Showtime decided to combine their first look at Masters of Sex with their first look at Ray Donovan, two promising looking series that, when presented back to back against one another, have noticeably different tones. One is risqué and sexy, the other suspenseful and a little violent. Both look like they could be great new series for the premium cable channel.
Based on Thomas Maier's book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, Masters of Sex stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as Masters and Johnson, two characters based on real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality.
The series chronicles the unusual lives, romance, and pop culture trajectory of Masters and Johnson. Their research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a mid-western teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine and nearly a dozen appearances on Johnny Carson's couch.
Meanwhile, Ray Donovan is set in Los Angeles and stars Live Schreiber in the title role as "the go-to guy who makes the problems of the city's celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls disappear." Showtime describes the show as a powerful family drama, and that comes through in the second part of the trailer below.
As the trailer shows, part of Ray Donovan's plot involves Jon Voight's character, Donovan's father Mickey, getting out of prison and "setting off a chain of events that shakes the Donovan family to its core." Also among the cast are Elliott Gould, Paula Malcomson, Eddie Marsan and Dash Mihok.
Both series have a lot going for them, including fantastic casts. Masters of Sex also has the sexy appeal, added to the potential for some fascinating dialogue on the subject of sex from a scientific perspective, and the period element. And Ray Donovan seems to be aiming to combine crime, suspense and family drama, which could work really well. We'll have to see how both of these shows look when they arrive next year.