09/15/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT
NBC (8-11 p.m. ET)
NBC's five-night, 12-hour rendition of James Clavell's 1975 best-seller about 17th-century Japan took $22 million and six months to make—but was worth it. Stunningly photographed, the series follows shipwrecked English navigator Richard Chamberlain through a slew of adventures as he becomes the first foreigner ever made a samurai—a medieval Japanese knight. Chamberlain dominates his scenes, but Toshiro Mifune, as a menacing warlord, and Yoko Shimada, as Chamberlain's lover, are also outstanding.