“Action-packed and engrossing.” “Intriguing.” “Impressive.” “A revelation.” “Four out of five stars.” Those are just some of the ways FX’s Shogun is being described in the first batch of reviews, confirming our long-held suspicions that it’d certainly be one to watch. In fact, the only uniform criticism thus far is that it was too short.
The period drama — which has been hailed as Game of Thrones set in Feudal Japan — finally hits Disney+ later this month after years in the development process. And by all accounts, it will have been worth the wait.
As previewed in both the trailers and the BTS featurette embedded above, this has been a full-scale undertaking complete with a legion of extras, miniature models, and masterfully executed CGI. Even before the reviews for FX’s Shogun were published, on the merits of the promotional materials alone, it was clear this adaptation was nothing but a labour of love.
“Call it a remake if you must, but few shows out there feel fresher.”Judy Berman, Time
Adapted from the best-selling 1975 novel written by James Clavell loosely based on real historical events — and brought to the small screen once before circa 1980 with Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune; earning NBC another Primetime Emmy for Best Limited Series — Shogun 2.0 was greenlit all the way back in 2018.
In terms of story, it follows “the collision of two ambitious men from different worlds and a mysterious female samurai — John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), a risk-taking English sailor who ends up shipwrecked in Japan, a land whose unfamiliar culture will ultimately redefine him; Lord Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada), a shrewd, powerful daimyo, at odds with his own dangerous, political rivals; and Lady Mariko (Anna Sawai), a woman with invaluable skills but dishonourable family ties, who must prove her value and allegiance.”
This iteration has been co-created by Justin Marks, who you may know best as the screenwriter behind Jon Favreau’s live-action The Jungle Book adaptation and Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick, and Marks’ wife Rachel Kondo. Both have also juggled executive producer duties this time around.
FX’s Shogun release date: the limited series drops on Hulu in the US, Star+ in Latin America, and Disney+ everywhere else (including Australia) on February 27th, 2024 — check out the featurette above and the trailer below.