Scott D. Pierce: Salt Lake City is lucky it’s not being mocked like the title town in Stallone’s ‘Tulsa King’

‘Yellowstone’ returns, and there are sequels to ‘The Santa Clause,’ ‘A Christmas Story’ and ‘Enchanted.’

(Brian Douglas | Paramount+) Sylvester Stallone as mobster Dwight Manfredi in "Tulsa King."

Salt Lake City should be glad it’s not Tulsa. Because the Oklahoma city is mercilessly mocked in “Tulsa King” — the new streaming series that stars Sylvester Stallone.

We’ve got “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” We’ve suffered enough.

Yes, that’s right. Stallone is starring in a TV series, as a 75-year-old Mafioso, Dwight Manfredi, who just got out of prison after a quarter century for a murder ordered by his crime boss. Dwight is expecting a big reward, but the boss’ son tells him there’s nothing for him in New York/New Jersey.

“I took an oath, and I honored it,” Dwight says. “I kept my mouth shut for 25 [expletive] years. … Now you’ve got the balls to tell me that after everything I’ve been through, after everything I’ve lost, after everything I’ve done for this family … there’s nothing left for me!”

Well, nothing on the East Coast. But Dwight is sent to — gasp in horror! — Tulsa to build a criminal organization there. And violence and humor ensue.

“Tulsa King” is not a comedy, and Stallone is not a comedian And yet there’s humor in the new Paramount+ series, which starts streaming on Sunday. Dark humor. Sometimes inadvertently goofy humor.

Dwight has never been to a marijuana dispensary before, but he quickly muscles his way into control of one outlet, which is making money hand over fist. The way he deals with the owners — the way he deals with just about everyone — is tough and violent, but Dwight doesn’t make it personal.

“I am out of my element,” Stallone said of his character. “So now my gang is made up of cowboys, Indians, women, fellas that run a weed store. In other words, a group of complete misfits, in a sense, that fit, finally, together as a family. … To me, it has heart, energy, and humor. And what more can you ask for?”

Well, in the two episodes screened for critics — particularly there’s some struggle to find the right tone. No, Dwight has never dealt with smartphones and apps, but the script hits that sort of thing a bit too hard trying to milk laughs.

“Tulsa King” was created by Taylor Sheridan (“Yellowstone”), but he’s a busy man — he’s got 10 series either on the air or in pre-production — so Terence Patrick Winter (“Boardwalk Empire”) is the showrunner. And he summed up the attitude toward the title city rather nicely.

“It’s as unlike New York City as you can possibly get,” Winter said. “It’s a beautiful location, but you will not mistake it for anything but what it is. So for a guy like Dwight, who grew up on the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan, to walk out into that, and suddenly you’re in the middle of corn fields and cowboys and horses everywhere, was really as alien a landscape as we could possibly put him in.”

In the first episode alone, Oklahomans are portrayed as crazy religious zealots, dopes and potheads who are overly nice, naive and foolish. Lucky Tulsa.

The first two episodes of “Tulsa King” stream Sunday, with one per week debuting on successive Sundays.

(Paramount+) Kevin Costner stars as John Dutton in "Yellowstone."

‘Yellowstone’ returns

There’s a lot going on in the 87-minute, Season 5 premiere of “Yellowstone” (6, 8:27 and 10:54 p.m. Sunday, Paramount Network), and it’s delicious.

John Dutton (Kevin Costner) has just been elected governor of Montana. His master manipulator daughter, Beth (Kelly Reilly), is happy; his adopted son, Jamie (Wes Bentley) not so much. The leader of the local Native American tribes (Gil Birmingham) isn’t sure what to make of it. And the head of the massive corporation (Jacki Weaver), whose massive development John Dutton plans to shut down, is furious — she’s “had it with these [expletive] hillbillies.”

The show’s many fans have not. Last season, “Yellowstone” was the most-watched non-sports show on TV — broadcast and cable — in both total viewers and the 18-49 demo.

In flashbacks, we see the beginning of the relationship between Beth and Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser). Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) has an encounter with bad guys and Canadians. And this is “Yellowstone,” so there’s always a tragedy on the horizon. The series has a pace all its own and, not surprisingly, a lot of what happens in the Season 5 premiere is set-up for upcoming episodes — and that’s OK.

It really is too bad that Utah couldn’t cough up the tax incentives to keep “Yellowstone” production primarily in this state rather than entirely in Montana.

More Santa Clauses

Tim Allen first became Santa in the rather delightful 1994 feature film “The Santa Clause,” which prompted a considerably less delightful sequel in 2002 and a basically unwatchable sequel in 2006. Now he’s back in the six-part miniseries “The Santa Clauses” — Santa has decided to retire and he’s looking for someone to take his place.

It’s silly and kind of fun. Certainly better than the third movie.

Two episodes start streaming on Wednesday, with single episodes premiering Nov. 23, Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14.

Stick to the original

The 1983 movie “A Christmas Story” is a holiday classic, but it was kind of a fluke. Director Bob Clark must have had some magic when he blended Jean Shepherd’s short stories into a charming and funny film. Others have been unable to recapture that magic in a series of sequels. Although the TV movie sequels “The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski” and “Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss” both had some charm, sequels “It Runs In the Family” (1994) and “A Christmas Story 2″ (2012) were pretty terrible.

And now we get “A Christmas Story Christmas” (debuts Wednesday on HBO Max), which features a grownup Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) and his family celebrating the holidays at his childhood home with his widowed mother. It’s sort of nice to see several original cast members, but there’s precious little magic. Too bad.

Disney princess sequel

It’s been 15 years since Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) got married at the end of Disney’s “Enchanted.” And, with the passing years, Giselle has become — you guessed it! — “Disenchanted,” the title of the sequel that starts streaming Friday on (you guessed it!) Disney+.

The couple and their children leave the city for suburban bliss, but suburbia isn’t so blissful. There’s magic gone wrong and light-hearted tension and music and dancing and silliness and a villainess played by Maya Rudolph.

It’s silly and fun.

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