One of the many skits Saturday Night Live has had about Game of Thrones featured a “creative consultant” pushing for constant nudity in scenes, even if it’s not needed. It got laughs, as many viewers have noted that the show’s tendency to have nude scenes with constant F-bombs are the norm. Yet the fact remains that Thrones is only one of many shows that have pushed the limits of cable broadcasting. HBO’s own Deadwood was famous for attempting to set the record for the most cursing in a single episode with more than a few nude scenes of their own. Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and even Netflix have also joined the fray, providing plenty of skin for their shows and that continues today.
A lot of actresses have decided to take advantage of cable to show it all and go wild, some even more so than in their movies. It’s not just little-known actresses that do this, but established stars who decide to be more daring and try not to make it too obtrusive. Of course, shots of a gorgeous woman getting naked is more than enough to make a show watchable, but many of these are top-notch series that offer truly compelling storylines and acting. From drama to action and even a few comedies, plenty of shows give stuff that make GOT look downright tame.
Here are 15 notable shows, past and present, that offered so much more skin than Thrones and how shows how much freeing cable can be.
This HBO series truly seems to be “love it or hate it” among critics and fans. Some are turned off by the incredibly self-involved characters and their relationships, but others are intrigued. Creator Lena Dunham may not have a knockout body, but the fact that she has absolutely no shame in showing it off deserves some props, since she's totally comfortable with herself. Jemima Kirke shows off as well as one of her friends and while she’s not as blatant, Allison Williams has done a few risqué things like flashing her rear for a good time with her boyfriend. The various guest stars have done it as well, most notably Shiri Appleby in a wild hook-up with Adam Driver and Gabby Hoffman giving birth - nude in a bathtub.
Before Thrones, HBO went to the epic route with this series telling of key moments in history through the eyes of two Roman soldiers, Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson. As you’d expect, we got to see the debauchery of Rome on display, mostly thanks to Polly Walker as the conniving noblewoman seducing her way to power and wealth. Lindsey Duncan and Indira Varma showed some good sexiness as well while Lyndsey Marshall offered a uniquely realistic version of Cleopatra. That’s not to mention a bunch of extras at parties and showing the famed Roman decadence big time. Axed after two seasons due to its large budget, the show deserves a better look for its lovely ladies if nothing else.
13 Girls’ Guide to Depravity
Running only one season, this Cinemax series lived up to its name big time. Rebecca Blumhagen and Sally Golan played best friends who use a “guidebook” they came up with to have a fun time, and maybe meet the right guy. Both actresses went incredibly all out in the nudity, with sex scenes pressing the limit. They had some help from Justine Joli, Riley Steele and others yet the main two ladies pulled the weight. It was short-lived, but still great to showcase how women can get as nasty as men can and more so.
This HBO series has been criticized as not being as good as it could be given the production of Martin Scorsese. Still, any show where Olivia Wilde goes full frontal has to be admired in its own way, and this series has a good push. Besides Wilde, Juno Temple also strips down for some steamy sex scenes and Brigette Hjort Sorensen gets some wicked stuff, too, as an actress. The show may have its ups and downs in storylines but you can’t argue with the willingness of the actresses.
Starz’s biggest hit, this adaptation of the best-selling novels stars Caitriona Balfe as a WWII nurse who transported in time to 18th century Scotland. The books were well known for their steamy stuff, and the series doesn’t hold back either. Balfe shows her body in every way during hot sex scenes with lover Sam Heughan (who goes full frontal himself). Laura Donnelly also shows skin a few times. With Balfe showing the most in scorching scenes, this is a series that offers plenty of great skin.
10 The Girlfriend Experience
The latest entry on the list, this Starz series has Steven Soderbergh adapting his movie about a law student who moonlights as a high-price escort. Riley Keough (granddaughter of Elvis) throws herself into the role without restraint, going all out in the nude scenes, showing no shame about her "occupation." While she gets the lion’s share, we also have Jenny Raven backing her up in some good stuff. Still, it’s a star-making role that ranks among the hottest one of this current year.
Cinemax’s dark crime drama focuses on a small town with very nasty secrets, and as you’d expect from the network, skin plays a large role. Main character Lucas hooks up with Rebecca (Lili Simmons), a seemingly wild party girl who turns out to be an Amish gal with a wicked side. Ivana Millicevic is Lucas’ former love, now a housewife drawn back to him. The latest episodes include Eliza Dushku as an FBI agent, with her own dark side. With the show coming to a close, it remains an underrated crime drama that also pushes the limit in ladies getting naughty.
