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The torch has been passed: FX’s Shogun is the new Game of Thrones

Published Mar 1st, 2024 4:08PM EST
FX's Shogun premiere
Image: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

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Ever since Game of Thrones took its final bow, it feels like every major network and streamer has tried to recreate some of that same magic to find the next big, new fantasy epic. Leave it to FX to get the closest of any of them (and with absolutely zero elements of fantasy) via Shogun, a newly debuted historical samurai drama that’s set in feudal Japan and which has racked up such glowing early praise that it actually ranks among the best TV ever made.

That last part is not an exaggeration, and I’m not just talking about the perfect 100% score the show enjoyed for a few weeks on Rotten Tomatoes ahead of its premiere (it’s since dipped just slightly to 98%). The current near-perfect score is comprised of positive reviews from 66 different critics as of this writing, and that alone puts Shogun above other newly released shows — like HBO’s True Detective: Night Country (92%) and Apple TV+’s Masters of the Air (87%).

You really get a sense of how strong the show is, though, from how it’s performing on IMDb. As of this writing — and I have to keep stressing that, because the show has only just debuted and more reactions will continue to come in — Shogun is currently sitting at a 9.3/10, which is the kind of score you see on some of the best TV shows ever made. That score puts it in league with, for example, The Wire and Chernobyl, as well as just a hair above The Sopranos (which stands at 9.2/10 on IMDb).

If I had to guess, Shogun will probably end up dropping just a little below that as more reviews trickle in. For now, though, it’s a spectacular start for a series that will almost certainly be ranked among the best TV of 2024.

Shogun is adapted from James Clavell’s bestselling novel, which is set at the dawn of a century-defining civil war. Lord Yoshii Toranaga fights for his life as his enemies on the Council of Regents conspire and unite against him. Explains FX: “When a mysterious European ship is found marooned in a nearby fishing village, its English pilot, John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), 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.”

Clavell’s book is actually one of six in a series that explores the history of Japan. Which is to say, the show already seems like it’s had enough of a stellar start to warrant an extension that takes it beyond “limited series” status. If FX decides to go that route, there’s definitely enough source material it can continue to play with.

Check out a trailer for Shogun below:

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.