‘Shōgun’ Is Already One of the Best TV Series of the Year

shogun serie 2024 disney plus
‘Shōgun’ Is One of 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—which is based on James Clavell’s 1975 novel—received a new adaptation on FX, thanks to producer and star Hiroyuki Sanada (John Wick: Chapter 4). He leads the series as Lord Yoshii Toranaga, a powerful daimyo in seventeenth-century feudal Japan who is threatened by his political rivals in Osaka. “It’s the next step in my life,” Sanada told Esquire about landing the role last spring.It’s like I got a movie diploma.”

The show follows Toranaga’s auspicious relationship with an English sailor named John Blackthorne, played by Cosmo Jarvis (Persuasion). As Toranaga competes in a political struggle for the shogunate—the de facto ruler of Japan—he gathers his allies from unlikely places. Anna Sawai (Pachinko) costars as Lady Mariko, a translator and devout Catholic who questions her faith after she begins to have 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, much of Shōgun revolves around the introduction of Christianity to Japan. In the first two episodes, Toranaga and Blackthorne cross paths after the Englishman’s ship is marooned off the coast of Japan. He becomes the first English sailor ever to reach the country, as the path was hidden by the Spanish and the Portuguese. After evading death, Blackthorne shares his knowledge of the world and its various Christian sects. Quickly, Toranaga realizes that he may be able to use this foreign man to his advantage. His 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.

Following episode 5, everyone's relationships are in chaos. Mariko's husband returns and causes strain between herself and Blackthorne. Ishido and Yabushige end their partnership when he receives the decapitated head of one of his samurai, Toranaga feels shaken after an earthquake hits, and a dead bird drives the town insane.

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. As the series goes on each week, Shōgun appears to be gaining steam. 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. 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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