Action series is a series genre in which the protagonist or protagonists are thrust into a series of challenges that typically include violence, extended fighting, physical feats, and frantic chases. Action films tend to feature a resourceful hero struggling against incredible odds, which include life-threatening situations, a villain, or a pursuit which generally concludes in victory for the hero. This genre is closely associated with the thriller and adventure genres, and they may also contain elements of spy fiction.
Here are the top 10 best action TV shows to watch.
Unlike a lot of detective stories, The Sinner leaves no ambiguity as to whodunit. Early in the first episode, viewers witness Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) stab a man to death on a crowded beach. The mystery before Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) is why she did it — Cora herself has no memory of the crime. What unfolds is a unique procedural, one in which the culprit’s mind is the mystery, and the show focuses on teasing out who she is and what spurred her actions. Season 1 is a self-contained story, so the show does not get bogged down in questions that take years to answer.
2. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Not far from Riverdale, where Archie Andrews and friends have their hijinks, sits the town of Greendale, a place where, we are told, it seems like Halloween all year round. It’s here that teen witch Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) lives, juggling her ordinary life as a high schooler with her extracurricular activities practicing the dark arts. Sabrina is enjoying the best of both worlds, at least until her 16th birthday, when she must sign away her soul to the Dark Lord and cast off her mortal life. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a fun, occasionally very creepy slice-of-life show, with Sabrina and friends having adventures and dealing with a variety of supernatural threats.
3. Stranger Things
The opening sequence of Stranger Things lays out the series’ sci-fi aspirations clearly: A scientist flees down an empty hallway, pursued by some unseen force that eventually nabs him as he waits for elevator doors to close; it then cuts to a group of kids playing D&D in a suburban basement. From Alien to E.T. in a matter of seconds. The show is a stew made of various influences from the ‘80s. A mysterious creature and a secret government agency, a group of kids having adventures around their rural town, teens experimenting with sex, drugs, and peer pressure.
There are pieces of Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and John Hughes strewn throughout Stranger Things, and the result is a show that will feel immediately familiar to people who grew up with that source material. The show is not shallow in its emulation, either. The acting and direction are superb, giving even the most derivative scenes some heft.
4. Marvel’s Jessica Jones
After the massive success of Daredevil’s first season, Netflix decided to tap into yet another Marvel character with Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Breaking Bad alum Krysten Ritter hops into the virtual shoes of the titular Jessica Jones, a somewhat troubled young woman who possesses a particularly enhanced set of powers that make her a menace to criminals. Alongside Ritter are David Tennant as the mysterious and evil Kilgrave, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and Carrie Ann Moss as a hard-nosed lawyer named Jeri Hogarth. Not just for comic book fans, Marvel’s Jessica Jones is a wild good time.
This Netflix-produced show strikes gold. Daredevil brings the Marvel Universe to the small screen in a big way. While movie adaptations of Marvel’s blind lawyer-by-day, blind crime-fighter-by-night never quite lived up to expectations, Drew Goddard’s episodic version garnered near-universal acclaim. Charlie Cox — who plays the iconic Daredevil — headlines an impressive cast that also features Vincent D’Onofrio and Rosario Dawson. Gritty, expertly produced, and packed to the brim with action, Netflix’s Daredevil is one you won’t want to miss.
When an 11-year-old boy is killed, the coastal town of Broadchurch is subjected to the onslaught of media attention. At only eight episodes, this British show is easy to binge in a weekend, with twists and turns that will keep you watching. David Tennant stars as the testy head investigator of the murder, who finds himself dealing with high emotions and high stakes in his search to find the person who would commit an unthinkable act.
History (the network) melds historic accuracy with epic action in Vikings, a down-to-earth historical fantasy saga, dramatically recounting the rise of a prolific figure in Scandinavian lore, Ragnar Lodbrok, from farmer to legendary warrior. Vikings follows the exploits of the cunning Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) as he becomes the most powerful ruler of Europe’s Viking Age, or at least, the one the history books and Nordic sagas remember him as. The show has received much acclaim during its run thus far — and without the gratuitous nudity common to most cable epics — earning it numerous Emmy nominations for both effects and design.
8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Joss Whedon’s horror/fantasy/comedy/coming-of-age series was one of the defining shows of the ’90s, a teen drama with a healthy dose of humor and also monsters. The show begins with teenager Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) starting school in her new hometown: Sunnydale, California. It’s a quaint town, a perfect place to raise a family — if you can look past all the vampires, demons, and other creatures haunting the town. Luckily for the people of Sunnydale, Buffy is no ordinary teen; she’s a “Slayer,” a demon-fighting warrior blessed with superhuman powers. Along with her friends Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan), as well as her mentor, Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), Buffy hunts monsters and tries to pass her classes. Although the early episodes are rough, Buffy the Vampire Slayer grew into one of the smartest shows on television in its day, a series that used its fantasy elements as metaphors for the travails of growing up and finding one’s place in the world. It doesn’t hurt that it had a sharp, self-aware sense of humor.
Before he was the mastermind behind Marvel’s cinematic universe, Joss Whedon was known for creating memorable television series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. While the latter only lasted for one season before it was ultimately canceled and later revived with the film Serenity, it has garnered a rabid cult following. The sci-fi series is set just after an interplanetary civil war between the populated inner system planets and the outer planets, where life resembles the American West. The series is well known for its cast of likable characters, including Nathan Fillion’s Mal Reynold, who captains the titular ship, and is arguably the coolest space criminal since Han Solo.
Based on the acclaimed comic series by Garth Ennis, Preacher follows the story of Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a former criminal working as a preacher in Texas. His faith shaky, Jesse’s life is changed when an otherworldly entity possesses him, granting him supernatural powers. Soon, Jesse teams up with his ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and an Irish vampire named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), as he tries to master his new powers and deal with a host of enemies, including a powerful and corrupt businessman, Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley). The show benefits from excellent direction, thanks to showrunner Sam Catlin (who previously worked on Breaking Bad). Bloody, violent, and set against the sun-parched backdrop of Texas, Preacher evokes classic Westerns, but the supernatural elements and bizarre characters will appeal to viewers of modern genre shows like Game of Thrones.