Tag Archives: Masters of Sex

Sorry, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ but the Steamiest Sex is on TV, Not in Movies


After months and years of foreplay, the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey has finally arrived. The film is expected to gross as much as $100 million worldwide this weekend as fans of E.L. James’s BDSM-themed trilogy flock to the first sexually-explicit mainstream film in years, but as I wrote at Quartz,

While that might sound like cause for celebration, it’s also old hat to viewers of shows like Starz’s Outlander, which have beat Christian and Anastasia to the punch (or is that paddle?) when it come to embracing and depicting sex in all manner of fascinating, and electrifying, ways. Sorry, Fifty Shades of Grey, but the steamiest sex in mainsteam entertainment fare can now found on television, not in theaters.

An increasing number of cable and internet series, like Outlander, Masters of Sex and Girls, routinely delve into the frank explorations of sexuality that have vanished from mainstream films.

In contrast, R-rated movies have become almost puritanical when it comes to depicting sex. Gone are the years when multiplexes routinely offered scorching films like Body Heat, Basic Instinct or the aforementioned 9 ½ Weeks. As Hollywood turned away from that adult audience and almost exclusively towards franchise films aimed at teenagers—coupled with the ubiquity of porn, which is now only as far away as one’s smartphone—those movies simply stopped being made.

So as you take in Fifty Shades this weekend, don’t forget, you’re missing the real action, back at home on TV.

Sorry, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ but the steamiest sex is on TV, not in movies

Why Sunday-Night Television is So Good

sunday night atlantic

The Atlantic took notice of my Quartz piece on why all the best shows air on Sunday nights, and republished it. Two times in one week!

Why Sunday-Night Television is So Good 

Five Reasons Why Sunday is TV’s Best Night

sopranos sunday

Homeland. The Good Wife. The Affair. The Walking Dead. Mad Men. Masters of Sex. Veep. Game of Thrones. When you think of the best (and most Emmy-nominated) shows on TV, almost all of them air on Sunday nights. As I wrote at Quartz,

It seems counterintuitive to pit all of TV’s best series against one another, as anyone who’s tried to program a DVR on Sundays can attest. But there is in fact a method to the networks’ madness, and five reasons why Sunday night’s quality TV overload exists—and won’t be going away anytime soon.

Through Nielsen numbers crunching (charts!), research and a great chat with Showtime Network President David Nevins, I came up with five very strong reasons — some of which surprised even me. Here’s one: airing on Sunday night is more important than being watched on Sunday night.

While many of the Sunday shows have drawn record audiences as mentioned above, it’s also true that premium cable networks like HBO and Showtime aren’t beholden to advertisers. So those executives don’t have the expectation or urgency that viewers need to tune in “live” during their shows’ initial Sunday night airing. “I always say, it doesn’t matter to me whether you watch it on Sunday; I’m fine if you want to want until Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday,” said Nevins. “You wait much past then, you’re going to miss the conversation.”

Five reasons why Sunday is TV’s best night

Allison Janney’s Incredible ‘Double O’ and That ‘Masters of Sex’ Love Scene

allison janney

I cannot resist a dual Emmy nominee! At The Daily Beast, I spoke with Allison Janney, who this week was nominated for two Emmys — supporting actress in a comedy for Mom, and guest actress in a drama for Masters of Sex — and will likely win both of them. She and I spoke just hours after she received the happy Emmy news, and while we touched on that, we spent most of our conversation discussing her bravura return to Masters of Sex in tonight’s Season 2 premiere.

She was unsurprisingly in great spirits, and had this to say when I reminded her that last month she called her dual Critics Choices wins (for the same two roles) “the climax of my career,” and asked how two Emmy nominations compare.

[Laughs] I should have said, “Well, this is certainly a climax!” I didn’t mean to say that this was going to be it, because I plan on doing a lot more in my life. But it’s an incredible feeling to have a double O—a double orgasm!

Janney also talked about juggling Mom and Masters, when we’ll next see her on Masters of Sex (you’re not going to like her answer!) and why she refuses to take a vacation.

Allison Janney’s Incredible ‘Double O’ and That ‘Masters of Sex’ Love Scene

‘Breaking Bad’ Finale, ‘Homeland’ Premiere: How to Survive DVRmageddon


I’ve been saying for years that there’s too many great shows on TV, but I can’t remember one night that has been packed with so many can’t-miss programs before: there’s the series finale of Breaking Bad, the season premieres of Homeland and The Good Wife, the series premiere of fall’s best new drama and much more. It’s DVRmageddon, and at The Daily Beast, I explain the best way to make it through the night and watch everything you need to see:

Did you have angst last Sunday night deciding whether to watch the Emmys, Breaking Bad or the Dexter series finale? Well, that was just a warm-up for the main event, this Sunday at 9 p.m.: DVR-maggedon, when many of fall’s most ravenously anticipated episodes—including the Breaking Bad series finale, the Homeland and Good Wife season premieres, and the debut of fall’s best new drama—air simultaneously. How can anyone possibly navigate that murderer’s row of programs? We’ve crunched the numbers, seen (almost all) of the episodes in question, and devised this handy guide to ensure you catch every show worth seeing on Sept. 29—in time to deconstruct them with your friends and coworkers on Monday.

Good luck!

‘Breaking Bad’ Finale, ‘Homeland’ Premiere: How to Survive DVRmageddon

How ‘Masters of Sex’ Star Michael Sheen Got ‘Comfortable’ with Sex Scenes

michael sheen

At Parade, I spoke with Michael Sheen about his terrific new Showtime series Masters of Sex. As he explained, unlike the gratuitous sex scenes on many cable shows, the ones in Masters are there to serve the story:

It’s not that [the story] stops and there’s a sex scene, then we go back to the story; the story is being told through the sex scene. Like the songs in the best musicals, they’re advancing the story. That’s what we’re aiming towards.

How Master of Sex Star Michael Sheen Got ‘Comfortable’ with Sex Scenes 

Fall’s Top 10 New Shows

fall top 10 new shows

At TCA summer press tour in July/August, I spent a lot of time speaking to the stars of fall’s most anticipated series — including several of my favorite freshman shows, like The Blacklist, Masters of Sex and Brooklyn Nine-Nine — for this Parade roundup of Fall’s Top 10 New Shows. Look for more extended Q&As with each star in the weeks ahead.

Fall’s Top 10 New Shows