This is our third annual list of the television characters you’re most likely to see naked in television, and in past years, the biggest complaint has been why haven’t we posted actual naked pictures. There’s two reasons: 1) We have advertisers who do not appreciate nudity on Uproxx (and seriously, two clicks. It will take you TWO clicks) and 2) that’s not the main point of this post. The primary function of this post is to offer you one additional compelling reason to watch the ten shows below (OK, just nine this year), and it if takes a little nudity to get you over the hump, then I consider this annual list a success.
Moreover, there’s no reason to be weird about it. Television nudity is fairly commonplace now. In fact, it’s even creeped into network television. Granted, on networks the nudity is pixelated or blurred, but it is nevertheless up 70 percent. Why so much nudity? There’s nothing prurient about it. I think George R.R. Martin put it best: “Ultimately, in the history of the world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure.”
There is no harm in pleasure, and if nudity/sex brings you a little extra pleasure while watching these shows, who are we to complain? So, consider this list not just a list of characters you were likely to see nude in 2013, but a list of shows you should’ve watched in 2013.
10. Emmy Rossum, Shameless — Much higher on this list in years’ past, Emmy Rossum’s character was going through some difficulties in her love life in 2013’s season, which diminished her nude screentime (Shanola Hampton, who plays Veronica, made up for it). As she will begin the fourth season (staring in January) single and dating, expect the nudity level to increase. (Rossum even has six rules for onscreen nudity.) Also, Shameless is a quietly warm, funny, and smart dramedy that doesn’t get nearly the appreciation it deserves.
9. Kate Mara, House of Cards — Not completely nude in the series, Mara was neverthleless involved in a few steamy sex scenes in the first season of House of Cards, although the fact that they were with a character twice her age (played by Kevin Spacey) may make you a little uncomfortable. It should not, however, dissuade you from watching Netflix’s first major original series (the second season returns on Valentine’s Day).
8. Oona Chaplin, Game of Thrones — If you’re a fan of onscreen nudity (and great television), there’s no doubt that you’re already watching Game of Thrones, which also had a precipitous drop in 2013 in terms of nude scenes. Maybe they were responding to criticism of gratuitous nudity, or maybe the storylines simply didn’t offer the opportunities this year. In either respect, Oona Chaplin (great-granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin) had one very memorable nude scene as Talisa Maegyr that may stick with you for a very long time.
7. Jon Voight, Ray Donovan — Not everyone on this list is designed to encourage you to watch their respective shows. There’s was a scene in Ray Donovan where Voight’s character back-door banged two women in a dream sequence that was pretty much my quitting point for the series, which had already been skating on thin ice thanks to terrible writing and even worse Boston accents. That should hopefully be reason enough to steer you away. It is NIGHTMARE FUEL.
6. Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake — The spectacular miniseries (now playing on Netflix) was bleak and grim, a cross between Twin Peaks and The Killing. It was a great six-episode run, and if seeing Moss naked is reason enough to compel you to watch, then DO IT. You’ll be rewarded with much more than a brief, cheap thrill.
5. Rebecca Ferguson The White Queen — Not a spectacular series, but if you’re a history buff and want to know more about the War of the Roses, this is probably the best entry point you’re going to get. As is the case with most Starz series, there’s lots of nudity, although not all of it is particularly necessary. But hey! History! Gratutious Nudity! It’s a pretty good combination.
4. Annet Mahendru, The Americans — One of the best new series of the year, FX’s The Americans (which returns in January) didn’t get as much buzz as it deserved until the top 10 lists began coming out late in the year. It’s a great, slow-burning spy series that offers a compelling look at the waning years of the Cold War, and Mahendru turned in a strong performance in her break-out role in American.
3. Ilana Milicevic, Banshee — I only watched the first few episodes of the first season before time commitments forced me to abandon it, but I’ve actually seen this Cinemax series on a couple of year-end best-of-lists (much to my surprise). Cinemax is trying to leave behind its Skinemax reputation, but that doesn’t mean it’s abandoning nudity, as Banshee demonstrates early and often.
2. Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black — In the best new series of the year, nudity occasionally played a pivotal role in Orange is the New Black to demonstrate what really goes on inside an all-women’s prison. Schilling wasn’t the only character to disrobe, either: Laura Prepon and Natasha Lyonne were also seen in the buff. That’s not why you should watch Orange is the New Black, however. You should watch because it’s an amazing series.
1. Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex — When an actress says she’s only willing to do nude scenes only if it serves the plot, it is rarely actually the case. Not true for Lizzy Caplan in Masters of Sex, where nudity is not only an added benefit, but the point of the show, which explores the science of sex in the 1950s. She’s only one of many characters who appear nude in the Showtime series.