Trailer Drop Thursday: FX’s ShogunThe Dark Herald
It is difficult to overstate the cultural significance of the mini-series James Clavell’s Shogun.
That mini-series was broadcast during a period where the big three networks were it and this big of an event was guaranteed to have viewers in the tens of millions. Shogun served as a primer on Japan for Generation X. We learned a few words, understood a few customs (kind of), and decided that Japan was amazingly super cool.
We picked up just enough from that show to try and learn something about a culture that was about as foreign to America as it is possible to get.
The Manga and anime invasion wouldn’t have happened without Shogun. Art in the 80s and 90s would have gone a completely different direction.
Then there was Clavell’s actual novel which was one hell of a page-turner. I remember picking it up and discovering that hours had sailed by when I put it down again.
Although it did have one major downside. I really struggled to get the names right when I took Japanese history in college. “No, damn it, it’s Nobunaga, not Goroda.”
I often wondered why James Clavell changed all those names. Granted, by turning it into fiction he was free to massage historical events to make for a more narratively satisfying tale. But it’s just kind of odd and off-putting, it’s like a story of the War of Roses with all the players present and easily recognizable but the names of the royal families are Simpsons and Flanders.
Shogun is a strange sort of alternate history where there is no “What if.” Things proceeded the way they did in our timeline only with different names.
Shogun was the biggest mini-series of its day but it looks like FX’s new version is going to leave the OG completely in the dust.