Put away the baseball bats, the carving knives, the terrorist bombs and the meth labs. No more deathly stares from ad men selling cancer-causing cigarettes, or suburban mobsters rubbing out competitors in the name of their family.
After a decade of violence and death, the so-called "golden age of television" is hopefully entering a new phase, one that is pioneered by "Masters of Sex" with a refreshingly new approach to story-telling that relies on humor, real-life drama and some good old Midwestern sex to tell a tale that is eternal.
That was part of the message expressed today by Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan during their appearance on ABC's "The View" (host Barbara Walters interviewed the real Masters and Johnson on the "Today" show back in the 1970s), and these sentiments are reflected in the flurry of rave reviews that the show is getting.
In the A.V. Club, which calls Masters of Sex "the best new show of the fall season, hands down," critic Todd VanDerWerff writes:
"There have been so many shows fundamentally about death these past 14 years, but here is one about life, about birth, about love and, yes, about sex. Masters Of Sex’s greatest triumph is that it makes all of those subjects feel as vital as they do to those who live through them, which is to say everyone."
On the Indiewire website, critic Alyssa Rosenberg observed that "while Masters of Sex is refreshing because it's part of a new crop of prestige cable dramas that focus on tough, intriguing young women, including The Americans' Soviet spy Elizabeth Jennings, Homeland's Carrie Mathison, andThe Bridge's Sonya Cross instead of middle-aged men with criminal careers, its specific setting and subject--sex research--make it something particularly special. Instead of giving us a female character who mirrors men, Virginia Johnson's very much a woman. And the choices she makes are a reminder that as easy as it is for men to waltz past laws and standards of decent behavior and still keep an audience's respect, real and fictional women alike face much higher standards."
After praising the "impeccable" performance of the cast, The Hollywood Reporter said: "Perhaps the best story of all is that Masters of Sex manages, with lightning speed, to shed any preconceived notions about what type of show it will be and, in so doing, tilts the camera up from the breast to the brain."