See It or Free It: 'Masters of Sex'

As frigid and clinical as the lead character it portrays, this show is filled with untapped potential. Since the premiere of its teaser, the show had hinted it would titillate viewers with the sexual research of Masters and Johnson, the revered scientists whose research provided a scientific breakthrough that changed the way a lot of people viewed and approached sex.

Well, the main problem facing the show is that it is literally like falling into a time machine back to the 50’s, there is no retrospection in the narrative. The direction could be fun with a tongue-in-cheek wink at the audience. As if to say “Can you believe this really happened?” Instead, the show takes itself with stark seriousness, devoid of any coquettish charm.

Michael Sheen (Masters), who is a marvelous actor, is given next to nothing to work with here as the direction of the show seems uncomfortable with how to go about depicting the taboo subject matter or the character at the core of wanting to explore it.

Sheen deserves to shine and the episode “Standard Deviation” finally gave him a chance to show his range. His chemistry with Lizzy Caplan (Johnson) remains off kilter, as it seems that they too are in the dark as to what brought these individuals together.

In the latest episode, a character states that Masters is in love with Johnson, a revelation that is jolting given the lack of any emotion between the two. Also hampering the show is the lack of urgency as it progresses with an excessively malaise pace. If only the show was as cheeky as its title card, there would be a lot more reason to hope things could improve. 

Episodes Aired: 3

See It or Free It: See It, for a little longer.

[Image by Showtime]