Yellowjackets (TV series)

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Yellowjackets
Yellowjackets.jpg
Genre
Created by
Starring
Music by
Opening theme"No Return" by Craig Wedren and Anna Waronker[a]
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10
Production
Executive producers
  • Jonathan Lisco
  • Ashley Lyle
  • Bart Nickerson
  • Drew Comins
  • Karyn Kusama
Production locationsVancouver, British Columbia
Cinematography
  • Julie Kirkwood
  • C. Kim Miles
  • Trevor Forrest
  • Shasta Spahn
Editors
  • Plummy Tucker
  • Kevin D. Ross
  • Jeff Israel
  • Kindra Marra
  • Damien Smith
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time56–58 minutes
Production companies
DistributorParamount Global Content Distribution
Release
Original networkShowtime
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseNovember 14, 2021 (2021-11-14) –
present (present)

Yellowjackets is an American thriller drama television series created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson. It stars an ensemble cast led by Sophie Nélisse, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sophie Thatcher, Sammi Hanratty, Liv Hewson, and Courtney Eaton as a group of teenagers involved in a plane crash in 1996, with Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, Lauren Ambrose, and Simone Kessell portraying their adult counterparts. Ella Purnell, Steven Krueger, Warren Kole, and Kevin Alves also star.

The series premiered on Showtime on November 14, 2021. It received critical acclaim for its story and cast performances. Its accolades include seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series and acting nominations for Lynskey and Ricci. In December 2021, the series was renewed for a second season, which is set to premiere on March 26, 2023.[4] In December 2022, the series was renewed for a third season.[5]

Premise[edit]

In 1996, a team of New Jersey high school girls’ soccer players travel to Seattle for a national tournament. While flying over Canada, their plane crashes deep in the wilderness and the surviving team members are left stranded for nineteen months. The series chronicles their attempts to stay alive while also tracking their current lives in 2021.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

From left to right: Adult Misty, Ben Scott, Teenage Misty, Adult and Teenage Taissa, Adult and Teenage Natalie, Adult and Teenage Shauna, Jackie, and Jeff
  • Melanie Lynskey and Sophie Nélisse as the adult and teenage versions of Shauna Shipman. In high school, Shauna was Jackie's best friend and was having an affair with Jeff. She was accepted into Brown University prior to the crash. After the crash, Shauna immediately adapts to life in the wilderness and becomes close friends with Taissa. As an adult, Shauna is married to Jeff, but is dissatisfied with her life as a stay-at-home mother and has a strained relationship with her rebellious daughter Callie.
  • Tawny Cypress and Jasmin Savoy Brown as the adult and teenage versions of Taissa Turner. In high school, Taissa was determined to win the national championship by any means necessary. She injures fellow teammate Allie during soccer practice, whom she thought was not good enough for the tournament. After the crash, she begins dating Vanessa and becomes close friends with Shauna. As an adult, Taissa is married to Simone and is running for the New Jersey state senate, but begins having problems with her unstable son Sammy.
  • Ella Purnell as Jackie Taylor. In high school, Jackie was the captain of the Yellowjackets soccer team, Shauna's best friend and Jeff's girlfriend. She was accepted into Rutgers University prior to the crash. After the crash, Jackie has the most difficulty adapting to life in the wilderness and her leadership skills are called into question. She develops a hostile rivalry with Natalie and begins to doubt her friendship with Shauna.
  • Steven Krueger as Ben Scott, the assistant coach of the Yellowjackets soccer team. His leg is mangled in the wreckage of the crash and Misty severs it to save his life. While being taken care of by Misty, Ben has to simultaneously deal with his injury and the fact that he is the only adult who survived the crash.
  • Warren Kole as Jeff Sadecki. In high school, Jeff was Jackie's boyfriend, but was cheating on her with Shauna prior to the crash. As an adult, he is married to Shauna and owns a furniture store.
  • Christina Ricci and Sammi Hanratty as the adult and teenage versions of Misty Quigley. In high school, Misty was the equipment manager of the Yellowjackets soccer team. She is frequently bullied and shunned by her peers, who see her as creepy and weird. After the crash, Misty demonstrates knowledge useful for survival and develops a crush on Coach Ben. As an adult, she is a care facility nurse and a ruthless manipulator of others.
  • Juliette Lewis and Sophie Thatcher as the adult and teenage versions of Natalie "Nat" Scatorccio. In high school, Natalie was labeled a "burnout" due to her drug and alcohol abuse, though she cares little about what people think of her. After the crash, Natalie proves to be the most proficient with the hunting rifle and begins dating Travis. As an adult, she returns to New Jersey after finishing a rehab program paid for by Taissa, but struggles to maintain sobriety.
  • Lauren Ambrose (season 2) and Liv Hewson (recurring season 1; main, season 2) as the adult and teenage versions of Vanessa "Van" Palmer. In high school, Vanessa was the goalkeeper of the Yellowjackets soccer team. After the crash, she begins dating Taissa.
  • Simone Kessell (season 2) and Courtney Eaton (recurring season 1; main, season 2) as the adult and teenage versions of Lottie Matthews, a member of the Yellowjackets soccer team who suffers from schizophrenia. After the crash, she begins to experience disturbing visions when she runs out of her medication and becomes close friends with Laura Lee.
  • Kevin Alves as the teenage version of Travis Martinez (recurring season 1; main, season 2), Coach Martinez's elder son and Javi's brother. After the crash, he begins dating Natalie.

