Altered Carbon Season 2 is now available to stream on Netflix, and as fans were told to expect, there are some major changes from Season 1. Joel Kinnaman is out, while Anthony Mackie stepped into the role of the re-sleeved Takeshi Kovacs, with three decades having passed in the story. Aside from story changes, one other notable difference between seasons of the Netflix original is how drastically the nudity was toned down for its sophomore season.
It's quite a change for Altered Carbon, which featured a fair amount of full-frontal nudity from actress Dichen Lachman and others in its first adventure. I had the pleasure of speaking with showrunner Alison Schapker about Season 2, and when I asked if there was a specific reason why the newer eps had way less nudity than Season 1, she revealed there was. Although perhaps it isn't the reason some fans might thing. In Schapker's words:
My position on the violence and the nudity is that Altered Carbon is to be an unflinching show, but that should be in service of the story. Season 1, the story took you to places where that was very much a part of the mystery. The mystery of Season 1 was taking you to the red light district, taking you to sex workers, taking you to Bancroft and prostitute’s flesh and you know. Season 2, that's not where the mystery went. So to create scenes just to be showing nudity...it's not like I feel this series is trying to be Red Shoe Diaries. The sex and violence should service the story...I don’t think Altered Carbon purposely set out to be less R-rated.
While it may have looked like Altered Carbon would be one of those shows that seemingly has a nudity quota for each installment, Alison Schapker confirmed that's was never the case. Schapker (who replaced Season 1 showrunner and show creator Laeta Kalogridis), pointed out that the Season 2 story no longer deals with the world of sex and sex crimes, which was obviously a narrative that allowed for there to be so much nudity in Season 1.
This isn't to say the Altered Carbon's sophomore season is completely devoid of nudity. One scene involving actress Lela Loren late in Season 2 is reminiscent of past explicitness, but as previously stated, the abundance of full-frontal stark naked scenes are mostly gone.. Most of the tawdry scenes featuring Anthony Mackie or Renée Elise Goldsberry in Season 2 could probably be shown on cable television these days, and maybe even network television if it's in a later time slot. Unfamiliar audiences might not even bat an eyelash at those moments, but for those who watched Season 1, the lack of nudity will sure be noticeable.
Altered Carbon's decision to keep characters clothed more comes after Season 1 was hit with criticism for being sexist and misogynistic, which coincided with Hollywood starting to make overall changes to how fictional media simulates sex. Some fans could easily find a connection between those criticisms and show alterations, though Alison Schapker indicates that's not the case from her viewpoint. The end result doesn't affect the storytelling so much in any case, though more nudity-averse viewers might have a better time digesting the second season.