10 Shows Like ‘Shōgun’ to Watch Next

shogun mariko
10 Shows Like ‘Shōgun’ to Watch NextFX


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Audiences who tuned in to Shōgun—looking for samurai duels and depictions of massive historical battles—have surely enjoyed a damn good couple months. The story takes place at the turn of the seventeenth century in Japan, as Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada) attempts to leverage his allies and his cunning mind to ascend to the title of shogun: the de facto ruler of Japan. As the FX miniseries unfolds, drama and conflict evolve less by swinging a sword and more by outmaneuvering the game of feudal politics.

“It’s a show about people,” Shōgun writer Rachel Kondo told Esquire in our series-finale interview, “I know people fight battles, but that just didn’t feel right.” Even without the battles, the show’s politics and double crossings still reminded viewers of other popular dramas, such as Game of Thrones and Pachinko. Shōgun also renewed interest in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, which features breakout actress Anna Sawai (who plays Mariko on Shōgun). If you’re searching for what to watch after Shōgun’s finale, we have you covered.

Game of Thrones

Chock full of power struggles and warring political rivals, Shōgun received countless comparisons in the media to HBO's popular fantasy epic. "To the extent that Game of Thrones allows all of us in the business to tell big-scale stories that don't take place in our world, it was groundbreaking," Shōgun showrunner Justin Marks told Esquire. "Everyone owes something to Game of Thrones."—Josh Rosenberg

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Succession

According to Marks, Succession came up often in Shōgun's writers room. The political drama—which follows siblings who vie to overtake their father as CEO of a massive media conglomerate—holds many parallels to Shōgun. (See:feudal lords seeking the power of the shogunate.) "We were obsessed with it," Marks said in Esquire's Shōgun finale interview. "We saw what we were doing with Shōgun as a comedy. It's a satire, for sure. That's really what we were after."—J.R.

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Pachinko

Pachinko, based on Min Jin Lee's critically acclaimed novel, recounts the era of Korea under Japanese colonial rule. Told through the perspective of Korean Kim Sunja (Youn Yuh-jung), Pachinko is a sweeping, beautifully shot, multigenerational drama that is filmed in three languages. Apple TV+ renewed the series for a second season last April, so new episodes should arrive just when you're missing Shōgun the most.—Sirena He

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Gyeongseong Creature

Another series about the Japanese occupation of Korea, Gyeongseong Creature depicts life in 1940s Seoul. Jang Tae-Sang (Park Seo-joon), the wealthy owner of the most popular pawn shop in Korea, manages to keep his business afloat by keeping out of the political conflict. Everything changes when he falls for Yoon Chae-Ok (Han So-hee), a young woman who believes that the local military hospital is holding her missing mother captive. So, the two heroes embark on a journey to liberate the prisoners.—S.H.

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Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

Starring Anna Sawai, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters takes place in a fictional Japan beset by constant kaiju attacks. The Apple TV+ series exists as part of Legacy's MonsterVerse, featuring appearances from Godzilla and King Kong. If you're craving more that will premiere in the near future.J.R.

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Shōgun (1980)

Before Hiroyuki Sanada set out to adapt Shōgun for a new audience, the 1975 James Clavell novel received an official TV miniseries in 1980. Starring Richard Chamberlain and legendary Japanese film actor Toshiro Mifune, the original Shōgun is largely credited for popularizing sushi in the '70s. Neat, right? In the new adaption, Sanada told Esquire that he hoped to "be a bridge between East and West."—J.R.

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Kingdom

Set in the 17th century, Kingdom takes elements of historical fiction and injects the genre with a dose of zombie horror. The story follows Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) as he contends with political strife, the well-being of his nation, and the onslaught of a mysterious illness that is turning his people into cannibalistic monsters. If you loved the political tension in Shōgun but wished it had more horror, binge Kingdom.—S.H.

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Westworld

Shōgun is far from Hiroyuki Sanada's first time playing a samurai. He stars as Musashi in Westworld, a warrior who loses his esteemed position and becomes a ruthless outlaw. In season 2, the sci-fi drama marched into fun new territory when the story shifted focus from Westworld to Shogunworld. Naturally, lots of nail-biting action, confusing Westworld antics, and bittersweet drama ensues.—S.H.

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Yasuke

Netflix's Yasuke anime, written by Flying Lotus and starring Lakeith Stanfield, follows the story of a foreign samurai who is even more famous in the East than John Blackthorne's counterpart, William Adams. Yasuke, a Black samurai who serves under Oda Nabunaga, tries to put the past behind him after he witnesses his lord's assassination at Honnō-ji Temple. It's the real-life incident that influenced Mariko and Ochiba's family conflict in Shōgun.J.R.

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Tokyo Vice

Tokyo Vice (another book adaptation, by the way) takes on the underworld of Tokyo in the '90s. The HBO series follows Jake Adelstein (Ansel Elgort), a local crime reporter who uncovers the Yakuza's shady criminal activities. He quickly befriends a detective (Ken Watanabe) in the vice squad and joins his investigation of Tokyo's dangerous underbelly. If you’re craving more Japanese history and adrenaline-pumping action, Tokyo Vice is a must-watch.—S.H.

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