The first trailer for Masters of Sex, the upcoming Showtime series starring Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen, is here. After Caplan appeared as one of the leads in the cultishly adored but little seen comedy series Party Down, Showtime appears to have figured out exactly what the fanboy contingent wants by casting the big-eyed “indie” sex symbol in a show where she talks about sex and stuff all the time and which even has the word “sex” right in the title.
Showtime is on a bit of a roll right now with its original programming. After years of pretty much being known as HBO’s dumber cousin (but with more nudity!) the network has finally put together one of those respected dramas that’s appearing on a lot of critics’ year end “best of” lists etc. in Homeland, while the much less interesting Dexter continues to get solid ratings.
Masters of Sex is a tonal shift from these more typical “edgy” and “dark” cable dramas to something at least a little lighter. The series is based on the real life story of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, who pretty much single-handedly pioneered the idea of scientifically studying human sexuality, and the idea of openly talking about it, through their work observing and monitoring hundreds of couples having sex (over 10,000 sexual acts in all according to the non-fiction book the series is based on.) According to Showtime:
The series chronicles the unusual lives, romance, and pop culture trajectory of Masters and Johnson. Their research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a midwestern teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine and nearly a dozen appearances on Johnny Carson’s couch.
Showtime released the “first look” trailer for Masters of Sex together with the trailer for its other upcoming scripted series Ray Donovan, starring Liev Schreiber. Ray Donovan appears to tread ground which is more familiar for a cable drama: an anti-hero leading a double life torn between family and criminality, a dark, imposing father figure etc. etc. In it, Schreiber plays some sort of “fixer” for celebrity clientele in Los Angeles, also contending with family issues his own (the only thing he can’t fix!) including the unexpected release of his father Jon Voight, from prison. If the premise and subject matter of Donovan sound possibly somewhat clichéd, the cast is certainly intriguing, including Schreiber in his first ever ongoing television role and the always welcome Paula Malcomson as his wife. See the preview for both shows below: