Shogun might get two more seasons; 6 reasons why this is a bad idea for the FX drama

Shogun could be jumping from a limited series to a regular show. But there are some good reasons why continuing the FX historical drama would be a bad idea.
“SHOGUN” -- "A Dream of a Dream" -- Episode 10 (Airs April 23) Pictured (L-R): Hiroto Kanai as Kashigi Omi, Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga. CR: Katie Yu/FX
“SHOGUN” -- "A Dream of a Dream" -- Episode 10 (Airs April 23) Pictured (L-R): Hiroto Kanai as Kashigi Omi, Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga. CR: Katie Yu/FX /

It appears Shogun is going to be continuing on FX. But is another season or two of the historical epic actually a bad thing for it? We think so.

Shogun has been landing on the early lists for the best new TV shows of 2024. The series was met with massive critical acclaim, was quite faithful to the novel it's based on, and its conclusion wrapped up the main storylines. So it was a surprise when rumblings came up that FX was going to enter the series for the 2024 Emmys not in the limited series category, but for Best Drama Series.

The reasons are now obvious, as The Hollywood Reporter states that plans are underway for two more seasons of Shogun. There's no official confirmation or statement from FX/Hulu, but it seems a writers room is being assembled, and Hiroyuki Sanada is attached to reprise his role.

The finale did leave off with Toranaga ready to face rivals in some key battles and some potential for the tale to continue. But I don't think it's a good idea to continue the show since the plot of the novel has been fully adapted, the season 1 finale ended on a high note, and more. Here's 6 reasons why Shogun should not get any more seasons.

Katie Yu/FX /

It's going to cost them awards

Shogun was seen as the show to beat for the Limited Series Emmy Awards. It was a shoo-in for Best Limited Series and the cast, writers, and directors likely getting attention as well. It would have been deserving of all of that.

Instead, it's now going for the regular Drama Series Emmy category, which is much tougher with The Crown, The Morning Show, and more. Shogun's chances of earning much-deserved awards love just took a severe hit.

Spreading beyond the original novel could backfire

Based on James Clavell's 1975 novel (which was also made into a 1980 ABC miniseries), the show is set in 1600 as Englishman John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) washes up on the shores of Japan. He's taken into the household of Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Sanada) and aids him in the war between the feudal clans that will shape Japan's future.

It's true there's a lot of potential in continuing Toranaga's story with his conflicts and how he rises up to eventually become ruler. There's also how the finale showed an aged Blackthorne back in England, so a lot of his story on what he was up to in Japan could fill in the blanks. But do we really need that?

Adapting an acclaimed novel is tricky enough but expanding it beyond what the original author intended is something else. There's also the problem of the writers being tempted to put modern-day values or themes that wouldn't fit the 1600s Japan setting, and thus throw off the entire series' vibe. Trying to craft something original risks ruining the spirit Clavell had for readers and taking too many liberties with history to ruin the power the first season had. 

Katie Yu/FX /

The following seasons won't be as fun

Toranaga is based on the real-life Tokugawa Ieyasu who likewise rose through politics and combat to become Shogun. That's going to be a problem to dramatize as Toranaga's rule won't be nearly as fun as seeing his rise. Sure, he can face rivals but his rule would be a period of peace rather than war.

That lacks the same dramatic touches the first season had, which were always more fun with the characters discussing politics and culture than the battle scenes. However, having episodes revolving around only politics won't be as fun and as excellent an actor as Sanada is, watching him rule won't match the thrill of his rise to power. 

Continuing without key characters is a bad idea

The fact that some prime characters met their ends in Shogun season 1 darkens season 2 right away. Without giving away spoilers, some deaths had a serious impact because of how we cared for the characters and seeing their exits gave the show real power. Again, that's because of how well Clavell crafted the work and the actors living up to it. 

Introducing brand new characters can be a risk, and the writers might be unable to find the same magic with them as they did with Clavell's works. There's also how they won't have the same connections to Toranaga and Blackthorne, so they come off as pale imitators rather than adding more to the show. 

Katie Yu/FX /

Why top that finale?

In the end, Shogun ended on a high note, nailing the tone perfectly. It left the door open to more adventures for the main characters, yet could also work nicely as a series finale. It was the perfect mix of ambiguity and clarity, hinting at the two main characters on different paths. But a flash-forward scene answers questions wer were left with.

In short, it wrapped things up on a creative high note, one that's almost impossible to top. So, trying for it for two more years already looks like an exercise in futility. The show was practically lightning in a bottle from the cast to production values and should be left alone as a near-perfect limited series, not the start of some new franchise.

There's much more Clavell to adapt

If FX and Hulu really wanted to expand on the world of Shogun, they don't need to continue the show. Instead, they can look to the other five books of Clavell's "Asian Saga," all of which are fodder for drama. They can range from Tai-Pan's Opium Wars Hong Kong setting to King Rat's World War II adventures.

There's even an overreaching arc of Struan's trading house rising in power and influence, culminating in Noble House. Each of these books can be a fine period piece, and FX has shown itself adept at anthology shows like Fargo and American Horror Story. Thus, they don't need to continue a story that wrapped up so well when several novels can show off more of Clavell's world. 

Maybe Shogun could work as a regular show but it still seems doubtful. If anything, it should be left alone as a fantastic limited series that adapted a daunting book to a wonderful degree with stunning actors involved. Turning it into a multi-season drama risks ruining what made it so magnificent in the first place and undermines the impact the show's initial outing had.

Shogun season 1 is streaming on Hulu.

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