Showtime's newest series, Masters of Sex, is only two episodes old, but already the series is being routinely heralded as one of the network's best shows on offer. And it isn't just the critics who are falling for the new drama series, as audience numbers are on the up too, making the series look more and more like one of the year's brightest newcomers.

Masters of Sex
Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan star as pioneering sex researchers.

According to the Nielsen ratings, as reported by Variety, the show managed to draw in 1.1 million viewers during last night's episode, which seems like a much more impressive number when placed alongside the already-successful Homeland's 1.8 million viewer numbers. At it's peak, the show amassed as many as 1.5 million viewers, 100k more than the peak it attained in it's first week. Being placed right after Homeland in the listings may have worked to it's benefit, but there must be more to the shows success than a million people too lazy to turn their televisions over when Homeland ends. So what is it that make Masters of Sex so good?

On review aggregator Metacritic, the show stands with a 85/100 rating, holding almost entirely positive reviews so far. For the first week, critics commented that the humour prevalent in the 1950's set drama works massively to the show's favour, with the subtle injections of humour continuing to be used to great effect in the second instalment of the first season. What's more, the show's stars, Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, have been routinely praised for their acting talent, working wonderfully with each other as the mismatched odd couple.

The most enduring thing about the series is that, like all great dramas, Masters of Sex seems comfortable in it's own skin and never tries too hard to grab the viewer's attention. Maybe this is where the show's real success lies, not just with the actors and the writers, but with all those involved who went into the studio full of confidence, with their self-belief in the show shining through during it's broadcast.

Masters of Sex airs on Showtime every Sunday at 10pm.

Michael Sheen
Michael Sheen stars as Dr William Masters.

Lizzy Caplan
Lizzy Caplan appears as Virginia Johnson.