Spoiler Free Review: The “Shogun” Series Is a Must See


March 14, 2024

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of HorrorFuel.com. She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email: horrorfuelinfo@gmail.com

“Shōgun” has now premiered, and I have to say I’m thrilled. Unfortunately, the series is being overlooked, which is sad because it’s absolutely brilliant. So, let’s talk about it.

The Story

Based on James Clavell’s 1975 novel of the same name, the series is set in the 1600s in Japan. The show follows a sailor, Blackthorne, who was taken prisoner and brought to Lord Yoshii Toranaga. Toranaga’s enemies on the Council of Regents unite against him. He seeks the knowledge that Blackthorne holds that may turn the tides of war. The series sees the collision of two ambitious men from different worlds, both looking for a way to survive.

Cosmo Jarvis leads as Jack Blackthrone, a sailor and pirate who finds himself at the mercy of Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada). The two men are very different. The Lord is an honorable man who relies on tradition and reason. Blackthorne is just trying to survive as he navigates the strange land with ancient customs and the many people who want him dead. 

Jarvis does a fantastic job. His ability to emote emotion is impressive and he gives a great, convincing performance. Hiroyuki Sanada has never given a bad performance in anything. The man has incredible talent, and I think he was made for this role. Actress Anna Sawai, who plays Blackthorne’s translator and advisor to Toranago, brings a quiet softness and elegance to the series amongst so much brutality and death.

One of the many things this series gets right is the character development. There is no shortage of it. Characters are constantly evolving.

No Shortage Of Action

If you’re a fan of action, look no further. Between frequent fights that pit samurai against samurai and warring clans against each other, there is no shortage of it. The fight choreography is so complex, but it comes across convincingly that for a moment, you forget you are watching a show on TV.


The cinematography is gorgeous and rich. The beautiful locations, the mountains, towns, and ships, starkly contrast the brutal, cold world of the samurai and the desperation of the land’s people.

Between the elaborate costumes, sets, and deadly weapons, every single detail was covered and well-executed down to the smallest part.

If you are wondering about the quality of the series’ effects, they are so excellent and seamless that you don’t even notice them, automatically accepting what you see. That’s the sign of truly great effects.

If you need a comparison as for the quality of “Shōgun,” it could easily be compared to “Game of Thrones” before it went to shit. Think of seasons two through four. Both series are epic. However, the fact that “Shōgun” explores the life of real people from history and actual events adds to the intrigue.

The Truth Behind The Story

The series expands on partial truths. It is inspired by the real-life of English sailor William Adams (Blackthorn) and his interactions with the Japanese feudal lord, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Of course, things were added to the story to make it more entertaining, but the basis is real.

The Verdict

I LOVE this series if you haven’t figured it out by now! I find myself on the edge of my seat while watching the show and begging for the next episode when it ends. The episodes are released weekly, and I’m thankful for that. If not, I would have binged the entire thing, but instead, I’m forced to wait and can experience the anticipation.

There are many words I could use to describe “Shōgun,” but “stunning” and “brilliant” seem to be at the top of the list. Luckily, there are several ways to watch it. It’s streaming now on Hulu, FX, and Disney+, with new episodes (10 in total) being released on Tuesdays.

If you finish the show and want more, there was a great series adaptation of the novel released back in 1980. You can find it on Amazon.



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