Recurring[edit]

Peter Gadiot at the ATX Television Festival presentation of the TV show "Queen of the South".
Peter Gadiot has a recurring role in the first season as Adam Martin.
  • Rekha Sharma as Jessica Roberts (season 1), a fake reporter investigating the survivors of the crash.
  • Jane Widdop as Laura Lee (season 1), a deeply religious member of the Yellowjackets soccer team. After the crash, she becomes close friends with Lottie.
  • Alexa Barajas as Mari, a sarcastic member of the Yellowjackets soccer team.
  • Keeya King as Akilah, a member of the Yellowjackets soccer team who is knowledgeable of edible plants.
  • Sarah Desjardins as Callie Sadecki, Jeff and Shauna's daughter.
  • Rukiya Bernard as Simone Abara, Taissa's wife.
  • Aiden Stoxx as Sammy Abara-Turner, Taissa and Simone's son.
  • Peter Gadiot as Adam Martin, an artist who has an affair with Shauna after they have a minor auto collision.
  • Alex Wyndham as Kevyn Tan. In high school, he was best friends with Natalie prior to the crash. As an adult, he works as a police officer.
  • Luciano Leroux as Javi Martinez, Coach Martinez's younger son, Travis's brother and the youngest survivor of the crash.

Guest[edit]

  • Jack DePew as the teenage version of Jeff Sadecki
  • Charlie Wright as the teenage version of Kevyn Tan
  • Gabrielle Rose as Mrs. Taylor, Jackie's mother.
  • Carlos Sanz as Coach Bill Martinez, the head coach of the Yellowjackets soccer team and Travis and Javi's father.
  • Tonya Cornelisse and Pearl Amanda Dickson as the adult and teenage versions of Allie Stevens. In high school, Allie was the only freshman on the Yellowjackets soccer team. Her leg was broken by Taissa during soccer practice and was unable to participate in the tournament.

Episodes[edit]

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110November 14, 2021 (2021-11-14)January 16, 2022 (2022-01-16)
2TBAMarch 26, 2023 (2023-03-26)[4]TBA

