”Shogun” is one of 10 best miniseries on DVD
CAST OF THOUSANDS Richard Chamberlain (pictured, left, with Yoko Shimada and Toshiro Mifune), Frankie Sakai, Nobuo Kaneko, Michael Hordern
BREAKOUT STAR John Rhys-Davies, future sidekick to Indiana Jones and Frodo Baggins, as roguish Vasco Rodrigues
MINI-SUMMARY Shipwrecked in early-17th-century Japan, English sailor Blackthorne (Chamberlain) gets involved in intrigue among Portuguese merchants, Jesuit missionaries, and two rival warlords, Toronaga (Mifune) and Ishido (Kaneko). He also has a taboo affair with a noblewoman, Lady Mariko (Shimada).
HIGHLIGHTS Blackthorne teaches Toronaga how to dance the hornpipe; Blackthorne becomes a samurai.
IMPACT With its scrupulous verisimilitude (for one thing, the Japanese characters speak in their own language, without subtitles), Shogun introduced many Americans to the richness of Japanese history and culture, and it cemented Chamberlain’s reputation (two years after Centennial and three years before The Thorn Birds) as King of the Miniseries.
EW GRADE C