FX’s ‘Shōgun’ Refrained From Emphasizing John Blackthorne’s (Cough) Endowment, But The Size Of Those Ratings Is No Joke

The 1600s feudal Japan war story in Shōgun has sat upon countless bookshelves since its 1975 release by author James Clavell as part of his Asian Saga. That type of built-in audience, coupled with word of mouth that this series could be the next big thing, has yielded incredible ratings. Variety now reports that the first six days after the series’ debut episodes resulted in 9 million views on streaming “with a view defined as total stream time divided by runtime.” That’s even higher than The Bear‘s results, so FX is doing pretty darn well lately at nailing must-see shows.

So, king-sized views and large ratings are afoot. Is anything else… big? Ahead of the FX historical epic’s release, Decider’s Meghan O’Keefe did her due diligence after noting that the show opted to exclude the “problematically huge penis” of John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), who delivered eye-popping views for the ladies in Clavell’s book. As funny as this sounds, the reality is that the detail’s insertion in a 1970s book could be construed as racial stereotyping against Asian men, even though Blackthorne’s dong does turn into a running joke. As well, the book includes a passage in which the sight of this unit makes an elderly woman comment upon how she can die happy now.

As mentioned above, Decider’s O’Keefe knew the most important question to ask about the budding samurai and Shōgun:

“Don’t look at me to answer the question!” Shōgun co-creator and co-showrunner Justin Marks said, laughing, after Decider posed the question during an in-depth interview about the entire season at Winter 2024 TCA.

Marks did, however, end up answering the inquiry:

“[A]s writers, I think we are always in search of new cliches to create and to find new cliches, you kind of have to turn the page from old cliches. And I think some of those cliches are unfortunate… It wasn’t that we were like clutching pearls, like, ‘Oh my gosh! We can’t do that!’ It was more just a question of I think we can find new humor and be funnier in ways.”

A question remains however: since Blackthorne was based upon historical figure William Adams, was the joke rooted in reality? Inquiring minds, etc.

(Via Decider & Variety)