Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: Masters of Sex

by | June 5, 2014 | Comments

Showtimes’s Masters of Sex returns on July 13. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan star as William H. Masters and Virginia Johnson in this biographical series on the pioneers of sex science.

So, if your curiosity is aroused, here are our observations on Masters of Sex.

 

Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex

What’s the premise? Dr. Masters is the head of obstetrics at Washington University Hospital in St. Louis, MO, but his passion is studying human sexual response. His controversial study, done at a cathouse and behind closed doors at the hospital, relies on volunteers willing to have sex while being monitored. Virginia Johnson is a former nightclub singer and university student who quickly becomes an integral assistant in the research.

What’s it like? This pre-sexual revolution story, set in the late 1950s, is told as deliberately as William H. Masters’ own approach to his studies, scrutinizing the details of the subject from multiple angles. Head writer Michelle Ashford takes historical facts and weaves them into a beautiful and compelling character-driven series. Think Mad Med meets Cosmo, with a dash of your freshman sex ed class.

Where can I see it? Season one is streaming on SHO.com and the Showtime Anytime app for subscribing customers. It’s also available on DVD on Netflix.

How long will it take? Season one is 12 episodes, but due to its deliberate pacing, Masters of Sex is not the easiest show to binge (though you won’t go blind). Give yourself a week or two so you have recovery time between sessions.

What do the critics think? The critics were definitely turned on by season one, and it’s Certified Fresh at 90 percent on the Tomatometer. Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture said, “Masters of Sex is an intelligent, assured drama that gets better and better as it goes along.” Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter praised the treatment of the subject matter, noting that “Masters of Sex manages, with lightning speed, to shed any preconceived notions about what type of show it will be and, in so doing, tilts the camera up from the breast to the brain.” And James Poniewozik of Time Magazine went so far as to invent words to describe it: “Masters of Sex is nuanced, intelligently acted, and swellegantly directed, and I highly recommend it.”

Why should I watch this? Masters of Sex is masterfully told, and finds a way to strike a balance between story and eroticism. Both Michael Sheen and Lizzie Caplan are captivating in their roles of Masters and Johnson. There are also stand-out performances by the supporting players, including an especially moving subplot featuring Beau Bridges and Allison Janney. Visually, the show is stunning, capturing the era with sets and costumes — which make things all the more fascinating when the perfectly constructed costumes come off. But the shock settles quickly and what is most compelling is how these characters behave behind closed doors.

What’s my next step? You could get in the mood with the source material, Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love by Thomas Maier. Or if you’re looking for more quality television about mid-century obstetrics, you will find that the British TV show Call the Midwife delivers. Also, try Kinsey, the 2004 biopic about Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson), an entomologist whose studies lead him to an interest in human sexuality.

Are you into Masters of Sex? Leave your findings here — and, remember, this is for science.

Caught up with season one? Watch the season two premiere of Masters of Sex here. [Contains adult content; viewer discretion advised.]

