The 10 episode limited series will debut its first two episodes on Feb. 27, 2024, on Hulu in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ in all other territories. A new episode will drop each week on the streamers, and the FX linear channel will telecast new episodes once each week.
FX’s “Shōgun,” an original adaptation of James Clavell’s bestselling novel, was created for television by Rachel Kondo & Justin Marks. The 10-episode limited series is set in Japan in the year 1600, at the dawn of a century-defining civil war. Producer Hiroyuki Sanada stars as “Lord Yoshii Toranaga” who is fighting for his life as his enemies on the Council of Regents unite against him. When a mysterious European ship is found marooned in a nearby fishing village, its English pilot, “John Blackthorne” (Cosmo Jarvis), comes bearing secrets that could help Toranaga tip the scales of power and devastate the formidable influence of Blackthorne’s own enemies — the Jesuit priests and Portuguese merchants. Toranaga’s and Blackthorne’s fates become inextricably tied to their translator, “Toda Mariko” (Anna Sawai), a mysterious Christian noblewoman and the last of a disgraced line. While serving her lord amidst this fraught political landscape, Mariko must reconcile her newfound companionship with Blackthorne, her commitment to the faith that saved her and her duty to her late father.
The series features a highly decorated Japanese cast, unprecedented for an American production, including Tadanobu Asano as “Kashigi Yabushige,” a notorious backstabber and close ally of Toranaga; Hiroto Kanai as “Kashigi Omi,” the young leader of the fishing village where Blackthorne’s ship was found; Takehiro Hira as “Ishido Kazunari,” a powerful bureaucrat who is Toranaga’s chief rival; Moeka Hoshi as “Usami Fuji,” a widow who must find new purpose amidst her lord’s fight; Tokuma Nishioka as “Toda Hiromatsu,” Toranaga’s trusted general and closest friend; Shinnosuke Abe as “Toda Hirokatsu” (“Buntaro”), Mariko’s jealous husband; Yuki Kura as “Yoshii Nagakado,” the brash son of Toranaga with a strong desire to prove himself; and Fumi Nikaido as “Ochiba no Kata,” the revered mother of the heir who will stop at nothing to put an end to Toranaga and his threat to her son’s power.
This spoiler free review is based on the first eight episodes.
“Shōgun” is an epic historical drama of grand proportions and is beautifully shot, encapsulating vivid and stunning visuals. Michaela Clavell, who is the daughter of the late author James Clavell, serves as an executive producer of the series and has said this retelling is very true to the book and authentic to the time period.
There is a lot to digest in the first episode as compelling characters are revealed and plot lines are unveiled. The show can feel confusing at times, however, as the story unfolds the plot becomes more clear and the characters more distinguishable. Much of the dialogue is dubbed in English subtitles taking on a character of its own.
The cast performances are stellar, over the top, and memorable. Stand out favorites include Cosmo Jarvis as John Blackthorne, Hiroyuki Sanada as Lord Toranaga, and Anna Sawai who plays Lady Mariko. The latter who does an outstanding job of conveying emotions that jump off the screen while remaining stoic in her demeanor.
While there are many suspenseful action sequences, scenes that are heavy in dialogue are just as intense. There is no shortage of battles, fighting, bloodshed, and plotful scheming, but the softer side of the story revolves around a forbidden love between Blackthorne and his English translator Lady Mariko, and their steamy chemistry arguably steals the spotlight.
Bottom Line: “Shōgun” is an epic historical big-budget drama on a grand scale that has so much to offer mature audiences. A 10 episode miniseries is quite the time commitment, but worth every minute. The scenes, characters and visuals are memorable and will leave an imprint long after. Don’t miss it.
“Shōgun” is created for television by Rachel Kondo & Justin Marks, with Marks serving as showrunner and executive producer. Also serving as executive producers are Michaela Clavell, Edward L. McDonnell, Michael De Luca and Kondo. Hiroyuki Sanada serves as a producer.
The series is produced by FX Productions.
You can watch the trailer for the limited series below:
- ICYMI: Top Disney+ Stories This Week: Feb. 9, 2024 - February 9, 2024
- First Look at Onyx Collective’s ‘Queenie’ Coming To Hulu & Disney+ - February 9, 2024
- ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ Season 3 First Clip Released - February 9, 2024