Mercado on TV: Shōgun and The Regime – one is a can’t-miss blockbuster, the other a fail


“Shōgun is a mesmerising new version of James Clavell’s bestselling novel.”

Two anticipated shows this week with Shōgun and The Regime. One is a can’t-miss blockbuster, the other fails on every level.

Shōgun is a mesmerising new version of James Clavell’s bestselling novel. The 1980 mini-series, starring Richard Chamberlain, delivered NBC its highest-ever ratings to date, and was second only to Roots (1977) in its impact.

Roots was remade for The History Channel in 2016 so it’s more than time for a new Shōgun. Even though it was all filmed in Japan, locals there considered it to be historically inaccurate. Despite this version being filmed in Vancouver and Ireland, the Japanese have already given it a thumbs up.

Cosmo Jarvis is compelling and charismatic as John Blackthorne, the shipwrecked sailor dealing with suspicious but curious samurai (Hiroyuki Sanada, Takehiro Mira) and untrustworthy religious rivals (Nestor Carbonell, Tommy Bastow). 


Shōgun is a winner. The Regime (Foxtel/Binge) is not. Kate Winslet plays the Chancellor of some mythical kingdom where everyone speaks in a different accent. She spends most of the first episode obsessing over mould. None of it is funny.

Winslet won Emmy Awards for her last two forays into television, Mare of Easttown and Mildred Pierce. She will not win any awards for this. The Regime is supposed to be a satire but the joke may be on us.

Ricky Stanicky (Prime) is the latest gross-out comedy from Peter Farrelly. Jon Cena and Zac Efron are funny, and because it’s filmed in Melbourne, look out for Debra Lawrence, Heather Mitchell, Ryan Shelton, and Stan Grant.

Kate Winslet in The Regime

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This week: Shōgun, The Regime, Mary and George

Three very ambitious dramas this week – two set in Europe and the third in 17th century Japan. Shōgun (Disney+ series, 10 episodes) tells the story of how a British sailor was captured in Japan after his ship ran aground. It’s a big budget, sprawling historical drama.

The Regime (Binge/Foxtel series, 6 episodes) brings Kate Winslet back to television in this satire about a Central European regime. After her brilliance in The Mare of Easttown, does Winslet bring the magic again?

Mary and George (Binge/Foxtel series, 7 episodes) is a British history drama about King James I and the male lover he takes after the young man’s mother hatched a plot to get him into the royal household. The series features some wonderful scenes with Julianne Moore facing off against TV Gold favourite Nicola Walker.

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