FUN FACT: In 2011, full-frontal nudity was up 6,300 percent in 2011. Of course, that was on network television, and most of it was pixelated, but that’s the kind of thing the Parents Television Council wants you to know so that, I dunno, you’ll call your Congressman and tell them to stop featuring beach scenes on Revenge.
This list, however, is exclusive to cable, where there is no pixelation or blurring of nudity. It’s an academic exercise (or at least, that’s what I tell myself), which basically ranks the frequency and gratuity of nudity among female actresses on cable shows, limited of course to the cable shows we watch or might give some consideration to watching for something OTHER than the nudity (i.e., no Femme Fatales). The sex and nudity is just a BONUS because, as George R.R. Martin says — and I’m paraphrasing here — there should be lots of sex on television because SEX IS AWESOME.
I can’t disagree with that. One note before we begin: Each show is limited to only ONE actress (the one who was featured most) so that we can better spread the love around.
12. Jenna Louise Coleman — Room at the Top : Room at the Top is actually a British mini-series, and over in Britain, toplessness means NOTHING, but I’m including the shout out because Jenna Louise Coleman is going to be the next Doctor Who companion, and unlike Billie Piper, who we saw naked after her run on Doctor Who (see Secret Diary of a Call Girl), many will have seen Jenna Louise Coleman topless BEFORE her run on Doctor Who. It will change our whole perspective.
11. Melissa George — Hunted — A great little spy show (although I still haven’t seen the final three episodes, but I WILL) that’s kind of slow, and doesn’t feature nearly as much nudity as you’d expect from Cinemax programming. Maybe they’re trying to go legit or something.
10. Morena Baccarin — Homeland — Baccarin, the former Firefly star, actually loses ground over last year’s rankings, as her number of nude scenes dropped to only one. Bonus points, however, for being in an outstanding show (or at least, a show made outstanding by a phenomenal season finale).
9. Kellie Blaise — The Borgias — There are so many great premium cable dramas on television now that The Borgias kind of gets lost in the shuffle, but it’s got some great twists, and hell: It’s based on history. Who knew a Pope could be so wicked, and sex-obsessed?
8. Meg Chambers Steedle — Boardwalk Empire — This was the season that Nucky Thompson turned into the Don Draper of the 1920s and got himself a mistress. I don’t want to spoil the fate of the character, but I will say she really lights up the screen. It’s weird, though: She kind of reminds me of Kate Micucci (Oates, of “Oates and Garfunkel” fame).
7. Hannah Ware — Boss — Hannah Ware’s character in Boss started the season in prison, but got out, and ended up doing A LOT of things with her body in exchange for drugs. She beats out last year’s Boss representative, Kathleen Robertson.
6. Carice van Houten — Game of Thrones — This lady gave birth to a smoke baby. She totally wins the award for “nudity most necessary for advancing the plot.”
5. Dawn Olivieri — House of Lies — I’d never heard of Olivieri before House of Lies, where she plays the sex-obsessed ex-wife of Don Cheadle’s character, but she was basically the epitome of this show’s attempts to obscure its bad plotting with semi-frequent sex scenes. It kind of worked.
4. Lucy Lawless – Spartacus: Vengeance — As I mentioned before, in noting that Spartacus is the most gloriously violent show on television, I haven’t seen it yet. But I will be remedying that over the break. Bonus, I am led to understand by one of our illustrious commenters, Billy Bob, that lawless engages in a threesome with Jaime Murray (another commenters also noted that there is frequent male nudity, so huzzah for the ladies!).
3. Emmy Rossum — Shameless — I gotta say, although Shameless is not my favorite among the shows (though, I do love it), of all the women to show up on this list, Emmy Rossum IS my favorite. I’m a little bit smitten with her.
2. Jessica Clark — True Blood — It’s practically impossible to find an image of Jessica Clark from True Blood in which she is not nude, and I understand that there’s a TON of nudity on the show. But I still refuse to watch it. I saw the first season, and that was enough. It’s just not worth it.
1. Jessica Marais — Magic City — I don’t know a lot about this show, another Starz series, but critics have been mixed-to-positive on it, it’s coming back for another season, and I understand that Jessica Marais is seldom seen with her clothes on, which is why she ranks the highest on our list.