Masters of Sex
|Masters of Sex|
|Based on||Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love
by Thomas Maier
|Developed by||Michelle Ashford|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||12 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||55–60 minutes|
|Original run||September 29, 2013– present|
Masters of Sex is an American television drama series on Showtime. It was developed by Michelle Ashford and based on Thomas Maier's biography Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love. The series tells the story of Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson and was picked up for a first season consisting of 12 episodes, and premiered September 29, 2013.
On October 22, 2013, Showtime renewed Masters of Sex for a second season to air in 2014.
- Michael Sheen as Dr. William H. Masters
- Lizzy Caplan as Virginia E. Johnson
- Caitlin Fitzgerald as Libby Masters
- Teddy Sears as Dr. Austin Langham
- Nicholas D'Agosto as Dr. Ethan Haas
- Beau Bridges as Provost Barton Scully
- Allison Janney as Margaret Scully, Scully's wife
- Rose McIver as Vivian Scully, their daughter
- Annaleigh Ashford as Betty DiMello
- Heléne Yorke as Jane Martin
- Julianne Nicholson as Dr. Lillian DePaul
- Nicholle Tom as Maureen
- Ann Dowd as Estabrooks Masters, William's mother
- Finn Wittrock as Dale, a prostitute whom Barton Scully patronizes
Development and production
Ashford created the character of Barton Scully out of a combination of several men whom Masters knew. One of them was gay, but was not the man serving as provost during Masters's initial study.
Prop master Jeffrey Johnson noted the difficulty of obtaining accurate information about sexual devices from the time period. "They were so taboo it was hard to find research drawings. People didn’t even put them in writing." He obtained some vintage vibrators and dildos for use in the series along with acquiring condoms manufactured in the era (which did not have the reservoir tips of modern condoms). He designed "Ulysses," a transparent dildo with attached camera first seen in the pilot episode, from scratch, along with a diaphragm sizing kit seen in later episodes.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD and Blu-ray release dates|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||12||September 29, 2013||December 15, 2013||TBA||TBA||March 20, 2014|
The first season of Masters of Sex received critical acclaim. Based on 49 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the first season received a 90% approval rating from critics, with a rating average of 8.4 out of 10. The sites consensus states: "Seductive and nuanced, Masters of Sex features smart performances, deft direction, and impeccable period decor." Metacritic gave the first season a score of 85/100, based on 32 reviews. The American Film Institute listed it as one of the top ten television series of 2013.
Matt Roush of TV Guide wrote that "There is no more fascinating, or entertaining, new series this fall season." Diane Werts of Newsday gave it an "A" grade, complimenting the series on its use of humor, stating "its deft balance of epic scope and whimsical humanity", as well as the strong performances of the actors and creator Michelle Ashford's "scene-setting scripts". David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle particularly praises the performances, calling them "extraordinary" and "stunning", and noting the series' A-list directors such as Michael Apted and John Madden. Hank Stuever of The Washington Post wrote that after the first two episodes, "the characters get better and more complex, the story builds, strange things start to happen and now I can't wait to see how its interweaving plots unfold. Alan Sepinwall of HitFix praised lead actors Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, calling them "terrific", and that "Masters of Sex is the best new show of the fall by a very long stretch. It's also a refreshing anomaly: a prestige cable drama that doesn't feel like a recombination of elements from 15 shows that came before it."
Awards and nominations
In June 2013, the series was honored, along with five others, with the Critics' Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series. The series received two nominations for the 2014 Writers Guild of America Awards, for Best New Series and Best Episodic Drama for "Pilot". For the 71st Golden Globe Awards, the series was nominated for Best Drama Series, and Michael Sheen was nominated Best Drama Actor.
In Canada, the series debuted on September 29, 2013, on The Movie Network. In Australia, the series premiered on SBS One on October 3, 2013. In Ireland, the series premiered on October 4, 2013 on RTE 2. In the UK, it debuted on Channel 4 on October 8, 2013. In New Zealand, it debuted on SoHo on October 23, 2013.
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- Littleton, Cynthia (June 11, 2012). "Showtime gives series orders to 'Donovan,' 'Sex'". Variety. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
- Seidman, Robert (January 12, 2013). "Showtime Announces Premiere Dates for 'Nurse Jackie,' 'Dexter' (Returning Early) 'Ray Donovan,' 'Homeland,' 'Masters of Sex' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
- "Showtime Announces Pickups of Homeland and Masters of Sex". CBS. October 23, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- Maier, Thomas (2009). Masters Of Sex : The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, The Couple Who Taught America How To Love. New York: Basic Books. p. 400. ISBN 9780465003075.
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- Werts, Diane (September 25, 2013). "'Masters of Sex' review: Showtime scores". Newsday. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
- Wiegand, David (September 26, 2013). "'Masters of Sex' review: Satisfying look at sex". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
- Stuever, Hank (September 26, 2013). "Showtime’s ‘Masters of Sex’ gets better as it goes along". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
- Sepinwall, Alan (September 26, 2013). "Review: Michael Sheen & Lizzy Caplan shine in Showtime's 'Masters of Sex'". HitFix. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
- "The BTJA Announces Icon Award Recipient and Most Exciting New Series Honorees". The Broadcast Television Journalists Association. June 10, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
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