• Network: Showtime
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 29, 2013
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Sep 27, 2013
    100
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Sep 27, 2013
    100
    This is adult entertainment in the very best possible sense. [7 Oct 2013, p.47]
  3. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Sep 27, 2013
    100
    A gorgeous period drama that swiftly establishes its risqué themes.... Masters of Sex is the best new show of the fall season.
  4. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Sep 27, 2013
    100
    Masters of Sex, a biographical drama about sex researchers William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) that makes science sexy.... Sheen and Caplan are beautifully mismatched as the central figures in a story adapted from Thomas Maier's 2009 biography.
  5. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Sep 27, 2013
    100
    There is no more fascinating, or entertaining, new series this fall season.
  6. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Sep 26, 2013
    100
    The performances, nurtured by such A-list directors as Michael Apted and John Madden, are extraordinary. There isn't a clinker in the bunch.
  7. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Sep 26, 2013
    100
    Humor is also key in the capacious pilot hour directed by John Madden ("Shakespeare in Love"). Subsequent episodes echo its deft balance of epic scope and whimsical humanity.
  8. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Sep 26, 2013
    100
    A few plotlines look rocky, and a few lines of dialogue stumble, but based on the first six episodes, we're being introduced to a show that can enlighten, entertain and contend for Emmys, all in the same breath.
  9. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 13, 2013
    100
    The characters get better and more complex, the story builds, strange things start to happen and now I can’t wait to see how its interweaving plots unfold.... It’s rare that a show can intuit what the viewer wants and deliver it, but that’s precisely what happened.
  10. Reviewed by: Melissa Maerz
    Oct 16, 2013
    91
    It's a smart show that plays dumb at first, just to get your attention. Masters may not yet be as groundbreaking as the true drama that inspired it. But like Betty, it knows how to fake it until things get real.
  11. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 26, 2013
    91
    Masters of Sex is the best new show of the fall by a very long stretch. It's also a refreshing anomaly: a prestige cable drama that doesn't feel like a recombination of elements from 15 shows that came before it.
  12. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Sep 25, 2013
    91
    From episode three on, [Sheen] begins to give one of the most fascinating performances on TV.
  13. Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Sep 28, 2013
    90
    Richer and more challenging than any new series this fall from broadcasters.
  14. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Sep 28, 2013
    90
    Although technically listed as a drama, make no mistake, it's one of the funniest programs on TV this season.
  15. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Sep 26, 2013
    90
    It's an absorbing, beautifully acted story about science, emerging feminism and American culture. But it's also a gamble on the idea that great TV drama can involve stakes that are not sharpened to pointy tips.
  16. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Sep 24, 2013
    90
    The engrossing, beautifully cast and well acted Masters of Sex is at once the tale of an odd couple and the story of a culture coming of age.
  17. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Sep 23, 2013
    88
    It makes the most of its pay-TV platform by showing plenty of skin, but the sex scenes service a bigger story made all the more compelling by a couple of strong leads in Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.
  18. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    Sep 26, 2013
    83
    There’s a lot of humor here, but it’s more innocent than leering. And there’s also a great deal of understandable awkwardness that seems as pertinent to 2013 to the ’50s. You may not want to watch this with Aunt Tildy, but it is certainly worth watching.
  19. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Oct 3, 2013
    80
    The dialogue isn’t always subtle, but it’s often sharp.
  20. 80
    Masters of Sex is an intelligent, assured drama that gets better and better as it goes along.
  21. Reviewed by: Terri Schwartz
    Sep 30, 2013
    80
    All together Masters of Sex makes an engaging pilot, but it is as yet untested as a premise for a series.
  22. Reviewed by: Sara Smith
    Sep 30, 2013
    80
    Although it’s a medical drama on one level, Masters of Sex is frequently laugh-out-loud funny, with romances, mysteries and coming-of-age stories unfolding throughout its large cast.
  23. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Sep 28, 2013
    80
    Without making any extraordinary claims for it, it is easy to watch and to recommend, mostly sweet-natured, with a host of well-shaded performances and almost nothing to insult your intelligence.
  24. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Sep 27, 2013
    80
    [Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan] are simply tremendous throughout, and they are the main reason to stick with the show, even when some of the supporting characters grate and parts of it feel like exposition-heavy excerpts from Thomas Maier's book of the same name.
  25. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Sep 27, 2013
    80
    It’s an inviting, beautifully acted, and smartly written period drama set in the 1950s
  26. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Sep 26, 2013
    80
    Masters of Sex does an elegant job of reframing their [Masters and Johnson's] strange, complicated and at times deeply cynical partnership into a twisted but intriguing love story.
  27. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Sep 24, 2013
    80
    It was comforting to see that Masters of Sex has depth of vision and plenty of dramatic material to delve into without taking the easy way out with a nipple and a romp every 10 minutes.
  28. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 24, 2013
    70
    While Masters of Sex might not be a great show as yet, viewed strictly in terms of giving consumers something worth paying for--or at least an experience they couldn’t receive in quite the same way in many other places--it’s the equivalent of a master class in pay-TV development.
  29. Reviewed by: Mike Lechevallier
    Sep 30, 2013
    63
    Where Mad Men branches out its individual narratives in a variety of ways, letting its characters deal with problems not related to the workplace, Masters of Sex seems rigidly anchored to its basic premise.
  30. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Sep 27, 2013
    60
    Although the first few episodes can be slow going and are inert in spots, the series finds a rhythm by episode four, as it develops characters and side themes to remind us just how dark those dark ages were.
  31. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Sep 27, 2013
    60
    We watch a relationship develop between Johnson and Masters, played particularly well by Caplan. Yet much of Masters still feels clinical, as if it isn’t sure how to remain faithful to the real-life story and still give the TV drama the sex appeal viewers expect.
  32. Reviewed by: Jesse Hassenger
    Sep 30, 2013
    50
    Regardless of historical veracity, though, some of the drama here is shopworn.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 237 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. Sep 29, 2013
    10
    Saw the first two episodes and they're great. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan will get Emmy nods next year. Happy that Showtime finally have aSaw the first two episodes and they're great. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan will get Emmy nods next year. Happy that Showtime finally have a good series after Homeland. This is very promising. Full Review »
  2. Oct 3, 2013
    10
    Arguably, Masters of Sex is one of the most exciting new shows of 2013. It both looks and sounds promising from the pilot I have seen, whichArguably, Masters of Sex is one of the most exciting new shows of 2013. It both looks and sounds promising from the pilot I have seen, which is odd because I am never convinced from the first episode. The cinematography is crisp and clean. The writing (so far) is engaging and I hope it continues that way.

    Sheen and Caplan have excellent chemistry together which is a rare thing for two leads of a show to have, especially from the one episode that I've seen.

    I hope Masters of Sex gets some recognition in the award season.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 29, 2013
    10
    Fan of the first leaked episode. Love Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan. This is an exciting series. I love Mad Men, and thankfully they are notFan of the first leaked episode. Love Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan. This is an exciting series. I love Mad Men, and thankfully they are not similar at all, except for the costumes. Full Review »