Season 1 (2021–22)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Pilot"Karyn KusamaAshley Lyle & Bart NickersonNovember 14, 2021 (2021-11-14)[b]0.246[7]
The Yellowjackets are a high school soccer team planning a trip to Seattle for a national tournament in 1996. During practice, Taissa tackles Allie, an up-and-coming freshman, and breaks Allie's leg. At a party, Shauna says Allie can no longer travel to Seattle to participate in the tournament because of her injury. Shauna tries to start a fight with Taissa but is stopped by Jackie, the soccer team captain. On the day of the trip, the team boards a private plane that crashes and leaves the survivors stranded in the wilderness for 19 months. During that time, some members joined forces as cannibalistic clans. In 2021, Shauna is approached by Jessica Roberts, a fake journalist, while Taissa has launched a campaign for state senator and Misty is employed as a geriatric nurse. Natalie has completed rehab and decided to "reconnect with some old friends".
22"F Sharp"Jamie TravisJonathan Lisco & Ashley Lyle & Bart NickersonNovember 21, 2021 (2021-11-21)0.168[8]
Misty uses her advanced knowledge of first aid to provide care to the injured after the plane crash. She saves the life of Ben Scott, the assistant coach, by amputating and cauterizing his mangled leg. Travis discovers his father's dead body impaled on a tree branch. Misty proves to be an essential part of the team by demonstrating vital survival skills. And while reveling in the attention and appreciation from the others that this brings her, in a moment of profound self-interest, she destroys the plane's emergency locator transmitter after finding it by chance. In 2021, Shauna and her husband, Jeff, are advised by a therapist to rekindle the passion in their relationship by exploring their sexual fantasies. Shauna meets an intriguing stranger named Adam after she rear-ends his car. Natalie holds Misty at gunpoint in an attempt to find out who sent her a postcard with an ominous symbol from their past.. When it becomes clear that all of the survivors have received the same card, Misty and Natalie embark on a road trip to find Travis. Taissa is concerned about the disturbing drawings her son Sammy has been making.
33"The Dollhouse"Eva SørhaugSarah L. ThompsonNovember 28, 2021 (2021-11-28)0.210[9]
Three days in, Taissa convinces the group to hike towards a nearby lake. As tensions grow between them, the group discovers an abandoned cabin and finds a dead body in the attic which they later bury. In 2021, Taissa's political opponent Phil Bathurst airs a campaign ad insinuating that she is a cannibal. Taissa's concerns for Sammy grow after he purposely hurts a child at a playground. Shauna follows her husband to a hotel, where she runs into Adam and spots Jeff with another woman. Shauna and Adam are later shown to go to a hotel room together. Meanwhile, Misty and Natalie find Travis's dead body at a ranch and conclude that someone has murdered him.
44"Bear Down"Deepa MehtaLiz PhangDecember 5, 2021 (2021-12-05)0.161[10]
The group finds a gun with a plentiful supply of ammo inside the cabin and experiments with shooting, whereby Natalie and Travis prove to be the best suited to handle the firearm. They bond as they hunt a deer and recover a keepsake ring from the buried body of Travis' father. In a flashback, it is revealed that Natalie's abusive father died in a gun discharge accident. The rest of the group finds a functional propeller aircraft. Shauna bonds with Travis' younger brother Javi. In 2021, Natalie meets with Kevyn, who is a police officer, and uses his affection for her to entice him to dig into Travis's murder. Taissa rejects an endorsement from a powerful potential donor when they try to probe into her past. Shauna and Adam begin an intimate affair with a crazy night, enacting Shauna's missed teen fantasies, while Adam is shown to probe for personal information on her. Misty has an encounter with Jessica while shadowing Nat and Kevyn. Misty calls Shauna to tell her that Travis is dead.
55"Blood Hive"Eva SørhaugAmeni RozsaDecember 12, 2021 (2021-12-12)0.295[11]
Lottie has run out of her medication to combat schizophrenia. Relationships form between Taissa and Van as well as Natalie and Travis. The group holds a seance in the attic where Lottie appears to become possessed. Ben is poisoned by Misty but does not die. In order to get her to leave him alone, Ben deceives Misty by saying he has feelings for her. Shauna tells Taissa that she is pregnant. In 2021, Taissa finds the word "spill" painted on the front door of her home. She confronts Sammy after discovering a container of paint in his room. Sammy denies doing so and blames "the lady in the tree". Later, with her political opponent attacks increasing, Taissa contemplates dropping out of the Senate race but decides not to. Shauna attends a Halloween party where her daughter Callie learns about Adam. The following day, Callie is unsuccessful in blackmailing Shauna. Natalie and Misty gain access to Kevyn's files, and they learn that a ritual was held where Travis was murdered. Natalie calls Taissa to her motel room, telling her what she has learned. They call Shauna to tell her but learn that Misty already informed her. Meanwhile, Misty watches them through a hidden camera.
66"Saints"Bille WoodruffChantelle M. WellsDecember 19, 2021 (2021-12-19)0.289[12]
