Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and his assistant Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) lead the study of human sexuality at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. William aka Bill is a brilliant doctor and his human sexuality study comes up with resistance against his boss Barton Scully (Beau Bridges). Undeterred Bill, with the help of Virginia, continues to conduct the study secretly recruiting a variety of participants for the purpose of his research. As Bill gets deeper into his research, his relationship with his wife Libby (Caitlin Fitzgerald) begins to suffer and he encounters conflict with his young protégé Dr. Ethan Haas (Nicholas D’Agosto) who himself is on a journey of sexual discovery.
Masters of Sex debuted on Showtime to much fanfare and critical acclaim. The show is currently enjoying its second season and has just been renewed for a third ensuring it will be on air throughout 2015. The show is based on the true story of William Masters and Virginia Johnson with the biography Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johsnon, the Couple Who Taught America How To Love by Thomas Maier as the source material.
There is much to enjoy about Masters of Sex. From the luscious camera-work and the fantastic sets and costumes, through to the engaging storylines and strong performances, it really is one of the best dramas on television at the moment. Whilst the sex study is at the centre of the show there are plenty of other supporting plots that grab your attention. Whilst Bill is conducting his study he has to deal with his wife who is trying to get pregnant. She has no idea that the problem with their conceiving actually lies with Bill and not her as he makes her believe.
Elsewhere in the show Bill’s colleague Dr. Austin Langham (Teddy Sears) participates in the study and sees it as a way to cheat on his wife without feeling any guilt as it’s all for the study of course. He becomes infatuated with his sex study partner Jane (Helene Yorke) who refuses to have an affair with him but is happy to sleep with him as part of the study.
The performances of Martin Sheen and Lizzy Caplan are at the centre of Masters of Sex and reason enough to convince you to give the show a try if you’ve never seen it. Sheen is one of Britain’s finest actors and he convinces thoroughly as Bill Masters. His performance brings the awkward nature of Masters’ personality to the fore and his interactions with the other characters are superb. Aiding him, and dare we say matching his performance, is Lizzy Caplan. The actress has come a long way since her breakthrough in Mean Girls and she brings a more human side to Bill and to the study the two undertake. There is real chemistry with the actors and you care about both of the characters.
Great support comes from Caitlin Fitzgerald as Bill’s oft-ignored wife Libby and Teddy Sears as Bill’s colleague Dr. Austin Langham. Nicholas D’Agosto also shows off his acting chops as the frustrated and angry Dr. Ethan Haas.
Masters of Sex is unlike anything else on TV and without a doubt one of the shows that you should have on your ‘to watch’ list. Sheen and Caplan turn in superb performances and the storylines are engaging and well written. Masters of Sex could well be our favourite new drama and we can’t wait to see how things unfold past the first season.