(Part of OTRC.com's list of the 13 Best TV Shows)
10. "Masters of Sex": Mix the film "Kinsey" with a little bit of early "Mad Men" and you'll get "Masters of Sex," which stars Michael Sheen as Dr. William H. Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson. It also features Beau Bridges, Allison Janney Nicholas D'Agosto, Caitlin Fitzgerald and Julianne Nicholson in recurring roles.
Why we love it: The show gives off definite "Mad Men" vibes, although the first season of "Masters of Sex" is set in the late 1950s. It has a very similar slow-burn approach to the pace of the plot, with each episode giving you just a teeny bit more insight to Masters and the rest of the cast of characters.
Don't get us wrong, a lot happens in each episode of "Masters of Sex," but we're still learning key things about characters most shows give away by the third episode and we're completely okay with that.
Sheen, who was recently nominated for a Golden Globe, gives an excellent performance as William H. Masters, a real-life American gynecologist who was known for research on human sexuality with Virginia Johnson (played by Caplan), a former Jazz singer turned research assistant. Sheen's Masters is seemingly cold and inflexible, but the actor's performance shows him cracking under the surface.
Many of the women shine in their roles on this show, with Caplan leading the pack as Johnson, a woman with a modern heart and mindset born in the wrong era. Johnson routinely struggles to defy gender roles and Caplan's often heart-breaking and subtle performance keeps you right there with Johnson as she tries and tries to get equal footing with Masters, her romantic partners and in the world around her. Plus, she has a great singing voice.
Bridges and Janney also do a fantastic job playing Barton Scully, the provost at the school where Masters' research took place for most of the season, and his wife, Margaret. Their journey throughout the season both as individuals and as a long-married couple is at times filled with a mix of painful betrayal and complete devotion. The two actors play it effortlessly.
Spoiler alert! "Masters of Sex" just finished its first 12-episode season earlier this month. In the last scene of the finale, Masters confessed to Johnson that he can't live without her.
When does "Masters of Sex" return? Showtime announced on Oct. 22 that the show was renewed for a second 12-episode season. It does not yet have a premiere date, so we'll just have to use our imaginations to try to figure out what will happen to Masters and Johnson.