“Masters Of Sex” and the death of the Soap Opera.

Masters Of Sex.

Masters Of Sex.

The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Wire, Mad Men, Homeland, The Shield, The Killing, The Returned reviewed here, Top Boy reviewed here, our own Love/Hate, 24, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood, House Of Cards, Six Feet Under, Lost, Game Of Thrones, Glee, Buffy, and Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. reviewed here.

They all give us believable characters in a recognizable world that you really want to invest your time in. Because what they are all about is the relationships that are forged between the individuals who live there, and the brilliantly told stories that connect them and bring them all into conflict.

In other words, they all do what soaps used to do in days gone by. Except they’re much, much better written, acted, directed and produced.

Mad Men.

Mad Men.

Which isn’t merely because they all have far more money to spend than a conventional soap ever did. Rather, it’s a reflection of the radical transformation that television had undergone over the last decade or so. It’s part of what’s come to be called box set culture.

Television programmes have to be so good today, that they demand to be seen on our ever larger and louder television sets. So that downloading them or streaming them onto your phone just isn’t going to be enough.

Not only that, they have to be so good, so remarkable, and to generate so much talk and interest, so much noise,  that you’re going to feel an uncontrollable urge to buy the box set and watch them all again. So good in fact, that when then they’re all repeated, repeatedly on cable and satellite, you’ll happily watch them all again.

On the job.

On the job.

The latest in the current line of Olympian television is Masters of Sex. Based on a revolutionary study into sexual mores and mechanics in the late 50s and 60s, it revolves around Michael Sheen as the sexually prudish but scientifically driven doctor, and the partnership he strikes up with the sexually liberated but completely unqualified Lizzy Caplan, who he takes on as his assistant.

He by the way is called Masters, and she Virginia. Which could easily have been an example of how cleverly yet simply the different dynamics of sexual politics are delved into and inverted on the show. But that really was what they were called.

In many ways, it’s little more than Mad Men lite. But it’s so well acted and written, and the stories and their arcs are so carefully and cleverly plotted, and it and they all look so fantastic – soft porn has rarely looked as plush, lush and refined – that you happily sit back, relax and let it all wash over you.

One more reason to stay in of an eve. And one more nail in the Soap Opera coffin.  You can see the Masters of Sex trailer here.

Sign up for a subscription right or below and I shall keep you posted every week on All the Very Best and Worst in Film, Television and Music!

Subscribe here for regular updates. And get your FREE GIFT of the first 2 chapters of my book, A Brief History Of Man.

Speak Your Mind

*