Masters of Sex: Season 1 (2013)


Season 1
Masters of Sex

Critics Consensus

Seductive and nuanced, Masters of Sex features smart performances, deft direction, and impeccable period decor.



Critic Ratings: 59


Audience Score

User Ratings: 789

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Air date: Sep 29, 2013
Air date: Oct 6, 2013
Air date: Oct 13, 2013
Air date: Oct 20, 2013
Air date: Oct 27, 2013
Air date: Nov 3, 2013
Air date: Nov 10, 2013
Air date: Nov 17, 2013
Air date: Nov 24, 2013
Air date: Dec 1, 2013
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Masters of Sex: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

The lives of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson are depicted in this critically acclaimed drama. Series 1 begins with Masters (Michael Sheen), a successful OB/GYN at St. Louis' Washington University, conducting a secret study of human sexuality. Soon, he meets Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), a former nightclub singer who is now part of the hospital secretarial staff. He enlists her help with his study, and she quickly proves to be an asset to Masters' work. Together, they delve deeper than anyone before them into the science of sex and later become participants in their own research, which takes an unforeseen toll on Masters' married life.


Michael Sheen
as William Masters
Lizzy Caplan
as Virginia Johnson
Beau Bridges
as Barton Scully
Caitlin FitzGerald
as Libby Masters
Margo Martindale
as Miss Horchow
Nick D'Agosto
as Ethan Haas
Teddy Sears
as Austin Langham
Annaleigh Ashford
as Betty DiMello
Julianne Nicholson
as Dr. Lillian DePaul
Allison Janney
as Margaret Scully
Ann Dowd
as Estabrooks Masters
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News & Interviews for Masters of Sex: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Masters of Sex Season 1

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (25)

Evocative and provocative, this fact-based drama is most invigorating when showing how the findings helped ignite women's lib.

Sep 13, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Masters of Sex is sprinkled with moments that make it worth watching... As is, it feels like some very professional foreplay with no end in sight.

Sep 27, 2013 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It belongs to a cohort of shows... that noodle on the themes that have so far defined the golden age of TV (masculinity, power, ethics), but with a bunch of new licks.

Sep 27, 2013 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Performance is never a problem for the cast of Masters of Sex. Caplan, Sheen and the supporting players keep everything humming in the best new drama of the fall season. You'll want to watch.

Sep 27, 2013 | Rating: A | Full Review…
Top Critic

The sex may bring in viewers, but the superb acting and writing will hold them.

Sep 27, 2013 | Full Review…

Spoiler alert: A show about sex isn't necessarily the same thing as a sexy show.

Sep 27, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

A refreshing anomaly: a prestige cable drama that doesn't feel like a recombination of elements from 15 shows that came before it.

Jan 17, 2019 | Full Review…

Cue the drama. Even without the tits, this is going to be good.

Jan 17, 2019 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Each character is afforded a rich psychology, and the cast is more than up to the task of bringing these fascinating, nuanced creatures to life. Masters of Sex reflects just as much about the time it takes place in as it does our world, today.

Jan 17, 2019 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

Michael Sheen measures sexual response in Fifties America with promising results.

Jul 22, 2018 | Full Review…

Masters of Sex is a promising and often captivating show that hasn't quite found its voice yet, but also has avoided making any mistakes it can't recover from.

Sep 21, 2017 | Full Review…

Simply by taking sex seriously, Masters of Sex cracks open a whole new world.

