TV Review: Showtime's 'Masters of Sex'


Showtime premieres Masters of Sex, a period drama starring Michael Sheen about sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

Masters of Sex is good for its conversation, and we’re not talking about getting turned on by witty repartee (this isn’t The Newsroom, after all). Just as Masters and Johnson’s work helped Americans begin to talk about sex instead of relegating it to behind closed doors, the series stimulates that conversation with viewers.”

Hanh Nguyen, TV Guide

“Unlike, say, Game of Thrones, which was criticized early on for its hefty servings of nonessential female nudity, Masters of Sex limits its sex to where sex is an important component of the story, and it shows naked bodies only in places where naked bodies would necessarily be.”

Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic

Masters of Sex is nuanced, intelligently acted, and swellegantly directed, and I highly recommend it. I’ve seen six episodes; the third really kicks the show into a higher gear (or, to use the sex researchers’ term of art, ‘the plateau phase’).”

James Poniewozik, Time

“Just technically speaking, the look is impeccable, capturing the Eisenhower era with every small touch and wrinkle. The unhurried pace also suggests a slow build to accommodate a series on the back of what might have been dispensed with as a movie or miniseries.”

Brian Lowry, Variety

“Like sex, Masters of Sex gets better as it goes on. But without an extra dimension, or a broader glimpse of a world beyond St. Louis, the series eventually grows a little claustrophobic and thin.”

Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times