In a flashback, Lottie distracts her parents mere seconds before another car is involved in a fatal accident. Shauna tells Taissa that the baby is Jeff's, Jackie's then-boyfriend. With Taissa's assistance, Shauna tries to perform a self-induced abortion but ultimately decides not to. Lottie begins having hallucinations of a deer. She tells the religious Laura Lee and agrees to be baptized. Later, Natalie and Travis kill a maggot-infested deer. Laura concludes that Lottie is having premonitions. In 2021, Natalie and Taissa tell Shauna what happened to Travis. Taissa's wife Simone makes an appointment with a child psychologist who says Sammy has stress. Natalie and Kevyn grow feelings for one another and have sex. Misty kidnaps Jessica. Late at night, Taissa is revealed to be "the lady in the tree".
77"No Compass"Eva SørhaugKatherine KearnsDecember 26, 2021 (2021-12-26)0.327[13]
Taissa, Van, Misty, Akilah, and Mari agree to go on an expedition to find a way out of the wilderness. As they depart, Lottie tells Van that they will encounter a river of blood and red smoke. While walking, the group finds a red-colored river. Later, they are attacked by a pack of wolves. Taissa defends the group using a flare gun, but Van is severely wounded. Meanwhile, Shauna tells Jackie that she is pregnant but lies about who the father is. At night, Jackie reads Shauna's diary. In 2021, Natalie, Shauna, and Taissa agree to pay $50,000 to a blackmailer. After spotting the blackmailer, the group chases them. The blackmailer falls into a box of glitter during the pursuit before getting away. Misty questions Jessica, believing her to be the blackmailer. Jessica reveals she was hired by Taissa to learn about the rest of the group. Back home, Shauna has sex with Adam. In the morning, they are almost caught by Jeff. Kevyn learns that Natalie used his gun but she does not tell him about the blackmailer.
88"Flight of the Bumblebee"Ariel KleimanCameron Brent Johnson & Liz PhangJanuary 2, 2022 (2022-01-02)0.311[14]
After Van regains consciousness, the group returns to the cabin. Natalie and Travis stop seeing each other when he backs out during sex. Natalie talks to Ben, who offers relationship advice and reveals he is gay. Laura announces she will be flying the aircraft out of the wilderness. Upon ascent, however, it explodes. In 2021, Misty stops Natalie from relapsing and reveals the hidden camera in the process. Misty tells Natalie that someone withdrew all of the money from Travis' bank account after he died. The next day, Natalie tries to get information out of Suzie, an acquaintance who works in a bank. After Suzie refuses to cooperate, Natalie resorts to blackmail. Taissa tells Simone about her condition in which she becomes an entirely different person at night. Fearing she will hurt Sammy, she begs Simone to leave her alone in the house for a while. Shauna discovers that someone took all of her journals and she finds glitter in her closet. After learning that Adam is not who he says he is, Shauna goes to his apartment to question him.
99"Doomcoming"Daisy von Scherler MayerAmeni Rozsa & Sarah L. ThompsonJanuary 9, 2022 (2022-01-09)0.419[15]
The group organizes a homecoming party. Jackie and Travis have sex despite Travis saying he still has feelings for Natalie. Ben and Natalie leave the party to talk alone; Misty follows them. After Natalie leaves to find Travis, Ben tells Misty that he is gay. The rest of the group accidentally consumes hallucinogenic mushrooms. They confront Jackie and Travis at the cabin. When the group tries to rape Travis, he flees. After catching up, Lottie orders Shauna to slit his throat. Natalie arrives and stops her. In 2021, Shauna kills Adam after confirming that he is digging in her past. She remembers back home that Jeff has access to the safe where she keeps her journals. She questions him, and Jeff reveals he blackmailed the group because his furniture store was going out of business. The woman at the hotel was, in fact, a loan shark, and Jeff was not having an affair. Shauna tells Jeff that she killed Adam and they discuss their options. Shauna convinces Natalie and Taissa that Adam was the blackmailer. Natalie asks Misty to dispose of the body.
1010"Sic Transit Gloria Mundi"[c]Eduardo SánchezAshley Lyle & Bart NickersonJanuary 16, 2022 (2022-01-16)0.333[16]
Van begins to believe Lottie has supernatural abilities. Lottie kills a bear that calmly walks in front of her and Travis and Natalie look for a missing Javi. Jackie tells the group that she knows Jeff was cheating on her with Shauna. She also confronts the group for hurting Travis. Angry, Jackie decides to sleep outside. The next day, they learn she has frozen to death. Lottie, Misty, and Van offer the bear's heart as a dark tribute to the wilderness. In 2021, Shauna, Taissa, Natalie, and Misty clean up the murder scene. The group attends a 25-year high school reunion. Shauna confronts Jeff's friend Randy, who knows about the blackmail, and threatens to kill him if he tells anyone else. Callie learns of Adam's disappearance in the news. Simone finds the decapitated head of her dog, Sammy's doll, and what appears to be a human heart in a hidden cell in the basement. Misty poisons Jessica, Taissa wins the senate race, and a mysterious group kidnaps Natalie. Suzie tells Natalie in a voicemail that Lottie emptied Travis' bank account.