Aug 15, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Masters of Sex: Season 1

  • Sep 04, 2019
    Slow, but grows on you and tells an incredible true story.
  • Apr 08, 2019
    William Masters and Virginia Johnson were at the cutting edge of scientific exploration in the mid-1950s with the introduction of their study on the bodily responses to sexual stimulation both alone and with a partner. It was a study that revolutionized people's understandings of the human body and sex. In an era where sex and radicalization were taboo, Masters and Johnson bucked the norms and proved to be forces to be reckoned with. Showtime's "Masters of Sex" is the epitome of late-night-cable with sensuality, titillation and occasional gratuitous sex scenes, but the true strength of the show lies in the character study the audience is given. Michael Sheen excels as the buttoned-up Dr. Masters and Lizzy Caplan, best known for her comedic performances, gives a nuanced turn as Ms. Johnson, a woman ahead of her time in both gumption and sexual prowess. Put together, Sheen and Caplan sizzle with a chemistry that cannot be put into words. The audience needs to see it to understand the sheer raw power behind it. However, it isn't just Sheen and Caplan who carry the show. The series introduces a gamut of beautiful people from Libby Masters (Caitlin FitzGerald), Bill's beautiful wife who wants nothing more than to have a family but whom Bill can't stand to touch, to Betty DiMello (Annaleigh Ashford) the lesbian prostitute who is Bill's first test subject who also tells the doc that faking an orgasm is a thing women do. There is also Monroe-esque Jane (Helene York), a secretary who participates in the study to have sex with playboy doctor Austin Langham (Teddy Sears). The incomparable Beau Bridges rounds out the cast as the provost of Washington University, Barton Scully, who is a closeted homosexual yet married to Margaret played heartbreakingly by Allison Janey. However, the true stars of the show are FitzGerald and Caplan. The normal gender roles in television are thrown out the window in "Masters of Sex" as Libby and Virginia are best friends and they actually like each other despite both of them being tied to Bill so intricately. Not only that, Libby and Virginia are two sides of the same coin. Where Virginia is a no-nonsense career girl who sleeps with friends, Libby is the epitome of typical 1950s ideals but there is a change in their character dynamics as the first season progresses. Virginia becomes a bit more Libby and Libby becomes a bit more Virginia, but both do so to varying results. In the shadow of these interminable women is Sheen. There is a power in Sheen, a charm, that makes Masters almost likeable despite the fact that he is a monster, and that is the reason "Masters of Sex" is so watchable. The sex scenes are clinical in nature and treated as such. They serve a purpose, but watching Sheen as Masters softens and comes to terms with his repression and his dislike of Libby and his admiration and, dare I say, love of Virginia is the bread and butter of the show. The fact that Sheen never won an award for his portrayal as Bill is a travesty. The sex scenes in "Masters of Sex" are what will pull some viewers in and that's okay. This show is a guilty pleasure but, to be honest, there should be no guilt about it. What should keep viewers binging (if viewers can find it on streaming, that is) is the beautiful character development and relationships these characters have with one another.
  • Dec 29, 2015
    Smart and funny. The plot flows slowly but each episode has something to tell us. It takes some time to grow an affection for the show but it will get into you eventually. Its strenght lies in the talented actors and in the well developed relationship between characters.
  • Nov 19, 2015
    Keep watching - it will get better eventually... :)
  • Jan 29, 2015
    This is my new favorite show, I think it is the best show that I have seen since Game of Thrones. I thought the performances by Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan were great. I can not wait for season two.
  • Dec 29, 2014
    Amazing performance by Lizzy Caplan, who is in my opinion, 75% of the show. It's a good drama, but a little bit of "soap opera" kind for me. Yet, Lizzy's worth every minute I spent watching season 1 and will spend watching season 2 and seasons ahead
  • Aug 29, 2014
    Michael Sheen can get it.
  • Aug 02, 2014
    Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan are absolutely brilliant!
  • Jun 23, 2014
    FOR ADULTS ONLY!!! As Season Two nears, Season One is being released on DVD. Watch for this series to receive many Emmy nominations. Beau Bridges and Allison Janney for sure. A look at the sexual hangups from the 1950's, that some still exsist today. It's the story of sex researchers Masters and Johnson. Let me repeat: FOR ADULTS ONLY!!!
  • Jun 16, 2014
    Brilliant and provocative, Masters of Sex not only benefits from its fascinating subject matter, but also from Michael Sheen's captivating performance.

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