Shōgun director thinks Succession comparisons are more fitting than Game of Thrones

(Image credit: FX)

New series Shōgun is a feudal drama with high stakes and plenty of political intrigue, so it's no surprise that it's earning comparisons to Game of Thrones (including in our own review...). However, according to director Jonathan van Tulleken, it has more in common with another, very different, HBO show.

"Truly it is a character piece and it is about this intrigue," van Tulleken, who helmed the show's first two episodes, told the Today show (via Deadline). "This is a dangerous world where violence can come out of nowhere but the real danger is in the machinations. A conversation can be as dangerous as anything else. A better comparison [than Game of Thrones] would be Succession or House of Cards."

Set in the early 17th Century, Shōgun sees English sailor John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) shipwrecked on the shores of Japan, where his path crosses with the powerful Lord Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada) and the mysterious samurai Lady Mariko (Anna Sawai). It's based on the novel of the same name by James Clavell, which was first published in 1975.

Succession and House of Cards, meanwhile, are both set in the present day. The former follows the battle for the top spot in family-run media conglomerate Waystar RoyCo as patriarch Logan Roy's (Brian Cox) health begins to fail, while the latter centers around an ambitious and amoral politician (Kevin Spacey) in Washington DC.

Shōgun has been a hit with critics, with a current score of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. Our own review praised "memorable performances" from Sanada and Sawai, as well as the show's "gorgeous" costumes and cinematography. 

Shōgun is releasing weekly on Hulu in the US and Disney Plus in the UK. For more, check out our guide to the other biggest new TV shows coming our way in 2024.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.