Season 2[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten by [17]Original air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
111TBADaisy von Scherler Mayer[18]Ashley Lyle & Bart NickersonMarch 26, 2023 (2023-03-26)[4]TBD

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The idea for the series was largely influenced by the Donner Party (1846–1847) and the Andes flight disaster (1972), both true stories about people who resorted to cannibalism to survive.[19] In August 2017, Warner Bros. Pictures announced an all-female film adaptation of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, a novel about a young group of boys stranded on an island.[20] Ashley Lyle read the announcement and found that a lot of people were skeptical that young girls could descend into the same barbarism as young boys. With that thought in mind, she conceived the idea for the series with her husband Bart Nickerson as a "metaphor for teenage hierarchy" and placed a large part of the series in New Jersey, the state they both grew up in. The title, Yellowjackets, came up on a Google search for sports team names; Lyle said it was a "perfect fit thematically" as yellowjackets are "very dependent on a queen and the dynamics of the hive are very specific."[21] Lyle and Nickerson are also credited as showrunners alongside Jonathan Lisco, who was brought to the series by executive producer Karyn Kusama.[19][22] Lyle added, "I just wanted to tell what felt like a very real story about teenage girls."[23]

Lyle and Nickerson pitched the series with a 35-minute presentation, which included talks about the first season's ending and a five-season storyline. The series was originally going to take place in the 1970s and the 1990s, but both time periods were moved twenty years forward to make the setting more familiar to viewers.[24] Nickerson said the use of two timelines allowed for the studying of interpersonal dynamics and how trauma can affect a person's life.[25] HBO was a contender to purchase the series but ultimately rejected it, in part due to its similarities with Euphoria, one of its own properties.[21] Lyle says the smartest question she heard during the pre-production phase was from HBO's Francesca Orsi and David Levine, who asked, "What are you trying to say with this show?" In his answer, Nickerson said the show was going to deconstruct the "organizing principles of a society". Yellowjackets was eventually sold to The Mark Gordon Company, a production company owned by Entertainment One. The project was then pitched to Gary Levine, president of entertainment for Showtime Networks, who was immediately on board.[24] On May 9, 2018, Showtime announced it had acquired the rights to the series.[26]

When we were formulating and developing the idea we always saw this as a multi-season story and our goal in the first season is to very much answer certain questions, because I personally get very irritated with shows that drag everything on forever and don't give you any answers. So, we wanted to answer some questions and ask some new ones, so that is hopefully what we accomplished over the course of this season. — Ashley Lyle[27]

On December 16, 2021, after the first five episodes aired, the series was renewed for a second season. Levine said they had "not heard the pitch for season 2, the writers' room has not even come together yet, they are going to come together in January. I'm sure Ashley, Bart, and Jonathan have some loose ideas but they hadn't fleshed out their ideas and they certainly haven't conveyed them to us."[28] On February 9, 2022, Levine said the creators had "always given us hints about things to come, but we haven't done a long-range plan. We wanted to make the first season count. We've all buried ourselves in that first season and worked hard to make it the success it was. They [last week] went into the writer's room and with Jonathan Lisco to start to unearth what can happen in season two. I love that they have some general idea of a five-year arc, but we take it one season at a time and get very granular about making it satisfying."[29] By May 2022, the writers were "just getting started on the actual scripts."[30] On December 15, 2022, three months before the premiere of the second season, Showtime renewed the series for a third season.[5]

Casting[edit]

Season 1[edit]

The pilot episode was not written with any actresses in mind and auditions were held in Los Angeles. "We decided pretty early on we weren't going to get overly focused on a physical match," Lyle mentioned. As a result, some cast members had to dye their hair and wear contact lenses to match the physical characteristics of their counterparts.[25] Melanie Lynskey was the first person to join the cast. Lyle said the role of Shauna was "the trickiest to cast" because they "wanted to find an actress who could embody somebody who is really trying to figure out who they are, which is kind of a tricky internal thing to express through her acting." Lynskey questioned the showrunners and extracted as much information as she could about her character's past and the five-season storyline to improve her performance.[31][32][33] For the role of Natalie, Nickerson said they searched for "someone who was really free-spirited and unique who could play both a sort of wildness and a vulnerability." Though most of the auditions were held in-person, Sophie Thatcher submitted a self-recorded audition tape and was cast as Natalie before Juliette Lewis, who portrays the character's adult counterpart.[27] When asked if the group's survival would depend on their gender, Thatcher replied, "I think naturally, especially at such a young age, women are more emotionally intelligent. So to turn into that cannibalistic mindset ... it maybe took them longer just because I think women are smarter than men. But I think that's it. Besides that, there's no difference. They're going to go batshit crazy."[34]

Sammi Hanratty at an event in 2015
Christina Ricci at Tribeca Film Festival in 2008
Sammi Hanratty and Christina Ricci star as the teenage and adult versions of Misty.

Nickerson said it was vital to find two actresses who could portray Misty with "a deep kind of humanity that could make it feel lived in and real"; the role was eventually given to Sammi Hanratty and Christina Ricci.[27] On joining the cast, Hanratty said she originally auditioned for the role of Natalie before being brought back four times to audition for the role of Misty: "I'm not gonna lie, I was so crushed [when I didn't get Natalie] because I loved the project. They said they would keep me in mind. Then, I think it was about a week later that I got the audition for Misty, which was so exciting. Because I was like, 'Oh, this girl is interesting as can be." To give her another chance, Lyle and Nickerson wrote a scene specifically for the casting process in which Misty confronts a teacher over cheating. After Hanratty was brought back, Lyle said "It was immediate. As soon as she read that scene for us, we said, 'OK, she is Misty.'"[35] Hanratty described the auditions as being "really intense". She did not meet any of her co-stars until the table read for the pilot. When asked if she was treated differently when in costume, she added, "I don't think we've talked about this, but I was seeing a therapist while I was in Canada, and that was something that we discussed. I was definitely treated differently ... I got more self-conscious, and my walk even changed a bit. I just felt like a bigger target, you know, as a person."[36]

