It’s no secret that cable has a distinct advantage over network TV in terms of content. Even FX has to hold to some standards in order to not tick off advertisers or the FCC and as risky as some networks can be in content, they still have standards to hold to. Cable, however, is free to put in whatever they like, nudity, cursing and more. HBO led the way in both dramas and comedies (Deadwood seemed determined to set a record for the most f-bombs in a single episode) and Showtime not far behind. Since then, Starz and Cinemax have followed suit and even Netflix has gone for some hotter stuff. That’s not including shows from abroad as the U.K. and other places are less strict in their standards. So naturally, quite a few actresses on TV are getting used to showing their goods. That includes ladies who you might never have expected (Anna Paquin in True Blood) and those older but making up for it (Lucy Lawless on Spartacus).
There have been some notable ones like the actresses on Sex & the City, The L Word and other shows now gone but there’s still plenty on TV today who continue to flash their stuff. Game of Thrones is infamous for constant nudity but it’s hardly alone as some shows seem out to get their actresses doffing it as much as possible and so many are willing to go along with it. It’s hard to cut it down but here are the most notable cases on TV today of ladies who truly enjoy baring all for their TV series, some in multiple ones and a reminder of much the game has changed. Here are 20 of the sexiest gals on TV who can’t keep their clothes on and how they help their shows shine.
20 Carice Van Houten
The Dutch actress has won numerous awards in the Netherlands for work that includes the international hit Black Book which had her showing her nice body off. She was well cast for Games of Thrones’ deadly priestess Melisandre and first showed her body off in what may well be the wildest birth scene in television history. She’s also flashed herself in a tub, a rather disturbing love scene and trying to seduce Jon Snow, her amazing chest highlighting a wicked lady. She may not be a woman you want to be with but damned if you can’t help watching her.
19 Emily Kinney
This lovely blonde has had several notable TV roles, notably Beth on The Walking Dead and recently played the Bug-Eyed Bandit on the hit CW shows Flash and Arrow. She’s rising up with nudity, first in a small role as a nurse with a wicked side on Cinemax’s period medical drama The Knick. More prominently is a recurring role in the latest season of Showtime’s Masters of Sex as Nora, an assistant to the sex researchers who naturally aids them in their “research.” That includes some steamy sex scenes with Kinney showing a highly underrated body off. She may look young but she has it where it counts and ready to show it a lot more often.
18 Caitriona Balfe
The former model had a daunting task to bring to life the beloved character of Claire Randall, the heroine of Outlander. Millions of readers have loved the former WWII nurse transported in time to 1743 Scotland, wanting to get home but finding herself drawn to a Highlander. For the Straz adaption, Balfe has managed to capture Claire’s strength and power, willing to put herself on the line and fight in a society where women are often ignored. She’s handy in a fight too, hot even in men’s clothing but when she gets naked, she has some of the most scorching love scenes TV has seen in years. The second season is about to move them to Paris and you can imagine the fun Claire gets into there as Balfe shows that no matter the time, she’s a hot lady who brings the sexy majorly.
17 Emmy Rossum
The producers of Shameless have openly said “we don’t do love scenes, we do it how it is.” Rossum definitely proves that with her leading role as Fiona, the gal trying to hold together this insane family. Having played the “good girl” in movies like Day After Tomorrow, Rossum is amazing showing the rough and tumble Fiona, a party girl who really cuts loose with guys. Scenes have involved everything from riding a guy by Lake Michigan to skinny-dipping in a pool, even a prison stay and Rossum never shies away from showing her fantastic body off in full. If anyone has ever lived up to her show’s title, it’s Rossum and viewers love seeing how shameless she can get.
16 Sarah Hay
Leave it to Starz to turn a show about ballet into an incredibly sexy affair. The genius touch of the series Flesh and Bone is the casting of real dancers in the roles so they’re believable not just pulling off the moves but the pain dancers go through. Hay is the star as the young gal on the rise and showing off from the beginning with her lush red hair and stunningly large chest. It helps that she goes out for stuff like a strip club and some hook-ups to show her body off in various ways and the flexible way she moves her body makes it alluring. Dancing, stripping or just sitting around, Hay makes anything she does look like hot art.
