Should You Try It: Shogun

FX brings the James Clavell novel to life with an all-new mini-series.

“SHOGUN” -- "Anjin" -- Episode 1 (Airs February 27) Pictured: Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga. CR: Katie Yu/FX
“SHOGUN” -- "Anjin" -- Episode 1 (Airs February 27) Pictured: Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga. CR: Katie Yu/FX /

We’ve come to the end of February and with it comes one of the more anticipated new releases of the month. With a flood of content rolling out in 2024 it can be difficult to know which series is worth your time to check out. Let this series be your guide! Today I look at the new FX mini-series Shogun.

Series: Shogun

Where to Find It: The first two episodes of the 10-episode series dropped today on FX on Hulu. Subsequent episodes drop each Tuesday!

What’s It About: This isn’t the first time that the novel from James Clavell has been adapted for the screen. It previously got a nine-part installment in 1980. Now, we get a modern update of the novel. It follows the narrative of the Novel.

The show is set in Japan in the 1600s. An English navigator, John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), arrives on a Dutch ship. It’s a time of war—both for him and for the natives. John is a protestant, and he’s not welcomed by the Catholic Portuguese who have claimed a hold on the land. The land itself is also divided.

After the death of their leader, five clans are sharing power while the heir comes of age. One of those, Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada), is in a battle with his rival, Ishido (Takehiro Hira). Ishido has sway over the other members of the council and seeks a way to force Toranaga out so he can seize control. Toranaga, meanwhile, seeks to hold his sway and protect the heir until he comes of age.

The arrival of Blackthorne stirs both sides and creates waves as the members of the council plot and fight for control against each other and outside forces.

You Should Try It If: You were a fan of the book, are a fan of period pieces or just enjoy a well-crafted dramatic series.

One Man’s Opinion of Shogun

I have enjoyed a number of the FX series over the years. It’s a brand that’s committed to quality productions and engaging storytelling. It’s clear they put time, effort, and budget into bringing this novel to life for a new generation.

The first thing you notice with the series is the strong production values. The show does a great job of recreating this time and place. The costumes and the sets are sharp, dropping you into this world. That’s combined with a compelling script and some strong performances. Standouts in the early going are Jarvis, through whom we’re introduced to the complexities of this world, and Sanada, who seems to be a primary protagonist here.

I enjoyed the first two episodes and I’m excited to dive into this world. This is one of the more high-profile new series of 2024 so far, and it feels like a home run.

Next. Should You Try It: Masters of the Air. Should You Try It: Masters of the Air. dark