After losing Paul Bettany to his flighty scheduling before replacing him with the equally incredible Michael Sheen, there was little to be heard about Showtime's latest pilot, “The Masters of Sex,” which also starred Lizzy Caplan in a lead role. However, just as one was beginning to believe a “The Corrections”-esque denial had taken place, news comes today that the network has picked the hour-long show up for a full season run, in addition to another family drama with Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan.”
Showtime has ordered 12 episodes of both series, which each offer compelling aspects in their own right. 'Masters” follows Sheen and Caplan as William Masters and Virginia Johnson, two real-life pioneers of human sexuality in the 1960s Midwest, responsible for a number of self-volunteered research studies as well as a dozen appearances on Johnny Carson's talk show couch. Created by Michelle Ashford and adapted from Thomas Maier's book on the subjects, the show marks Sheen's first foray into scripted television, and carries a supporting cast of Caitlin Fitzgerald ("It's Complicated"), Nicholas D'Agosto ("Rocket Science") and Teddy Sears ("American Horror Story").
“Shakespeare in Love” director John Madden helmed the pilot, and it is unknown whether he will stay on for more episodes, but the cast and subject matter are fascinating enough regardless. Sheen and Caplan both have meaty, layered characters to portray, and the series should show a different side to both that is always welcome, as seen with Sheen in “Midnight in Paris,” or Caplan in “True Blood.”
Like Sheen, “Ray Donovan” will be Liev Schreiber's first regular TV gig, playing the titular character. The show details his Los Angeles life as a professional trouble-shooter serving as a fixer to the rich and wealthy, while his South Boston family waits on the wings, promising to add a dose of trouble and lovingly-broad accents to his already-stressful life. The supporting players are the ones to stay for here, with Jon Voight as Ray's father, Elliot Gould, and Eddie Marsan ("Tyrannosaur") rounding out the stellar cast.
“The Masters of Sex” and “Ray Donovan” are both slated to film in Los Angeles and air in early-2013, and looking at the pedigree involved, consider us ticking down the days until we can glimpse the first episodes.