8 Flesh and Bone
“Ballet drama” may sound like an incredibly dull idea for a TV show, but Starz proved how sexy that world can be with this drama about a group of dancers trying to make it. Casting real ballet dancers was a good idea, so you best believe it helps since so many of them are sizzling hot. Sarah Hay is the lead with her lush red hair on display, and her character also gets a second job at a gentleman's club. Emily Tyra is just as sexy as her roommate who enjoys sleeping around, and Irina Dvorovenko plays the tattooed bad girl who brings her own edge.
7 Orange Is The New Black
It’s pretty much a necessity that a women's prison story has some nudity in it, and Netflix’s acclaimed series provides that. It’s mostly shower scenes to allow the likes of Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Ruby Rose and the rest hang around naked with little shame. The scorching affair of Schilling and Prepon’s characters makes it all that steamier, as the two truly go wild together. Tayrn Manning adds her own stuff as well, while Nina Rausch and a few bar scenes aren’t enough to contain the heat of a show that hits all the right buttons in terms of showing skin to viewers.
Running seven seasons, this Showtime series featured David Duchovny as a self-destructive author who seems to specialize in getting it on with hot but troubled ladies. A major moment in the very first episode is Madeline Zima (little Gracie from The Nanny) going all out in a sex scene before Duchovny finds out she’s the teenage daughter of his new editor. A number of great actresses have shown skin in the show’s run, including Camilla Ludington, Paula Marshall, Sarah Power, Maggie Grace and Carla Gugino, among so many more.
The producers of Showtime’s wild series have said, “we don’t do love scenes, we show it how it is.” That’s certainly been proven true for this show. Emmy Rossum surprised many with her sex scenes as Fiona, including doing the deed by Lake Michigan to skinny-dipping and more. Shanola Hampton has followed suit as her best friend in some seriously risqué scenes. Nicole Bloom is fun as a sexy geek in nothing but eyeglasses, while Emily Bergl gets some good stuff in, too. Also, having avoided nudity during the course of her career, Sasha Alexander has gone all out as a cougar professor with some amazing sexual drive. If any show lives up to its title, it’s Shameless.
4 Black Sails
You’d expect a pirate tale to have plenty of debauchery and Starz’s series doesn’t back down from that. A “prequel” of sorts to Treasure Island, the show has plenty of violence and action along with plenty of ladies showing skin at the local brothel. Jessica Parker Kennedy leads the bunch as Max, the sex worker who rises to run the brothel, showing off her body at any opportunity - with both men and women. This includes a relationship with Eleanor, a more high-class lady trying to be successful. Also, Clara Paget plays legendary pirate Anne Bonny, who gets with Max as well. Altogether, it’s a fantastic showcase for how hot pirates can be and the “wenches,” getting more than their fair share of great screen time.
3 True Blood
After winning an Oscar at the age of 11, Anna Paquin faded from the Hollywood spotlight, saving for herself for the X-Men movies. In 2008, she changed her image as the lead role in HBO’s wildly gothic series about vampires in a modern-day society. Paquin amazed viewers by stripping constantly, showing off her body and holding her own in wild scenes with Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skasgard. She wasn’t alone, as Lizzy Caplan showed up nude in the first season, and so did several other ladies like Tara Buck, Lynn Collins, Janina Gavankar and numerous others.
2 Masters of Sex
With a title like that, you expect plenty of nudity and it delivers. The show dramatizes the lives of William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), whose study of sex revolutionized the world in the 1960s. For a woman who almost never goes nude in the movies, Caplan has done it for this show, constantly taking it off for “research”. Long avoiding nudity, Emmy winner Alison Janney finally took it off for several hot scenes and that’s not to mention the likes of Emil Kinney and iZombie star Rose McIver. Throw in the various actresses who help in the “research” scenes, and it’s no wonder this show has gotten so much attention to back up its drama with some amazing hot ladies.
Based on the story of a slave-turned-gladiator who leads a rebellion against Rome, the show never held back from showcasing nudity. The most notable was Lucy Lawless, who finally gave fans a look at an amazing body. But she was just the first among so many other hotties to show it off: Erin Cummings, Katrina Law, Jaime Murray, Viva Bianca, Ellen Hollman, Cynthia Addi-Robinson, and Anna Hutchison. From fantastic sex scenes to bathing and more, the women never shied from shedding skin in various settings and combined with the absolutely insane amount of blood and violence. It made the show a wild hit. It ended after four seasons, but it's still a series that could make Thrones look like a Disney production, offering one of the best bevies of hot ladies imaginable.