If you’re not already, you should be watching Masters of Sex, the second-best new show of the year (after Hannibal). The show follows the scientific research of Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) and his assistant Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) into human sexuality. Set in the fifties, it bears more than a passing resemblance to Mad Men, but it’s a smaller, sexier show. Its focus is intentionally narrower than Mad Men, with a smaller cast, a smaller budget and a tight focus on one topic: sex.
Masters of Sex understands that sex sells – every episode has ample nudity – but it’s more interested in the complexities of sex than any other series. It ponders sex on a grand scale – how do social mores evolve? – and on a intimately personal scale. Its characters are impeccably drawn (with the possible of exception of Dr Ethan Haas, played by Nicholas D’Agosto), thanks to crisp writing and excellent acting. Generally a show takes some time to flesh out its characters to the point that I truly feel for them, but the latest episode of this series had a greater emotional impact on me than any episode of television this year – a testament to the show’s quality. Recommended.