Lizzy Caplan, Steve Buscemi
Halfway through the pilot episode of the Showtime series Masters of Sex, which is based on the story of real-life sex researchers Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, Masters leaves his wife, Libby, in the care of another doctor as she undergoes infertility treatments so he can slip into a neighboring examination room and watch a prostitute masturbate... It's an amazingly rich six minutes of television that manages not only to set up most of the first season's major plotlines and underlying emotional tensions, but also to explain the story's historical import. In a strictly factual sense, it's also mostly made up.
Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan
Showtime has renewed hit dramas Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan for 12-episode third seasons, the network announced Wednesday.
The Cast of Orange is the New Black on Conan
This week, members of the Orange Is the New Black cast took over Conan for an episode, and it was glorious. Also, a farmer serenaded a team of cows with a trombone rendition of Lorde's "Royals," and the Internet found a new celebrity in "Apparently Boy." Taylor Swift made us sniffle when she visited a 7-year-old cancer patient, and Nina Dobrev and Jimmy Fallon entertained us with a game of Giant Beer Pong. Check out those clips and more in our weekly roundup of the best online videos:
Remember when nostalgia used to signify a comforting escape into the past? It hasn't been the same since Mad Men took us beneath the surface glamour to expose the grim consequences of chasing and selling the American dream. WGN America's bold new period drama Manhattan (Sunday, 9/8c) goes even further, eschewing the romantic veneer altogether in a gritty story of scientific mavericks operating in extreme circumstances. Looking back at a bygone time (World War II) with a jaundiced eye, the ambitious Manhattan is far more serious in intent than the channel's more recent effort at historical-fiction original programming, the lurid Salem.
Kit Harrington, Andy Samberg
Anyone for a game of tennis? Andy Samberg and Kit Harington are in. The pair will star in HBO's upcoming comedy film 7 Days in Hell...
Juliana Margulies, Tatiana Maslany
Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter!
Question: Once again, this year's Emmy nominations are predictably boring. What was the bigger snub: No Good Wife nomination for Best Drama (especially with a weak Downton Abbey season in its place) or no nomination for Tatiana Maslany for her web of roles on Orphan Black? (I already know the answer: Both snubs were egregious.) — Erin
Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan
Masters of Sex is back to give you satisfaction.
After last season's finale interruptus, Showtime's period drama returnsSunday at 10/9c to finish what Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) started. The doctor had just declared to his sex research partner Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) that she is the one thing he cannot live without.
PHOTOS: The most revealing red carpet looks ever
How will this revelation play out in Season 2? Read on to see what Masters, Johnson and the rest are up to:
"It's not for everyone," growls the grizzled, sword-wielding Armenian pawnshop owner (Game of Thrones' David Bradley), whose unromantic notion of vampire slaying includes mass decapitations and body burnings. Likewise, FX's deliciously freaky and gruesomely graphic The Strain (Sunday, 10/9c) won't be for all tastes. But the network is betting, probably correctly, that a midsummer popcorn feast of classic monster-movie horror, served without apology and blessedly free of irony, will resonate with fright fans eager to jump out of their seats, which turns out to be a Strain specialty. This could, and deserves to be, FX's Walking Dead-sized blockbuster.
No one expects the Emmy nominations to please everybody — there's simply too much TV these days, including on unconventional platforms like Netflix, and there are always going to be shows and performers that won't make the cut, however deserving. But even when the Emmy voters get something right, like adding HBO's freshman hoot Silicon Valley to the best-comedy contenders, we still find ourselves griping over where they stumbled, nowhere more glaringly than in the drama-series race. (For a list of nominees in the major categories, go here.)
This week, Pippa Middleton gave her first televised interview on theToday show, and Funny or Die threw a surprise birthday party for America in honor of the Fourth of July. Jimmy Kimmel exposed bandwagon fans who were rooting for the U.S. in the World Cup, and also rewrote the lyrics to Trey Songz' "Na Na" so that old people could understand them. Chris Rock hosted the BET Awards, where he showed a video of himself interviewing white people at a monster truck rally about the show. Also, Showtime debuted the trailer for Season 2 of Masters of Sex, and Hulu geared up for the premiere of its original series The Hotwives of Orlando.