15 Lucy Lawless
Lawless rose to fame in the title role of Xena: Warrior Princess, a knockout with her amazing body, passion and action drive to make the show a hit with several scenes of her character pushing the limits of nudity for TV. Lawless moved onto parts in shows like Battlestar Galatica and more but in 2009, she rewarded her fans by finally going nude for Starz's breakout Spartacus series. For the first three seasons, Lawless would go nude constantly, stripping out of her robes as a Roman lady to show off a fantastic chest and rear, red hair framing it all and even going with women as well. She was the reason to watch in many ways and proving good things came to those who waited, including a hot body on display.
14 Natalie Dormer
The British actress is notable for her striking looks, especially the wicked smirk that makes her look even sexier. She came to fame as the doomed Anne Boleyn on The Tudors which involved showing her nice body off in and out of corsets. Currently, she stars as Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones and as with most on that show, she just cuts loose going naked, often in some gripping sex scenes and handling the amazing story to boot. Dormer also showed off in the British TV movie, The Scandalous Lady W and proving no matter the role, she looks great in period outfits… and better out of them.
13 Shanola Hampton
After roles in numerous TV shows, Hampton got her big break playing Veronica, the best friend of Emmy Rossum’s Fiona on Showtime’s Shameless. From the first episode, she was showing her body off, doing webcasts in various hot outfits for money and some hot hook-ups with her bartender boyfriend. Since then, Hampton can always be counted on to provide some nudity for the show, sex scenes on a pool table or a bathroom and just walking naked, even handling pregnancy but not slowed down by it. It gets even hotter this year as she and her boyfriend welcome another woman into their bed and Hampton showing no shame in swinging both ways with her body on full display.
12 Lili Simmons
On Cinemax’s Banshee, Simmons first appears as a hot club-goer, seemingly in her twenties, who hits it off with main character Lucas and they have a very hot night together. However, Lucas soon discovers that the woman is Rebecca, barely 18 and from an Amish community whose parents think is a devout nice girl. The split persona is great with Simmons going out in hot times and showing her body off numerous times. She’s eventually exposed (literally) and kicked out by her family to hook up with her criminal uncle, a turn rather dark even for this show. Still, you have to love when a seemingly innocent girl turns into a vixen and Simmons does that more than enough times to entertain.
11 Lela Loren
Starz’s very underrated Power focuses on James St. Patrick, a New York drug dealer who runs a club as cover. In the pilot, he meets up with his old high school flame, Angela (Loren) and they hit it off and before long are having an affair. What he doesn’t realize is that Angela is a federal prosecutor targeting James’ alter ego of “Ghost.” Loren starts a bit slow but her alluring looks, lush dark hair and voice make her hot long before she doffs it. When she does, it’s a knockout, including stark naked in nothing but heels and later a hot island trip with James. The second season amps it up as each discovers the truth of the other and wrestling with how to handle it. With a third season coming up, Loren looks to show off even more and prove she’s got more than enough power when it comes to nude scenes on TV.
10 Emilia Clarke
Often unrecognizable from her main role, Clarke had only a few minor credits on her resume when she was cast as Daererys on Game of Thrones. From the first episode, the character showed off naked in a tub with her long white hair flowing, forcing into marriage so her brother could get ahead. But soon, Daererys was proving herself far more capable, famously “giving birth” to hatched dragons with her nude body covered in soot and dominating as a feisty queen. She’s hit a few rough patches but still determined to stay in power and lay her own claim to the Iron Throne. While she doesn’t go nude as much in later seasons, it’s probable she will again as Clarke gives the role her all and a queen you’d love to bow to.
9 Jessica Parker Kennedy
First appearing in the MTV series Valemont, Kennedy was a highlight as a teen witch in the too-short-lived CW series The Secret Circle and then a recurring part on 90210. Right now, she’s getting huge attention for her part on Starz’s pirate drama Black Sails as Max, a prostitute on an island which naturally shows her off a lot. It’s not just with men as she’s soon pulled into relationships with Hannah New’s Eleanor and Clara Paget’s Anne Bonny. Max soon rises to run the brothel and even become captain of a ship with Kennedy showing her sharp mind and drive matching her incredibly sexuality. Make no mistake, you don’t want to cross this lady as she proves herself as steely as any of the pirates around her while far better looking.
8 Sasha Alexander
For a lady who resisted nudity a lot in her career, Alexander has been making up for it big time. After starring on Dawson’s Creek, Alexander came to fame in the first two seasons of NCIS but shocked viewers by leaving the series with her character killed off. After time away, Alexander returned in the hit Rizzoli & Isles and the chemistry between her and Angie Harmon has set many lesbians’ heart aflutter. But it was still something when Alexander took on her recurring role on Shameless as Helene, a cougar professor seducing a young student. The actress shows off fully with her great chest and underrated rear in bed and proud of her body to attract a younger man. While she’s fun fully clothed, Alexander proves how some women get hotter with age and does it very well.
