Masters Of Sex
Thursday, 03 October 2013

Masters Of Sex

This new period drama is like Mad Men on Viagra

Written by Michael Moran
Michael-Moran1As you might have guessed from the title, this is a bit of a fruity one. Starting in 1957, Bill Masters and Virginia E Johnson undertook the first serious research into the nature of human sexuality. Masters Of Sex (Channel 4, on Tuesday at 9pm) is a lovingly made period drama that traces their struggle to get their work recognised by mainstream academia.

Michael Sheen adds the earnest, somewhat tightly wound Masters to the long list of famous real-life characters that he has portrayed on screen. His rather more relaxed partner, Virginia, is played by Lizzy Caplan, one of those familiar faces that’s been in everything without ever quite achieving top billing. Masters Of Sex will probably change that. She plays Johnson as a one woman sexual revolution who is impossible not to like.

Imagine a less boozy, far sexier Mad Men and you won’t be far off. When the characters are actually wearing clothes, the costumes are a delight. There are some terrific 1950s frocks and Beau Bridges, in particular, benefits from the structured suits of the period. The first episode is directed by John Madden, who had enormous success with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

There’s a glossy, cinematic quality to Masters Of Sex too, with its moodily lit interiors lined with polished wood panels and Bakelite lab equipment. By turns funny, sexy and dramatic, it is likely to be one of the television events of the year.

NOT TO BE MISSED

Culture-TV-Oct04-NotToBeMissed-590

Homeland (Channel 4, Sunday, 9pm)
Homeland is back for its third series. The first was a triumph. The second was a bit of a stretch. How are they going to bring Damian Lewis back this time?

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Channel 4, Friday, 8pm)
The glossy US sci-fi detective series visits Peru this week, on the trail of a mysterious artefact.

The Sarah Millican TV Show (BBC Two, Thursday, 10pm)
The charming South Shields funny girl brings her signature blend of cheeky chat and clever observational comedy.


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