The Ranch: Season One
April 1st 2016 | Netflix | On Demand
Ten years after That ‘70s Show ended its successful run, fan favourites Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson reunite in Netflix’s new original comedy series, The Ranch. The multi-camera comedy follows Colt (Kutcher), a failed NFL quarterback who returns home to help run his family’s Colorado ranch.
Joining the sitcom veterans are acclaimed actors Sam Elliott and Debra Winger as the parents of brothers Colt and Jameson “Rooster” Bennett (Masterson). The Ranch marks the first time Elliott and Winger have appeared in a multi-camera comedy.
“Basically, the idea was to do a show that was about the people between California and New York, who we felt were an audience that really wasn’t represented the way they really are,” says Reo, the creator of several TV comedies including My Wife and Kids, Blossom and The John Larroquette Show.
He adds, “It stemmed from a love of country music that (Jim and I) share and things like NASCAR and rodeos – all the things that are inherent in, if you will, Western America. As it turned out, Ashton Kutcher was also interested in that world, and when we started talking about it together, the show slowly evolved.”
While The Ranch is a traditional family comedy in many ways, the creative team was eager to bend some of the rules of broadcast television.
“One of our intentions with this show is to break a lot of conventions of traditional sitcoms,” says Kutcher, who also serves as an executive producer. “We don’t have commercial breaks, so we don’t have to treat the material the same way and have a comedic joke at the end of every scene. We don’t really have a time limit on the show, which allows us to tell a lot more stories and do a little bit more drama.”
Much of the show’s drama comes from the unsteady relationship between patriarch Beau (Elliott) and his two sons. While Rooster remained in his home town and never stopped working for his father, Colt has spent the last 15 years away from his family.
“I think (Colt) is the realisation of a lot of people’s fears, where you set out and try to forge your way in a career, maybe things don’t go the way that you planned, and you find yourself sort of starting again at 30,” Kutcher says. “Now he’s trying to find his place in his family and his town and himself. (That’s) really kind of the personal battle, to figure out, ‘Who am I, and what am I good at?’”
Kutcher adds, “It’s almost a comedy-drama with an audience as opposed to a traditional sitcom, which I think is really interesting. It brings a lot of heart.”
That said, The Ranch does find humour in nearly every scenario, whether it’s thanks to Colt’s impractical fashion choices, Rooster’s off-kilter wisecracks or Beau’s penchant for X-rated language.
“As a performer, to make people laugh is an astounding gift, and I really relish that opportunity,” Elliott says. “The first couple of nights that we filmed in front of a live audience and listened to audience laughter … it was pretty incredible.”
“Our goal is to present something that’s reflective of the people and the world that we know,” Reo says.
Ten half-hour episodes of The Ranch: Season One will become available to all Netflix members on Friday April 1st.