Why Netflix’s Altered Carbon Has So Much Nudity

Takeshi post coital

In the past few years, Netflix has quickly become a hub for fascinating and original TV programming. While it started with shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, all genres are now being explored by the streaming service. This includes sci-fi, as the drama Altered Carbon recently released its first season for Netflix subscribers. Based off the acclaimed novel of the same name, Altered Carbon is an unsettling adventure and cautionary tale for the digital age. The new series contains a ton of nudity and violence, and showrunner/creator Laeta Kalogridis recently opened about why there is so much flesh on screen. She said,

Our worst instincts as human beings have to do with our carelessness with natural resources, and when the body itself becomes just one more of those resources, how will we treat it? Will we treat it with such indifference and with such depersonalization that it becomes more like a very fancy car than a repository of the self? And that, I think, is one reason that the nudity itself is not gratuitous; it's meant to reinforce to you, as a viewer, that the advent of this technology fundamentally and substantially changes people's relationships with their idea of their own body.

This really does make complete sense. Because the characters of Altered Carbon are able to jump into new bodies (aka sleeves), concepts like modesty are all but extinct. Since its not actually their body, characters are more willing to walk around in the buff and not worry about being embarrassed. After all, they could just go get another sleeve if they so choose.

Having so much nudity either at both the forefront and periphery of Altered Carbon helps keep the audience in the dystopian world. This type of liberation is such a stark transition from our world, and helps hammer in how fundamentally differently the characters in Altered Carbon think about their bodies.

Laeta Kalogridis' comments to Gamespot help to illuminate some of the conversations surrounding Altered Carbon. While the nudity is purposeful and moves the narrative forward, fans just can't get over how ripped Joel Kinnaman is. Since he's starring as protagonist Takeshi Kovacs, Kinnaman is the focus of a ton of the show's nude scenes. This includes him waking up in the body in the first episode, to having steamy love scenes with the other characters. But Kalogridis and the team behind Altered Carbon have their own reasons behind this choice, as it helps to service the world building of the sci-fi series.

You can catch the entirety of Altered Carbon Season 1 streaming now on Netflix. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch, and our cancellation list to see if your favorite show got the chop last year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.