According to Nickerson, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Tawny Cypress were cast as Taissa because they were both able to portray her with a "level of dynamic strength" as well as "vulnerability and fragility". Ella Purnell portrays Jackie, a character who proved difficult to cast. Lyle said the character was supposed to be a stereotypical popular girl with "little cracks of that façade". She explained, "I think that her insecurity, her vulnerabilities needed to be on display pretty early on or you'd end up hating her and that was sort of the opposite of what we wanted the audience to feel."[27] Lynskey, Cypress, and Brown were announced as series regulars in October 2019,[37][38] with Lewis, Ricci, Purnell, Hanratty, Thatcher, and Sophie Nélisse, joining the cast in November.[39][40] The following month, Ava Allan, Courtney Eaton, and Liv Hewson were cast in recurring roles.[41] In June 2021, it was reported Warren Kole, Peter Gadiot, Keeya King, Alex Wyndham, Sarah Desjardins, Kevin Alves, and Alexa Barajas would also star.[42][43]

Season 2[edit]

Casting for the second season began in mid-2022. In August 2022, Lauren Ambrose and Simone Kessell joined the cast to play the adult versions of Van and Lottie; their roles were also upped from recurring to series regulars.[44][45] Elijah Wood and Nuha Jes Izman were also added to the cast in season-long recurring guest roles,[46][47] while Kevin Alves's role as teenage Travis was upped from recurring to series regular.[48] Wood will play Walter, "new citizen detective who is not represented by a younger self on the show".[49] Jason Ritter, who is married to Melanie Lynskey, guest stars in one episode of the second season.[50]

In January 2023, Variety reported that Keeya King, who played teen Akilah in season one, had exited the series. Her role was recast with Nia Sondaya. Nicole Maines was cast as Lisa, an associate of adult Lottie attempting to recover from past trauma. Additionally, François Arnaud will guest star in four episodes portraying Paul. His character is described as, "a New York writer and secret boyfriend of Coach Scott (Steven Kreuger) who reminds Coach Scott of what might have been".[51]

Filming[edit]

The pilot was greenlit in September 2019 and shot in Los Angeles in November.[52][53] According to location manager Jimmie Lee, several scenes from the pilot were filmed on top of the ski slopes on Mammoth Mountain.[54] The rehab scenes were shot in a mansion located at 26848 Pacific Coast Highway, while a number of scenes set in the high school were filmed in and around John Marshall High School in Los Feliz, Los Angeles.[55] In an interview, Lynskey said the masturbation scene from the pilot represented her character's lack of boundaries.[56] In the pilot's opening scene, a flash-forward shows a group covered in fur clothing. Hanratty was the only cast member present while the scene was shot and the other characters were played by stunt coordinators. Hanratty says the writers have not told the cast which characters appear in that scene: "We all have our theories on who that is too, and we have a group chat in our cast where we try to come up with theories ourselves of what's going on and who we think is who."[57]

In December 2020, Showtime gave Yellowjackets a series order.[58] Filming restarted in Vancouver on May 3, 2021, and concluded in early October, with the young and older cast taking weekly turns to shoot their scenes.[59] Aside from Vancouver, other filming locations included the Panther Paintball & Airsoft Sports Park in Surrey, which was used as the site of the plane crash, and The Bridge Studios in Burnaby.[53] The plane crash scene took two days to shoot.[56] The orgy scene from episode nine was organized with intimacy coordinator Katherine Kadler. Eaton described it as "uncomfortable scene to shoot" due to its depiction of sexual assault.[60] In an interview, Lynskey said Cypress, Ricci, and Lewis stood up for her after she was body shamed by a crew member, with Lewis writing a letter to the producers on her behalf.[33] In November 2021, Purnell summarized the timeline of the production: "Here's how it went; we shot the pilot, we took like a year and a half off in COVID and then we went to Canada and shot the whole season in six months. We were in this super intense immersive bubble. We wrapped three weeks ago and now I'm doing a press junket. It's been crazy."[61]

Filming for the second season began in August 2022, with the first episode directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer.[18] In early February 2023, the cast of the 1990s timeline of the series completed filming their scenes.[62]

Music[edit]

The music for the pilot was composed by Theodore Shapiro. The rest of the first season was scored by Craig Wedren and Anna Waronker, members of the rock bands Shudder to Think and That Dog, respectively.[63] Wedren was invited to the series by Kusama after the series was picked up and Shapiro was unable to return. The main theme song, "No Return", was written and performed by Wedren and Waronker, who said they "aimed to channel our off-kilter '90s roots into something that felt like 'then', but could only have been made now, just like the show."[64] Lyle and Nickerson were initially hesitant with the idea of featuring a theme song due to their growing rarity in the mainstream but were eventually convinced otherwise.[3] "Mother Mother" by Tracy Bonham was used as the temp music for the theme, which first appears in episode three and features the sounds of a Farfisa organ.[3][65] According to Wedren, "The producers really, really encouraged us to go out on multiple limbs and really be experimental and try stuff, which is such a rare direction to get."[3] Lakeshore Records made "No Return" available to stream and download on January 6, 2022.[66] A soundtrack album was also released on Spotify.[67]

