Top Picks for Action-Packed TV Series
There's truly nothing quite like a well-placed kick to the visage (preferably not your own) to keep oneself entertained. Sure, you could gallivant down to the local fight club for some amusement, or you could peruse the vast array of streaming services in search of the finest action-packed shows to indulge in. Alternatively, you could simply allow us to take the wheel with our meticulously curated list of the absolute best action shows to watch at this very moment.
If your desires lean towards shows that offer heart-pumping action and mind-blowing explosions, series that showcase hand-to-hand combat so mesmerizing that you'll momentarily forget it's not real but actually requires an immense amount of meticulous fight choreography, or perhaps it's larger-than-life battles that capture your attention, then this well-crafted compilation of the top-notch action TV shows is tailor-made for you.
If you're yearning for more recommendations on what to binge-watch next, you'll find a myriad of them right here! And if you're in search of hand-picked suggestions based on shows you already adore, we have precisely what you're looking for.
Unleash your senses and immerse yourself in the intense world of intense power struggles and those daring to challenge it in the underworld of Gareth Evans' "Gangs of London." Evans, renowned for his stellar martial arts masterpiece "The Raid," harnesses that same level of ruthlessness in this sprawling British gang drama. While the concept may seem familiar, the breathtaking action sequences that contort limbs in unimaginable ways elevate this series to new heights. Initially released exclusively in the United Kingdom and subsequently making its way to AMC in the United States, it has finally reached a wider audience through AMC's standard cable network. Prepare yourself for an exhilarating experience. [Watch on AMC]
Introducing "Banshee," a sensational creation by Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler that stands in a league of its own among the pantheon of exceptional action shows. Over four gripping seasons, this show captivated audiences with its gripping storyline, pulpy action sequences, and all-out brawls, all while offering a profound exploration of identity and power dynamics. Witness Antony Starr's captivating portrayal of an ex-convict who assumes the identity of Lucas Hood, the deceased sheriff of Banshee, Pennsylvania. With small-town power dynamics at play, further complicated by organized crime, corruption, and complex relationships with the Pennsylvania Dutch and Native American communities, this violent yet nuanced series demands your undivided attention. If you only have room for one new action show in your life, let it be "Banshee," a hidden gem that quietly reigned supreme throughout the 2010s. [Watch on HBO Max]
David Bloomer/CinemaxAlso conceived by the artistic mind behind Banshee, Jonathan Tropper, Warrior draws inspiration from the literary works of the legendary Bruce Lee. The show is nurtured by the creative collaboration of Bruce Lee's daughter, Shannon, and the esteemed director Justin Lin. Transporting us to 19th-century San Francisco, Warrior introduces us to Ah Sahm, a prodigious martial artist portrayed by the talented Andrew Koji. Sahm's quest to reunite with his sister, played by Dianne Doan, takes an unexpected turn when he becomes entangled with a criminal organization. Meanwhile, Sahm discovers that his sister is orchestrating a different ploy altogether. Amidst Sahm's moral quandaries and conflicting loyalties, the series captivates viewers with its masterful display of martial arts and thought-provoking exploration of institutionalized discrimination through the power struggles of rival factions, conniving politicians, the police force governing Chinatown, and the advocacy of Irish laborers. Furthermore, Warrior stands out for its inclusion of fearless women who effortlessly wield power in their interactions with the men around them. [Stream on HBO Max]
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan
Amazon StudiosAmazon's prequel series delves into the backstory of Tom Clancy's cunning operative, Jack. Initially confined to his desk, played by the renowned John Krasinski, Jack quickly transitions into a field agent, shedding his Jim Halpert persona. In Jack Ryan, audiences are treated to thrilling action sequences reminiscent of the Jason Bourne franchise. Jack engages in gunfights and high-speed pursuits with adversaries across picturesque European streets and the arid landscapes of the Middle East, thanks to Amazon's commitment to authenticity. Season 1 takes us on a journey through a labyrinthine plot, heavily focused on espionage and intelligence gathering, interspersed with visually stunning combat scenes helmed by directors from Daredevil, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead. Season 2 transports us to the jungles of Venezuela, where secret operations unfold. While Jack Ryan isn't solely reliant on action, the series strikes a perfect balance between intricate plotting and breathtaking spectacles. Director Tim Surette describes the action sequences as artfully captured and visually captivating. [Stream on Amazon Prime]
