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Three Series Where Directors Excelled This TV Season

Masters of Sex’: Carrying a Cinematic Sensibility to the Small Screen

Michael Apted first found fame in 1964 as the director of “Seven Up,” a groundbreaking television documentary charting the lives of British children that has since spawned a veritable institution, each film revisiting the subjects seven years later (2012’s “56 Up” was the latest

So it’s a befitting progression that Apted, who also helmed the James Bond film “The World Is Not Enough” and the Jodie Foster starrer “Nell,” would find himself back in TV at this juncture in his career, this time directing episodes of Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” a series about pioneering physician William Masters and his research partner Virginia

While Apted’s return to TV is pragmatic in part — “The sort of movies I grew up doing are not made anymore and it’s difficult to find a project that I want to do” — he has joined a growing number of bigscreen directors bringing their talents to smallscreen fare, including John Madden (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” “Shakespeare in Love”) who directed the “Masters” pilot, which bowed to rave reviews.

Madden is also an executive producer on the show.

“Adult material in the broader sense is alive and well in cable television and absent in the movie business,” says Apted. “ ‘Masters of Sex’ is a true story, so that’s interesting. It also (deals with) a difficult subject and provides a sort of discussion about the awakening of the research of women’s sexuality and how that reverberated throughout our lives.”

For Apted, slated to direct five episodes of “Masters’” second season, the creative experiences of working in TV and film dovetail quite smoothly.

“What interests me is what I can bring (television) that maybe people who just work in TV wouldn’t. I find that intriguing. I think our instinct is to expand the visual palette from what normal television has, and that’s what I try to bring to it. Whether it is a big scene or a relationship scene, I think I’m conscious of how to use space and to push the dimensions.”

— Malina Saval

 


 

Louie’: Louis C.K. More Than OK as Helmer

Funnyman Louis C.K. enjoys enormous freedom as the creator, writer, editor, producer and helmer of the FX dramedy “Louie.” That liberty has served him well in past Emmy races, and season 4 of “Louie” looks to be no exception.

C.K. has consistently shaken things up by inviting guest stars into the mix, with Ellen Burstyn, Eszter Balint and Victor Garber featured this season, as well as a memorable turn from Sarah Baker.

“Model” showcases C.K.’s ability to make himself both funny and likable in all his self-deprecating glory as he executes a failed attempt at picking up a waitress and bombs a comedy routine in front of headliner Jerry

— Andrea Seikaly

 


 

Mad Men’: Finding New Depths in Old Characters

The first half of AMC’s “Mad Men’s” farewell season has helmers Scott Hornbacher, Michael Uppendahl, Chris Manley, Phil Abraham and series creator Matthew Weiner up for Emmy

Even after such a long run, the “Mad Men” directors still manage to draw surprising performances out of longtime players like Jon Hamm, revealing new complexities in the characters. “Waterloo,” the midseason finale helmed by Weiner, fluidly wove together the death of Bertram Cooper, the sale of Sterling Cooper & Partners and a dramatic phone call between Don and Megan that could point to the end of their

— Andrea Seikaly

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