View on YouTube

Tag Cloud

reboot VICE Food Network IMDb TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt BAFTA Summer adaptation sopranos Shudder zombie crime thriller First Look docuseries richard e. Grant vs. royal family Sundance Now canceled Holidays rotten golden globes Black History Month FX period drama Brie Larson harry potter documentaries Disney streaming service award winner Comics on TV Holiday Chernobyl 93rd Oscars trailers telelvision superman Prime Video kong Kids & Family Marvel Television ABC children's TV space Adult Swim Reality Year in Review scene in color film series scary Black Mirror Lionsgate Academy Awards Quiz IFC Baby Yoda Dark Horse Comics franchise Character Guide FX on Hulu E! San Diego Comic-Con Classic Film 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards rotten movies we love chucky Rock OWN Lifetime Christmas movies films Amazon Set visit leaderboard cancelled TV series Spike toy story Exclusive Video feel good CNN game of thrones The CW Showtime 2021 stoner documentary Peacock saw Oscars talk show Best Picture 4/20 james bond classics Oscar NBC satire Martial Arts AMC Plus witnail Tags: Comedy BBC One Instagram Live justice league Ghostbusters Super Bowl comics streaming Pride Month scene in color series 2019 halloween tv Acorn TV movies green book reviews cars target TV Land 2016 child's play RT21 critics BBC scorecard mob boxoffice Britbox ghosts NYCC Neflix Warner Bros. cancelled television independent indiana jones A24 Nat Geo sitcom Rocky biopic action-comedy Endgame dogs Grammys sports President batman Infographic Cannes rt labs psychological thriller Premiere Dates Film Festival spider-verse IFC Films Song of Ice and Fire Fall TV Heroines Podcast gangster Trivia Star Wars Netflix DC Comics 72 Emmy Awards Certified Fresh FOX war international TV renewals halloween Starz Turner Classic Movies boxing 2020 emmy awards APB Best and Worst TIFF Fox News ESPN A&E Tokyo Olympics 45 summer TV preview vampires Amazon Prime Video Rocketman Shondaland MCU dc Stephen King Hulu dark universal monsters kaiju festivals El Rey cancelled TV shows hidden camera unscripted asian-american South by Southwest Film Festival Election BBC America Emmys hist Broadway cartoon Opinion AMC Paramount Valentine's Day Women's History Month stand-up comedy PlayStation YouTube Premium Comedy Central 99% disaster marvel comics TLC Christmas ID Country biography Action Watching Series ratings Paramount Pictures Comic Book festival FXX Musical 20th Century Fox new york CBS All Access south america comiccon Pirates genre Elton John godzilla singing competition book adaptation The Walking Dead laika Mystery italian wonder woman critic resources Calendar ITV Polls and Games romance technology strong female leads VH1 CMT MTV X-Men Animation Film mission: impossible king arthur BET finale comic Toys Sundance adventure political drama monster movies mutant rom-coms razzies based on movie foreign crossover politics Turner target scene in color Fargo Spring TV canceled TV shows Mary poppins 2017 YouTube Red GIFs CBS facebook latino Cartoon Network Tomatazos cinemax breaking bad television CW Seed DirecTV OneApp golden globe awards Columbia Pictures Winners sequel Trophy Talk The Purge die hard legend Marvel Best Actor remakes worst movies revenge Wes Anderson robots blockbusters YouTube RT History Crackle Interview Television Critics Association Paramount Plus The Walt Disney Company spy thriller australia football Ellie Kemper E3 Apple TV Plus japan aliens Biopics Superheroe Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Actress Cosplay Countdown Geeked Week cults SundanceTV japanese Apple criterion directors doctor who versus Vudu Lifetime Epix Creative Arts Emmys Paramount Network art house high school PBS WGN Syfy Nickelodeon scary movies Tubi Walt Disney Pictures series Hallmark spinoff Captain marvel discovery slashers Native comic book movie concert streamig women superhero TBS science fiction Comedy Sci-Fi medical drama NBA YA Photos Reality Competition Teen DC streaming service See It Skip It renewed TV shows Musicals HBO Max Tumblr slasher SXSW 21st Century Fox Winter TV spanish Marvel Studios archives Anna Paquin Amazon Prime game show hollywood rt archives Mary Tyler Moore transformers ViacomCBS 1990s jurassic park docudrama Red Carpet ABC Signature video french what to watch Crunchyroll spider-man Rom-Com Schedule Horror basketball comedies popular cancelled Family social media Extras romantic comedy deadpool Amazon Studios know your critic interviews TV One TCA 2017 Disney+ Disney Plus First Reviews historical drama anime mcc broadcast Ovation casting pirates of the caribbean dramedy Universal Pictures HBO Go 90s TCA 79th Golden Globes Awards parents kids Star Trek Mary Poppins Returns The Academy Pop Hear Us Out free movies king kong lord of the rings Television Academy Drama TNT posters new zealand Apple TV+ debate binge Mudbound video on demand Indigenous nature Netflix Christmas movies Sony Pictures 007 thriller Best Director jamie lee curtis blockbuster SXSW 2022 DC Universe Awards Tour SDCC nbcuniversal cops spanish language obi wan comic books Writers Guild of America Freeform WarnerMedia trophy young adult GLAAD Avengers Music adenture black streaming movies composers Alien TCM Sneak Peek stop motion USA Network Star Wars Celebration Spectrum Originals Marathons cats Bravo Focus Features indie MGM dreamworks theme song Superheroes joker rt labs critics edition Binge Guide Trailer crime Thanksgiving HFPA fresh best anthology psycho animated Discovery Channel christmas movies 2018 Logo BET Awards all-time MSNBC hispanic TV movies zero dark thirty quibi Tarantino New York Comic Con History LGBT comic book movies miniseries HBO sequels crime drama aapi prank The Arrangement serial killer DGA mockumentary supernatural book worst screen actors guild Pixar Mindy Kaling Image Comics LGBTQ werewolf nfl cooking twilight PaleyFest movie olympics Video Games suspense dragons TV VOD tv talk Esquire Lucasfilm live action new star wars movies TruTV The Witch dceu Travel Channel sag awards elevated horror Emmy Nominations Sundance TV GoT Comic-Con@Home 2021 94th Oscars dexter Funimation natural history true crime Box Office summer preview marvel cinematic universe name the review Fantasy Western scene in color Sony screenings news Fox Searchlight Pet Sematary zombies Hallmark Christmas movies Universal ABC Family USA black comedy Disney Channel Disney Plus venice Arrowverse a nightmare on elm street Nominations fast and furious diversity teaser hispanic heritage month 24 frames live event police drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina heist movie TCA Winter 2020 Masterpiece National Geographic obituary Legendary TCA Awards travel summer TV Pop TV 2015 71st Emmy Awards toronto Disney blaxploitation Pacific Islander 73rd Emmy Awards Awards American Society of Cinematographers spain