Masters of Sex

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Titillating, scandalous, and provocative very accurately describe this fantastic show about the original pioneers Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson who dared to defy societal taboos and conventions to delve into the science of human sexuality. At the time, their work was so radical their shocked peers called them perverts, their scientific inquiries obscene and their findings nothing but smut. The simple fact is that sex sells and has always sold, so it’s difficult to imagine that nobody in the thousands of years of advancements in medicine ever stopped to ask some very basic questions about so fundamental an act. The 1950s wasn’t that long ago, but compared to today’s culture of freely available information, it might as well be the moon. Unbelievably good production values in wardrobe, makeup and sets, plus a saucy title sequence sure to elicit a knowing giggle or two. The research itself is fascinating and in no way tawdry or gratuitous, but what’s really compelling are the plethoras of complex personalities and relationships orbiting around this St. Louis hospital. Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen give stupendously nuanced performances, and Caitlin FitzGerald is all that is gracious and lovely as the mild-mannered Mrs. Masters. But the most magnificent pair of characters, in my opinion, are Barton Scully (Beau Bridges in a hauntingly intense role) and Margaret Scully, beautifully portrayed as dignified and soulful by Allison Janney. Repression, shame, naïveté, passion, love and biology all play integral parts in this early exploration of the cornerstone of life. Riveting, deeply moving and utterly, er, stimulating, this show gives new appreciation for how society has evolved, hopefully for the better. – BETHANY

Mrs. Libby Masters

Virginia Johnson and Jane Martin

          Dr. Teddy Sears and Vivian Scully

Barton Scully and an illuminating piece of lab equipment

Margaret Scully and Dr. DePaul

Johnson and Masters

Photos courtesy of Round Two Productions, Timberman/Beverly Productions, Sony Pictures Television and Showtime Networks


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