Warren Brown and Daniel MacPherson, Strike Back
Hal Shinnie/CINEMAXA collaborative effort between the United States and the United Kingdom after the first season, Strike Back stands out on this list as one of the most traditional and straightforward action series, excluding Jack Ryan. With a plethora of thrilling explosions, intense shootouts, and the occasional thrilling boat chase, this series follows Section 20, an elite group of soldiers assigned the critical mission of eliminating terrorists and criminal organizations worldwide. Recognizing the significance of a global perspective, like Jack Ryan, Strike Back films in various locations across the globe. Despite the constant rotation of characters (which occurs frequently, emphasizing the gravity of the situations portrayed), Strike Back consistently delivers the kind of high-quality, cinematic action sequences that have defined its identity. [Watch on Cinemax (subscription required), Amazon Prime (for purchase)]
Into the Badlands
Daniel Wu, Into the Badlands
Aidan Monaghan/AMCFrom 2015 to 2019, this visually stunning martial arts series graced our screens on AMC. Despite not achieving the mainstream success it deserved, the complete series is now available on Netflix for a broader audience to appreciate its mesmerizing fight choreography, vibrant color palette, and innovative portrayal of a post-apocalyptic world. Set in a future where America no longer exists and feudal barons rule, Into the Badlands tells the captivating story of Sunny (Daniel Wu), a formidable warrior in service to the most powerful baron in the Badlands. When he encounters a young boy from a different realm, Sunny's perspective shifts, leading him on a dangerous journey to uncover the mysteries of his own enigmatic past. This enthralling series intertwines magic, mystery, and touches of compelling violence reminiscent of The Walking Dead, all conveyed through stylized martial arts sequences that never fail to captivate viewers. –Liam Mathews [Watch on Netflix]
The Unforgettable Marvel Duo: Daredevil and Punisher
Prepare to be captivated by the unparalleled brilliance of Daredevil and The Punisher as they elevate the realm of stylized violence. Unlike their Marvel counterparts, these phenomenal shows discard the grandeur of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe and delve into a gritty and dark exploration of crime-fighting. In the world of Daredevil, we follow the remarkable journey of Matt Murdock, portrayed by the remarkable Charlie Cox, who transforms from a blind lawyer by day to a formidable vigilante by night. Meanwhile, Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle, also known as the relentless Punisher, initially makes an appearance as a supporting character in Daredevil's second season, only to earn his own captivating spin-off that delves into the depths of his character and the complexities of morality. Brace yourself for an unconventional display of the battle between good and evil, where fights are raw, unfiltered, and resemble the savage nature of bare-knuckle brawls, defying the preconceived notions of traditional superhero shows. Missing out on this extraordinary spectacle would be a grave mistake. [Indulge in these enthralling tales on Netflix]
Embark on a Journey with Vikings
Jonathan Hession/HistoryWhen contemplating History's Vikings, one may not initially envision an action-packed spectacle. The series initially lures us in with conversations about strategic plans and ambitions, but it is the awe-inspiring clash of empires that truly sets it apart as a remarkable action show. Whether it's Ragnar Lothbrok, brilliantly portrayed by Travis Fimmel, or the valiant efforts of his sons, every attempt to conquer new territories or protect their homeland from invaders results in breathtaking battle sequences that leave viewers exhilarated. These grandiose battles, dare we say it, are undeniably entertaining, cementing Vikings' status as one of the finest action shows of all time. Dare to embark on this epic saga that unfolds before your eyes. [Experience the saga on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Peacock]
A captivating gem of the independent action genre from the 2010s, Joe Wright's Hanna found its way onto the small screen in 2019. However, this adaptation is a far cry from a mere fanboy's extension of the original film. The visionary screenwriter, David Farr, who co-penned the movie, dared to delve deeper into the narrative by transforming it into a television series. While it still revolves around a young woman (Esme Creed-Miles) who flees from a clandestine government project that molds children into lethal assassins, the series unravels the intricate mythos even further, particularly in Season 2 as it progresses beyond the conclusion of the film. Nonetheless, the true allure lies within the intense and bone-crushing action sequences. With Creed-Miles at the helm, this tenacious young prodigy poses a formidable threat to any adversary foolish enough to obstruct her path as she embarks on a journey across Europe to uncover the truth behind her upbringing. –Tim Surette [Stream it on Amazon Prime]
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