‘Shōgun’ Is the Best TV Series of the Year

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‘Shōgun’ Is the Best TV Series of the YearDisney+
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Shōgun, one of the most anticipated series of the year, is living up to the hype. The historical drama stars Hiroyuki Sanada (John Wick: Chapter 4) as Lord Yoshii Toranaga, a powerful daimyo in seventeenth-century feudal Japan who is involved in a power struggle for control of the country. The story is based on James Clavell’s 1975 novel. "It’s the next step in my life," Sanada told Esquire about wrapping production on the FX series last spring. "It’s like I got a movie diploma."

As Toranaga battles his political rivals, he starts an auspicious relationship with an English sailor named John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis). Blackthorne offers to help him gain the shogunate and become the de facto ruler of Japan. Anna Sawai (Pachinko) also costars as Toda Mariko, a translator and devout Catholic who questions her faith after she gains feelings for the new arrival. Shōgun was last adapted back in 1980, with legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune at the helm.

For more info about the ten-episode limited series, travel with us to the turn of the seventeenth century below.

What is Shōgun About?

Similar to Silence, the 1966 novel that Martin Scorsese adapted into a 2016 film, Shōgun begins with the introduction of Christianity to Japan. Blackthorne sails to the island nation to disrupt their relationship with Spanish and Portuguese Christians. The Englishman crosses paths with Toranaga after his ship is marooned off the coast of Japan. Toranaga's rivals view Blackthorne as a heretic due to his Protestant faith—and his mere presence disturbs the group of elders who block Toranaga’s path to the shogunate.

After episode 8, Toranaga's back is up against the wall. His brother betrays him and forces Toranaga to surrender to the Council. But the war isn't over. In episode 9, Toranaga sends Mariko to unleash his master plan on Osaka Castle. Now that we're out of dead bird controversies, we can finally reach the big finale.

hiroyuki sanada shogun
"I want to be a bridge between East and West," Sanada told Esquire this past spring. "That’s my mission."FX

How Can I Watch Shōgun?

The ten-episode limited series premiered its first two episodes on February 27. Each new episode is available to stream on both Hulu and Disney+ at 12:01 A.M. ET on its respective release date, before its FX premiere at 10:00 P.M. ET. The final episode airs on April 23. For a full schedule, check out the release dates of Shōgun’s episodes below.

Episode 1: “Anjin” — February 27

Episode 2: “Servant of Two Masters” — February 27

Episode 3: “Tomorrow Is Tomorrow” — March 5

Episode 4: “The Eightfold Fence” — March 12

Episode 5: “Broken to the Fist” — March 19

Episode 6: “Ladies of the Willow World” — March 26

Episode 7: “A Stick of Time” — April 2

Episode 8: "The Abyss of Life" — April 9

Episode 9: “Crimson Sky” — April 16

Episode 10: “A Dream of a Dream” — April 23

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