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How to watch Shōgun as critics hail it as the 'next Game of Thrones'

The historical epic adapts James Clavell's novel of the same name

Shogun (Disney+)
Tadanobu Asano as Kashigi Yabushige in Shogun. (Disney+)

Shōgun is FX's exciting new historical drama that has got all the critics talking, with many comparing it to other prestige shows like Game of Thrones.

The series follows English pilot John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) who is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan alongside his crew in 1600 and, once there, becomes embroiled in a civil war after being taken in by Lord Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada). The feudal lord is facing enemies around every corner, and as unrest bubbles to the surface thus war looms larger.

Read more: Shōgun is a masterpiece that deserves every bit of your attention

It is a series that is perfect for those interested in Japanese history, or who are looking for an epic historical drama that features sharp writing and chilling political intrigue.

How to watch Shōgun as critics hail series

Shogun (Disney+)
Shogun is available to stream exclusively on Disney+. (Disney+)

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Shōgun is an exclusive release for Disney+ in the UK as the streaming platform is the home for all FX shows, thanks namely to parent company Disney's ownership of the network. The series premiered with its first two episodes on Tuesday, 27 February.

The series will continue to air on a weekly basis on Disney+, and with 10 episodes in the series that means it will come to a conclusion on Tuesday, 23 April.

Critics heaped praise onto the series ahead of its release, with many drawing comparisons to Game of Thrones. It should be noted, though, that the series has very little in common with the HBO show, for one it is not a fantasy series and doesn't feature dragons or other supernatural elements — its approach to court intrigue could be considered similar, to some.

Read more: The real history that inspired Shōgun

Variety's Alison Hermon did so in their review for the series, saying: "There are superficial similarities to Game of Thrones — five contenders for an empty throne, a storyline about two girlhood friends on opposite sides of a power struggle. But it’s this focus on people that truly unites the two series, and qualifies Shōgun to take up the mantle of thrillingly transportive event TV."

Shogun (Disney+)
The series follows English pilot John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) who is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan and becomes swept into the civil war that is on the verge of breaking out. (Disney+)

Hermon added that the show "is primarily distinguished by its characters, who share the ambiguity and lack of clear-cut righteousness that’s defined TV breakouts since the turn of the millennium."

The Independent's Nick Hilton said of the series: "The Rings of Power, The Wheel of Time, The Last of Us: many shows in the past few years have shot for the title of “the next Game of Thrones”. In Shōgun, Disney+ might just have picked a winner.

"With more sex and violence than the service’s usual fare, it’s an ambitious deviation. But this well-paced and considered saga will reward grown-up viewers and prove that there’s still room for a historical epic among the elves, dragons and zombies of big-budget telly."

The Evening Standard's Nick Clark commended the show's stunning visuals, writing: "No expense has been spared in this lavish series. It’s a full, gloriously realised immersion into the period."

Shogun (Disney+)
Critics have praised Shogun for its writing, costume design, and acting. (Disney+)

Clark added: "Shogun is prestige drama writ large. Lush locations, superb performances and an engaging story that may take its time but inexorably draws the viewer in."

Taking a different approach, The Telegraph compared the Disney+ series to Sharpe, the '90s historical drama starring Sean Bean, with critic Anita Singh writing: "The production looks magnificent. And the strength of Shōgun is the way it immerses us in a world that, with its rituals and violence, feels as foreign to us as it does to Blackthorne. This is not a series for the lily-livered, and is all the better for that."

Entertainment Weekly's Kristen Baldwin also shared praise for the series, writing: "Gorgeous and immersive from the very first frame, the new Shōgun is a stunning epic that never lets big-budget set pieces overshadow the human drama at its core."

The first two episodes of Shōgun are out now on Disney+, and the series will continue to air weekly every Tuesday.

Watch the trailer for Shōgun: