Masters of Sex - Season Two

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday May 5, 2015

Masters of Sex - Season Two

The sizzling Showtime series "Masters of Sex" returns in July for a third season. That gives dedicated viewers and neophytes alike a chance to catch up on the show's second season, now available as a home release.

"Masters of Sex," created by producer Michelle Ashford and based on Thomas Maeir's book, whisks along in its second season, making a remarkable three-year jump in Episode 7. But all is not a rush of history; the show makes plenty of time to examine the complicated relationship between esteemed gynecologist and fertility specialist William Masters (Michael Sheen) and his less formally educated, but whip-smart partner, Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), a single mother forging a path through a male-dominated field.

Theirs isn't the only complicated relationship; Masters is arrogant, self-centered, and deeply insecure, and Sheen isn't afraid to play him less than sympathetically. His relationships with wife Libby (Caitlin Fitzgerald) and mother Essie (Ann Dowd) are just as jagged; his personal and professional ties with his boss, Barton Scully (Beau Bridges), a closeted gay man (whose wife is played brilliantly by Allison Janney) are an unpredictable mix of bullying and adoration. In fact, everyone has complicated relationships with everyone else, and the introduction of some new characters (including a sexy civil rights worker and a voluptuous diet pill peddler) expands the show's dramatic scope and possibility.

Season Two treads a little into "Mad Men" territory as the series enters the 1960s, but "Masters of Sex" retains its own flavor and, pardon the pun, thrust. The show is rife with complex female characters -- a necessity when a drama about Masters and Johnson's groundbreaking work into the physiology of sexual activity focuses both on the primal appeal of physical passion and the intricacies of romantic attraction. Sex, power, intellectual inquiry... it's a heady combination, yes, but the show also stays rooted in eros.

The Season Two Blu-ray includes several special features, which are scattered across the set's four discs. "Women of Sex" takes a detailed look at the show's strong female cast, as well as the women behind the camera; "Men of Sex" is a roundtable discussion among the guys, moderated by Sheen. "History of Sex" takes a look at how, and when, the series departs from fact and ventures into poetic license, creating fictitious characters to boost the drama and explore the riotous era in which the story takes place.

"Masters of Sex"



Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.