Head of FX John Landgraf, known as "The Mayor of Television," declared 2024 to be the conclusion of "Peak TV," with the first official downturn in the number of shows produced a year since 2013 when the streaming revolution began. However, the number of shows may be on the wane, but budgets have not yet started contracting to match, at least not yet, though Landgraf suggested it won't be long before those, too, aim for more realistic standards. But before they do, his network, like many, still has a few big budget rollouts to market, such as Shogun, the super expensive remake of the award-winning 1980 miniseries.
Based on the best-selling novel by Australian-born British writer James Clavell, the original Shogun was ahead of its time, a big-budget miniseries starring a mainly British cast made for TV at a time when Jaws had just made American summer blockbusters the hotness of the day. However, like the book, the miniseries was a white savior narrative about Japanese history, leaving it ripe for reinvention in the 21st century.
The Japanese star and an honorary member of the British Empire for his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld), has stepped forward to spearhead the long-needed Japanese-centric adaptation, and stars as Lord Yoshii Toranaga. Cosmo Jarvis (Persuasion) plays Englishman John Blackthorne, with Anna Sawai (Pachinko) as Toda Mariko. Here is the extended trailer.
Here's the series synopsis:
In the year 1600, at the dawn of a century-defining civil war, Lord Yoshii Toranaga is fighting for his life as his enemies on the Council of Regents unite against him. When a mysterious European ship is found marooned in a nearby fishing village, its English pilot, John Blackthorne, comes bearing secrets that could help Toranaga tip the scales of power and devastate the formidable influence of Blackthorne’s own enemies — the Jesuit priests and Portuguese merchants. Toranaga’s and Blackthorne’s fates become inextricably tied to their translator, Toda Mariko, a mysterious Christian noblewoman and the last of a disgraced line. While serving her lord amidst this fraught political landscape, Mariko must reconcile her newfound companionship with Blackthorne, her commitment to the faith that saved her, and her duty to her late father.
Sanada, Jarvis, and Sawai star alongside an acclaimed Japanese cast, including Tadanobu Asano (Welcome Home, Monet), Hiroto Kanai (Tuna Girl), Takehiro Hira (The Swarm), Moeka Hoshi (Dependence), Tokuma Nishioka (Green Grass), Shinnosuke Abe (A Pub From A Different World), Yuki Kura (Out), Yuka Kouri (September 1923), and Fumi Nikaido (Promise Cinderella).
Shōgun is created for television by Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks, with Marks serving as Showrunner and Executive Producer alongside Kondo, Michaela Clavell, Edward L. McDonnell, and Michael De Luca. The ten-episode series was written by Kono and Marks, with episode writing credits also going to Shannon Gross, Nigel Williams, Emily Yoshida, Maegan Houang, Matt Lambert, and Caillin Puente. Director Jonathan van Tulleken helmed the show's first two episodes with Charlotte Brändström, Hiromi Kamata, and Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour credited with future installments. The series is produced by FX Productions.
Shōgun will premiere on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, on Hulu or on Disney+ under the Hulu tile with two episodes, followed by a new episode each week, alongside the FX linear channel.