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.
As if we needed more evidence that there's never a slow time of year for significant TV (except maybe Christmas week), here's a mid-August weekend with so many premieres you might think fall had come early — although the new fall season would be lucky to boast shows remotely this interesting.
The greatest buzz, of course, surrounds the beginning of the end of AMC's darkly entertaining masterpiece Breaking Bad (Sunday, 9/8c), which resumes its climactic trajectory with the first of eight final episodes — and if Sunday's blistering hour is any indication of what's to come over the next two months, we're in for quite the wrenching ride. A ride that's teased by an opening flash-forward which suggests catastrophic consequences for the domestic life of Walter White (Bryan Cranston, astonishing as ever in his swings from mensch to menacing) — whose criminal alter ego is now in danger of being exposed by his brother-in-law/DEA agent Hank (Dean Norris, a world removed from the melodramatics of his new gig Under the Dome).
Netflix has acquired the rights to Marco Polo, the upcoming 13th century-set series about the legendary adventurer. The drama, from the Weinstein Company and Electus, had previously been set up at Starz.
Starz first announced Marco Polo at the January 2012 Television Critics Association press tour, but the project...
Prepare for the real game of thrones. Many films and TV series have taken on Henry VIII and the Tudors, but shockingly little has been done on the English dynasty that preceded them: the magnificently brutal Plantagenets. That's odd, considering that the Plantagenets, who battled one another for 30 years in the calamitous Wars of the Roses, did just as much roaring and whoring as the Tudors did — and were way more dangerous and dysfunctional.
Starz plans to rectify this royal oversight with The White Queen, a sweeping, sexually ...
Author Philippa Gregory has become an authority on British royalty, but her interests don't necessarily extend to the present.
"I'm utterly indifferent about Kate Middleton's baby," she confessed at Starz's Television Critics Association fall previews on Friday. "It know this is terrible. It's like blasphemy!"