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Home > Why ‘Shōgun’ (2024) Doesn’t Need a Second Season

Why ‘Shōgun’ (2024) Doesn’t Need a Second Season

Why ‘Shōgun’ (2024) Doesn’t Need a Second Season

What Happens When Shows Run Too Long

The end of April marked the conclusion of the hit series Shōgun (2024). With a current IMDb rating of 8.8/10, the show not only impressed viewers and critics alike but also left some wanting the story to continue.

Considerations for a Second Season 

As development for a second season is underway, it’s worth noting the growing history behind the story. Shōgun is a remake of a popular TV show from 1980 under the same name. The story that’s featured in both series is based on a novel by James Clavell, which also shares the title. It’s no surprise that the television adaptations saw success, considering the book was able to sell over 6 million copies within 5 years of its release. Before pre-production began on Season 2 of the series, the latest Shōgun creators, Justin Marks and Rachel Kondo, have admitted that a follow-up season isn’t out of the question. Despite this tentative interest, the pair concluded that a series continuation would only happen with a worthy premise. Since the finale of Shōgun concludes as the novel does, a suitable story that calls for more seasons may be hard to come by. We learned of an apparent greenlight for a second season when it was announced that actor Hiroyuki Sanada signed a deal to reprise his role as Yoshii Toranaga. 

Sanada’s noteworthy performance in the first season wasn’t the only one that caught the attention of audiences. Cosmo Jarvis as John Blackthorne and Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko also did their part, contributing to the critical success of Shōgun. Neither are currently signed on to reprise their roles for a follow-up season. It seems as though FX Networks may be securing talent before deciding what story they want to tell next. In any case, the production team will need to remain diligent in their development efforts. A lackluster season can easily undermine the stellar success that Shōgun has enjoyed since its premiere. Hollywood history is filled with cautionary tales about the dangers of dragging out TV series or struggling to generate compelling content beyond the available source material. Game of Thrones and Desperate Housewives stand as two relatively recent examples of such missteps.    

Game of Thrones and Desperate Housewives 

Game of Thrones may be one of the most beloved shows ever to grace a television screen despite its controversial conclusion. Today, the series stands at an impressive 9.2 rating on IMDb. Fans criticized the apparent dip in storytelling quality in the final few seasons. It’s likely not a coincidence that Season 6 and beyond no longer had the benefit of published source material that consisted of the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. A quick look at the episode rating at that time demonstrates how well the show was being received then. The penultimate episode of Season 6 is the highly regarded “Battle of the Bastards.” The episode is scored at a near-perfect 9.9, with nearly a quarter million people having given their rating. Not only is this high for IMDb standards, but subsequent episode scoring for Game of Thrones would ultimately end up paling in comparison. Season 8, the final season, contains six episodes that bear an average score of 6.4. This may not seem negative, but the final two episodes are rated 5.9 and 4.0, respectively. Although there may have been other factors that contributed to this dismal reception, it’s hard to ignore the challenges of keeping a show successful while on an extended run.

Desperate Housewives was a cultural phenomenon after its debut in 2004. It’s a little-known fact, however, that the first season was loosely based on a national news story from the ’90s that centered around a woman who was successful in conspiring to have her husband murdered. With a provocative storyline and a sexy, talented cast, the series was destined to be a hit. The debut season averaged an even rating of 8.0 on IMDb, with the lowest episode receiving a respectable 7.7. The show, in its entirety, is currently slated at 7.6. Despite an 8-season run with consistent viewership throughout, the final season wasn’t immune to criticism. Fans believed that the show had strayed too far from the central themes and felt a rushed conclusion for some storylines. The show-running antics were also evident. The narrative time between Seasons 4 and 5 was five years. Although it’s a pretty creative way to provide a fresh start to characters and storylines, it was a bit jarring for viewers at the time.       

Miniseries Success 

Sometimes the nature of the story being told dictates how it must be told. We often hear of film adaptations not being able to live up to the novels on which they’re based. Conversely, it’s also difficult to turn classic movies into more long-form media. There were two attempts to convert Casablanca into a TV series. The attempts in 1955 and 1983 were both short-lived failures that didn’t resonate with audiences. However, there appears to be a growing trend in Hollywood, with its willingness to experiment with a miniseries or a limited series. This can likely be attributed to Shōgun’s approval for production to begin with. Band of Brothers may have been the test case that proved the viability of such a format. Currently rated on IMDb at 9.4, it’s easy to consider the series as a success. Since the debut of Band of Brothers in 2001, we’ve seen other shows follow suit, such as John Adams (8.4), Hatfields & McCoys (7.9), The Night Of (8.4), and Chernobyl (9.3), to name a few. Even though HBO has had the most experience with limited series, other streaming providers and networks are also finding similar success. Netflix has produced Godless (8.2) When They See Us (8.8), and The Queen’s Gambit (8.5), all within the past seven years. Not to be left out, Hulu released The Dropout (7.5), Pam & Tommy (7.3), and Dopesick (8.6). These productions are from within the past three years. The miniseries format will never render the traditional approach to a television series obsolete, but it’s becoming increasingly evident that there is more than enough space for both. 

Television networks aren’t particularly known for their artistic integrity. Opportunities for revenue in the entertainment industry aren’t often overlooked. Although the creators of Shōgun aren’t eager to squander all their research of feudal Japan, it’s comforting to know that they won’t risk undermining the show’s accomplishments needlessly. Perhaps this is the level of mindfulness that should’ve been employed for promising series that ultimately became cautionary tales.        

All 10 episodes of Shōgun are currently available to stream on Hulu.

Shōgun (2024) Season 1 Official FX Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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