7 Billie Piper
A very popular face in her native England, the singer and actress rose to fame as a teen pop star before taking on the role of Rose Tyler in the revival of the iconic sci-fi series Doctor Who. After leaving the show, Piper changed her image up big time with the BBC/Showtime series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, a series that put her in very risqué situations and showing her nicely toned body off. While she was nude a lot, they did need body doubles for the second season to hide Piper’s pregnancy. The actress now stars on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful as a resurrected prostitute and rarely has a dead nude body looked so incredibly hot. She may be a “good girl” persona but Piper gets truly wicked on TV a lot.
6 Taylor Schilling
After getting attention in the one-season show Mercy, Schilling was chosen to play the main role of Piper Chapman on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, a nice gal who has to go to jail for drug running. From the first episode showing her in a shower naked with Laura Prepon, Schilling has constantly flashed her body, from shower scenes to sex with a variety of inmates and handling the often insane situations of the series. It’s fun seeing the more “laid back” Piper in flashbacks and then the mess she is today but Schilling always ensures the character is watchable and not backing down from the risqué subject matter. No matter the color, Schilling is a great nude presence on a show packed with them.
5 Jaime Murray
The British actress is a television favorite, starting with the BBC series Hustle as a suave con artist. She played the Goddess of Love in the short-lived Valentine and is best known as Helena G. Wells on the sci-fi series Warehouse 13. She had a recurring role on Showtime’s Dexter as a sociopath who has a twisted relationship with the title character, Murray showing her nice chest off in various scenes, including a famed bit standing topless while talking to Dexter’s sister. She then appeared in the “Gods of the Arena” season of Starz’s Spartacus series and, like pretty much every actress on the show, went nude in a variety of scenes, including in bed with Lucy Lawless. While she didn’t go as all out, several of her scenes as a gorgeous alien in Syfy’s Defiance were clearly her nude and no matter the time period, Murray’s amazing body always shines.
4 Olivia Wilde
After rising to fame as the bisexual Thirteen on House, Wilde moved to movie work, finally making her nude debut in the acclaimed Her. Currently, she’s getting pretty wild on the HBO series Vinyl as Devon, a former model/actress involved in the 1970s New York party scene. From her skimpy dresses, Wilde has moved on to some gripping love scenes that put her flawless body on full display and enjoying the wild antics. It’s always nice to see a movie actress moving to great TV stuff and Olivia truly proving herself a wild lady.
3 Eva Green
The stunningly gorgeous French actress has never shied from nudity in her various movie roles (see 300 Rise of an Empire and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For) so it’s no surprise she’s done the same on television. She was the highlight of Straz’ short-lived Camelot as the wicked Morgan Pendragon, cunning and seductive with several bare scenes in the woods and elsewhere. Currently, Green stars on Showtime’s horror series Penny Dreadful, going wild with scenes like her character possessed in a sexual manner and no backing down from the dark content. While she still shows off in movies, Green’s amazing body with full chest gets plenty of time on television as well to dominate media.
2 Ruth Wilson
Showtime’s The Affair looks at the hookup of two married people, Noah and Allison (Dominic Purcell and Ruth Wilson) with the clever touch that each episode is split between their points of view. Thus, Allison remembers herself more the innocent while Noah sees her far more seductive and pushing herself on him. The love scenes are intense with Wilson showing her nice body off and yet making you care for Allison no matter the circumstances. She’s earned a Golden Globe for the part but backs it up with some hot times to show how, no matter which side of the affair you fall on, Wilson is a reason to watch.
1 Lizzy Caplan
While Caplan has rarely gone nude in her movies, she more than makes up for it on TV. She got attention first in the short-lived sitcom The Class before various guest star roles. She appeared in the first season of True Blood with some hot scenes in bed with dim-witted Jason before her character’s early exit. After the goofy comedy Party Down, she moved onto her current role as Virginia Johnson on Showtime’s Masters of Sex. As you’d expect from that title, Caplan goes all out totally, multiple nude scenes in each of the show’s three seasons and some pretty risqué stuff as well. She backs it up with nice talent and a hot sense of humor to shine more and with a fantastic body to ensure that when she doffs it on TV, it’s always must-watch.