Television: Riding Shog

Ah, there was good news at NBC last week, for so long the also-ran in the networks' ratings race. NBC hit paydirt with the five-night, twelve-hour, $25 million production of James Clavell's bestselling novel Shōgun, set in 17th century Japan and starring Richard Chamberlain and Yoko Shimada. Despite long doses of uncaptioned Japanese dialogue, Shōgun's mix of arch politics, discreet sex and graphic beheadings started big on Monday night with 70 million watching, and was still going strong at week's end as newspapers alertly provided daily plot summaries. The total audience: some 125...

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