Shōgun parents guide: The next Game of Thrones earns its TV-MA rating

Shōgun's first two episodes are now availble on Hulu (Disney+ outside of the U.S.). This certainly deserves its TV-MA rating.

“SHOGUN” -- "Servants of Two Masters" -- Episode 2 (Airs February 27) Pictured: Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga, Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko. CR: Katie Yu/FX
“SHOGUN” -- "Servants of Two Masters" -- Episode 2 (Airs February 27) Pictured: Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga, Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko. CR: Katie Yu/FX /

Shōgun is now on Hulu, and the reviews have been rapturous. Critics are calling it the next Game of Thrones, and given that was a cultural phenomenon, there's every chance your kids might want to get in on the action early. But should they be allowed to watch the series?

When first announced, Shōgun seemed to be rated TV-14 for U.S. audiences, but it looks like this was a mistake. It is now rated TV-MA -- and frankly, that’s the way it should be, based on watching the first two episodes currently available to stream.

Like Game of Thrones, a lot goes down in the first two episodes, and it is clear that this is only going to get worse -- at least in terms of graphic content, though perhaps not in terms of storyline.

And also like Game of Thrones, you’ll want to watch this show on your own -- or with any other adults in your life. Don’t bring the kids into it. While there are some brilliant dives into real history, this is not a series that’s suitable for anyone under 18. Well, maybe the 16 and 17-year-olds, but even then, you're pushing it.

So what makes Shōgun unsuitable for kids? Let's get into it.

What makes Shōgun unsuitable for kids?

Eita Okuno as Saeki Nobutatsu, Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko, Hiromoto Ida as Kiyama Ukon Sadanaga. CR: Katie Yu/FX /

Shōgun takes place in the 1600s. For years, the Spanish Catholics have traded with Japan and kept it away from Protestants. That’s all about to change. Now the Japanese lords are fighting, and one lord, Yoshii, comes across a European ship that could unravel a lot of mysteries.

The show immediately sets the bar high in terms of violence. In the first episode alone, there's the implied death of a baby, and a man gets his head chopped off. It’s not too graphic at first, but it slowly gets worse over the course of the premiere. There is also a lot of crude language and actions, although a lot of it is in subtitles. This could help to make it seem like the language isn’t too bad since you’re reading, rather than hearing.

There are also some graphic scenes when it comes to torture. We see an Englishman thrown into a barrel of boiling water. His screams are heard, and there is a brief glimpse of the burns all over his body before he dies. It's an intense start to the series.

And while it's not graphic content, to be honest, the subtitles do make it less likely for younger children to even want to watch the show. They can’t read as quickly as adults.

In terms of nudity, this is also on the slightly more graphic side. In the first episode, a woman's breasts are on show. We also see her have intercourse with a man while watched by another character. While not too graphic in nature, it's very clear what they are supposed to be doing.

So, overall? Not for the kids. Shōgun earns its TV-MA rating, and chances are it will only continue to earn that when the next episodes debut. Definitely watch this series yourself. But throw on House of Ninjas on Netflix instead and your whole family will be set.

House of Ninjas is great for teens. House of Ninjas is great for teens. dark. Next

Shōgun is available to stream on Hulu.