first, Yellowstone seems to take the crown. Many “Yellowstone” fans say it’s necessary in order to be able to appreciate “1883”.  However, some say that watching “1883” first is better, as it allows the viewer to follow the storyline in a completely chronological way. To find out for yourself, you can watch “Yellowstone” if you have a Hulu+ Live TV subscription, or on the new Peacock streaming service. “1883” is available on Paramount and Paramount+.