Track listing
No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."Uninvited"Alanis Morissette4:36
2."Today"The Smashing Pumpkins3:22
3."Supernova"Liz Phair2:48
4."Informer"Snow4:28
5."Shoop"Salt-N-Pepa4:08
6."Good Vibrations"Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, Loleatta Holloway4:29
7."What If..."Dore Soul3:39
8."Let Me Find Out"POS NEG3:15
9."Miss World"Hole3:00
10."Counting Backwards"Throwing Muses3:15
11."Down by the Water"PJ Harvey3:14
12."Never Tear Us Apart"Paloma Faith3:04
13."Hold On"Wilson Phillips4:26
14."Medusa"Noonday Devils2:35
15."Confetti"Bien5:18
16."Kick It"Peaches2:33
17."Glory Box"Portishead5:08
18."Mother Mother"Tracy Bonham3:00
19."Mr. Mistoffelees"Andrew Lloyd Webber, "Cats" 1983 Broadway Cast, Timothy Scott, Terrence Mann4:25
20."Cambodia"Kim Wilde3:56
21."Dreams"The Cranberries4:31
22."Grandma's Hands"Bill Withers2:01
23."Vienna"Ultravox4:38
24."Mountain Song"Jane's Addiction4:02
25."Breakfast at Tiffany's"Deep Blue Something4:17
26."Feel the Pain"Dinosaur Jr.4:19
27."Maid in China"The Father Figures3:05
28."So Alive"Love and Rockets4:17
29."Ready to Go"Republica5:01
30."This Is How We Do It"Montell Jordan, Wino3:58
31."Emergency"Sofi Tukker, Novak, YAX.X3:12
32."Freak Out"Nightlapse, Bambie3:19
33."Munich"Editors3:46
34."Love Comes Close"Cold Cave4:25
35."Overture"Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Phantom of the Opera Original London Cast3:05
36."S P A C E"Amber Mark3:25
37."The Music of the Night"Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Phantom of the Opera Original London Cast, Michael Crawford5:41
38."Firestarter"The Prodigy4:39
39."Fade into You"Mazzy Star4:55
40."The World I Know"Collective Soul4:15
41."Gepetto"Belly3:23
42."Kiss from a Rose"Seal4:48
43."Rump Shaker"Wreckx-N-Effect5:12
44."The Haunted"Dot Allison, Amy Bowman6:20
45."Ladykillers"Lush3:13
46."Come Out and Play"The Offspring3:17
47."All That She Wants"Ace of Base3:31
48."I Touch Myself"Divinyls3:47
49."Only Time"Enya3:38
50."No Return (Main Title Theme)"Craig Wedren, Anna Waronker1:33

Release[edit]

A premiere for the series was held on November 10, 2021, at the Hollywood Legion Post 43 in Los Angeles.[68] Yellowjackets debuted on Showtime on November 14.[69] The second season is set to premiere on March 26, 2023, and the episode will be available two days earlier to stream for Showtime subscribers.[4]

The first season was released on DVD and manufactured-on-demand Blu-ray on July 19, 2022.[70]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Melanie Lynskey at the 2015 Meddler Film Festival
The performances of the cast, especially Melanie Lynskey's (pictured), were praised by critics.[71][72][73]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 100% of 73 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The website's consensus reads, "A genre mashup that blends smoothly, Yellowjackets presents an absorbing mystery with plenty of sting."[74] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 78 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[75]

The first six out of ten episodes of the first season were given to critics to review ahead of the series premiere. Entertainment Weekly's Kristen Baldwin graded the show with a B+ and gave praise to the performances and its story:

Yellowjackets maintains an intriguing tonal balance in early episodes. The survival timeline is pure horror, all steadily increasing dread and glimpses of grotesque violence. It helps that the flashback cast is strong enough to carry an entire drama on their own; standouts Brown, Thatcher, and Nélisse are particularly adept at delivering performances that feel distinct and yet authentically echo the personas of their adult counterparts.[76]

Candice Frederick from TheWrap found the storyline to be a bit complicated:

Yellowjackets can feel tiresome with the sheer frequency of all those flashbacks, and the fact that it dabbles in too many genres when it could settle on its solid mystery thriller elements. But when it commits to its chilling suspense, the show is utterly fascinating to watch. Even more, it finds compelling ways to explore issues like trauma and the façades we build for ourselves that carry from youth through adulthood—elevating what would otherwise be a much flatter genre piece.[2]

Writing for Rolling Stone, Alan Sepinwall gave the series three stars and a half out of five and described it as a combination of Lord of the Flies, It, Lost, Alone, and the works of Megan Abbott. Sepinwall added:

Many of its influences already overlap, and thus work together well. The ones that don't can at times combine to create something that feels new and potent, but at others make it feel like the stew could have done with fewer ingredients.[71]

Critics' top ten list[edit]

Ratings[edit]

