Is Showtime going to have a hit in “Masters of Sex”? While tonight offered up a brilliant premiere and one of the strongest pilots for any drama we have seen since “Homeland,” the issue here is that we do not believe that this is a show geared to have that same level of popular. Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) make a good many points about human sexuality in the premiere, but perhaps more so than his utterances about just how uncomfortable sexuality makes many in intellectual settings. Even today, you have viewers who will flock to a show with explosions and shootings, but freak out and get squeamish over something that contains so much of this subject matter.
In focusing on the story, Masters is a man desperate to open up the world to the science of what happens to the body during sexual situations, but he is a man who no one wants to take seriously in his pursuits. He eventually meets Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Kaplan), a former singer who ends up becoming his assistant. She herself has a very progressive viewpoint on sex, and thus is the perfect yin to his yang.
But does she really want to sleep with Masters? In order to prevent there from being any sort of lack of attachment to their research project, this is what Bill suggested at the tail end of the episode. It’s not something that we want to see (in particular for Bill’s wife), and she says that she will think about it.
There were a number of other layers within the pilot, as we came to know the members of each character’s inner circle somewhat, including the colleague of Masters’ who “loved” Virginia, and then struck her when she did not feel the same way about him. The one aspect of this episode that was somewhat troubling? That her children seemed to disappear from the episode about halfway through it, almost without explanation as to how she balances everything. These are the little issues that the show may run into since it cannot rewrite people who are actually a part of history. Also, the story will be solely reliant on the performances and the writing, since it is already well-known how it ends. Luckily, Caplan was brilliant in this episode, and Sheen also is going to get some awards buzz if he keeps this up.
What did you think about the “Masters of Sex” pilot? Be sure to share your thoughts below!