How to watch Shōgun in New Zealand

Everything old is new again as James Clavell’s lusty historical doorstopper gets its second prestige TV adaptation. Honestly, we’re surprised it took this long.

How to watch Shōgun in New Zealand

Shōgun is streaming in New Zealand exclusively on Disney+ from February 27.

What is Shōgun about?

Set in 1600 as various European powers battle for inroads into Asia, Shōgun follows the adventures of English navigator John Blackthorne, part of a desperate mission by Dutch traders to find a route to Japan in defiance of the Portuguese, who jealously guard their trade monopoly. Once there, he finds himself a valuable pawn in the battle for the office of military dictator, rising to a position of power in the retinue of the ambitious Lord Toranaga. But death is only ever a moment away in feudal Japan, whose arcane social rules and intricate political landscape are deadlier than a sharp katana.

When it was first adapted for the small screen back in 1980, with Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune in the lead roles, Shōgun was one of the first big hits of the Golden Age of the Miniseries. This new iteration looks the business, but it’s hard to say how well it’ll do in the current radically different media landscape.

The cast of Shōgun

British actor Cosmo Jarvis, familiar from Calm with Horses and Lady Macbeth, is  John Blackthorne; Hiroyuki Sanada, recently seen in John Wick: Chapter 4, is Lord Yoshii Toranaga;  New Zealand-born star Anna Sawai, one of the leads in Apple TV+’s  Monarch: Legacy of Monsters,  is love interest Toda Mariko; Mortal Kombat‘s Tadanobu Asano is Kashigi Yabushige; and former Gotham City Mayor Néstor Carbonell is Portuguese navigator Vasco Rodrigues, Blackthorne’s favourite frenemy.

Shōgun trailer

What are the critics saying about Shōgun?

They are loving it, praising the series’ epic scale and lush period detail. Our own review was certainly not short on superlatives, calling it “a sweeping historical epic, with all the intrigue, plotting, and clashes of arms you could hope for.”