Yellowjackets is the second-most streamed series in Showtime's history behind Dexter: New Blood.[79][80] According to Showtime, the penultimate episode of the first season was watched by 1.41 million viewers across all platforms,[81] while the season finale (the first episode to not air after an episode of Dexter: New Blood) brought 1.3 million viewers across all platforms. Yellowjackets averaged more than 5 million weekly viewers, the highest for a freshman series on the network since Billions in 2016.[80] In January 2022, Vulture's Alison Willmore and Kathryn VanArendonk discussed Showtime's decision to release episodes weekly instead of launching the entire season on the same day, noting the positive word-of-mouth and time given to a viewer to theorize: "In an era when shows and movies seem to barely manage to break through before being pushed aside by whatever's new, and when Netflix is so dominant that other platforms have to really fight for attention at all, Yellowjackets has sustained a conversation all while airing on Showtime."[82]

Viewership and ratings per episode of Yellowjackets
No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
Ref(s)
1 "Pilot" November 14, 2021 0.02 0.246 [7]
2 "F Sharp" November 21, 2021 0.02 0.168 0.08 0.287 0.10 0.455 [8]
3 "The Dollhouse" November 28, 2021 0.03 0.210 [9]
4 "Bear Down" December 5, 2021 0.03 0.161 0.08 0.371 0.11 0.532 [10]
5 "Blood Hive" December 12, 2021 0.06 0.295 [11]
6 "Saints" December 19, 2021 0.06 0.289 [12]
7 "No Compass" December 26, 2021 0.06 0.327 [13]
8 "Flight of the Bumblebee" January 2, 2022 0.06 0.311 [14]
9 "Doomcoming" January 9, 2022 0.08 0.419 [15]
10 "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" January 16, 2022 0.10 0.333 [16]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations received by Yellowjackets
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Artios Awards March 9, 2023 Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Pilot and First Season Drama Series Junie Lowry Johnson, Libby Goldstein, Corinne Clark, Jennifer Page, Josh Ropiequet Pending [83]
Critics' Choice Television Awards March 13, 2022 Best Drama Series Yellowjackets Nominated [84][85]
Best Actress in a Drama Series Melanie Lynskey Won
Final Draft Awards March 16, 2022 New Voice Award (TV) Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson Won [86]
GLAAD Media Awards April 2, 2022 Outstanding New TV Series Yellowjackets Nominated [87]
Gracie Awards April 13, 2022 Actress in a Leading Role – Drama Melanie Lynskey Won [88]
Gotham Independent Film Awards November 28, 2022 Breakthrough Series – Long Form Yellowjackets Nominated [89]
Outstanding Performance in a New Series Melanie Lynskey Nominated
Hollywood Critics Association Awards August 13, 2022 Best Cable Network Series, Drama Yellowjackets Nominated [90]
Best Actress in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Drama Melanie Lynskey Won
Juliette Lewis Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Drama Christina Ricci Nominated
Best Directing in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Drama Karyn Kusama (for "Pilot") Won
Best Writing in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Drama Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson (for "Pilot") Nominated
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 16, 2022 Original Score — TV Show/Limited Series Craig Wedren and Anna Waronker Nominated [91]
Main Title Theme — TV Show/Limited Series Won
Best Music Supervision — Television Jen Malone and Whitney Pilzer Nominated
Peabody Awards June 6–9, 2022 Entertainment Yellowjackets Nominated [92]
Primetime Emmy Awards September 12, 2022 Outstanding Drama Series Yellowjackets Nominated [93]
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Melanie Lynskey Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Christina Ricci Nominated
Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Junie Lowry Johnson, Libby Goldstein, Corinne Clark, and Jennifer Page Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson (for "Pilot") Nominated
Ashley Lyle, Jonathan Lisco, and Bart Nickerson (for "F Sharp") Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Karyn Kusama (for "Pilot") Nominated
Saturn Awards October 25, 2022 Best Network or Cable Action-Thriller Television Series Yellowjackets Nominated [94]
Best Actress in a Network or Cable Television Series Melanie Lynskey Nominated
Television Critics Association Awards August 6, 2022 Program of the Year Yellowjackets Nominated [95][96]
Outstanding Achievement in Drama Yellowjackets Nominated
Outstanding New Program Yellowjackets Nominated
Individual Achievement in Drama Melanie Lynskey Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards March 20, 2022 Best Drama Series Yellowjackets[d] Nominated [97][98][99]
Best New Series Yellowjackets[d] Nominated
March 5, 2023 Best Drama Series Yellowjackets[d] Pending

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ The opening theme is first shown in the third episode of the first season.[3]
  2. ^ The first episode was released by Showtime for free on November 6, 2021.[6]
  3. ^ Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin phrase that means "Thus passes the glory of the world".
  4. ^ a b c Nominees: Cameron Brent Johnson, Katherine Kearns, Jonathan Lisco, Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson, Liz Phang, Ameni Rozsa, Sarah L. Thompson, Chantelle M. Well

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External links[edit]