Episodes: 46 (hour)
TV show dates: September 29, 2013 — November 13, 2016
Series status: Cancelled
Performers include: Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald, Nicholas D’Agosto, Teddy Sears, Beau Bridges, Allison Janney, and Julianne Nicholson.
TV show description:
This dramatic series follows the unusual lives of two real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality — William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Their research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a midwestern teaching hospital to the cover of TIME and multiple appearances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.
Already a leader in his field of obstetrics and gynecology, Doctor William Masters (Michael Sheen) is intent on exploring the nature of human sexuality and how the body responds during sexual stimulation. He himself is quite sexually repressed despite his unabashed pursuit of his study of sex — a subject that many (especially his mentor and the head of the hospital) regard as lewd and inappropriate. He may be a brilliant scientist, but his bedside manner leaves much to be desired, both in and out of the office.
Masters’ wife, Libby (Caitlin FitzGerald), tries to put on a brave face about her marriage, but is in distress over her seeming inability to conceive a child. She fears her husband’s lack of intimacy is a result of her perceived condition and becomes increasingly desperate to solve the problem. She is also confounded by her husband’s clinical interest in sex, but apparent lack of desire to share his passion in their marriage.
A divorced mother anxious to have a meaningful career, Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) is ahead of her time on many fronts. She’s smart, forthright, resourceful, and sexually uninhibited. She also refuses to adhere to the norms that society places on women in 1950s St. Louis. Virginia is compassionate and attuned to her emotions and those of others, which makes her the perfect counterpart for the repressed and socially awkward Doctor Masters.
She finagles her way into a position as his assistant, and is one of the few who fully appreciates the value of his research. But being a single working mother is not easy, and she is constantly faced with difficult choices between her children and her unconventional career, both of which suffer as a result.
A brash young resident who works under Masters, Doctor Ethan Haas (Nicholas D’Agosto) takes an immediate liking to uninhibited Virginia. He is devastated when she calls off their budding romance and his extreme reaction jeopardizes their working relationship.
Doctor Austin Langham (Teddy Sears) is a handsome and married doctor who’s one of the first volunteers for Doctor Masters’ sex study. He and his fellow participant enjoy the experience together so much that they are left frustrated and bereft when they can no longer participate. This leads to a crisis in Langham’s personal life.
The Provost of Washington University is Barton Scully (Beau Bridges), Masters’ longtime friend and mentor. Although he appreciates his friend’s desire to study human sexuality, he’s concerned that it could cause a scandal and jeopardize the hospital’s stellar reputation. He is also harboring a long-held secret that Masters discovers.
Scully’s dutiful but unfulfilled wife is Margaret (Allison Janney), a woman who’s completely naïve sexually — until she gets wind of Masters’ study. Her awakening leads to a surprising turn in her own life and a realization about her husband.
Doctor Lillian DePaul (Julianne Nicholson) is a new recruit of the Obstetrics Department. She works in a male dominated profession and has fought against stereotypes her entire career. It’s because of this that she’s of particular interesting to Virginia.
Episode #46 — The Eyes of God
Masters and Johnson work to save the practice from disintegrating in the face of insurrection within the clinic. As everyone in their lives either moves on or falls away, Bill and Virginia find solace in one another.
First aired: November 13, 2016.
What do you think? Do you like the Masters of Sex TV series? Do you think it should have been cancelled or renewed for a fifth season?