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7 Awesome Action TV Shows

Updated on June 24, 2020
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LJ Milan is an action tv show fan and connoisseur since the early '90s.

Action TV shows have our adrenaline pumping week after week. They suck us in with gunpowder, treason, and plot, no pun intended. And if they add explosions it can be just what the doctor ordered. The bigger the better.

In all honesty, a good action show will never make you think too much. They are there for stress relief. And that's just a small, simple truth. But the big secret is… We like it that way.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I compiled a list of shows just like that. I have to mention though, this list doesn't contain any of superhero shows. This is the list of pure action shows. Well, let us start.

1. Jack Ryan (2018)


Information About This Show

Genre: action, political, thriller
Created by: Carlton Cuse, Graham Roland
Starring: John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce, Abbie Comish
Number of seasons: 2
Number of episodes: 16

This show follows a CIA analyst Jack Ryan. After uncovering some suspicious bank transfers by a new and unknown group. He is pushed into the field, from his lovely desk, by his new boss.

This show is based on a series of spy novels written by Tom Clancy. Popularly called Ryanverse. Before this show, Jack Ryan was adopted in film five times, if my memory serves me correctly. Unlike the movies, this show is a prequel of sorts.

I love this show, which is odd because I'm not usually a fan of prequels. I have philosophic doubts about them. Yet, here we are.

I haven't heard much talk about this show, which is a real shame. It's an amazing and masterfully driven story. It honestly portrays the spy game, with all the gory details. Not leaving a single thing to the viewers imagination.

John Krasinski is a great addition to on-screen Ryanverse. His portrayal of Ryan is closer to Fords than any other. His chemistry with Wendell Pierce is almost palpable.

This show has its own pace, it's neither fast nor slow. It's a mixture of the two, which is perfect for this kind of show. It is important to note, that we had a lot of spies doing God only knows what not. It almost looked like they are not human. It's nice to finally have a human spy added to the fold.

2. Hawaii Five 0 (2010)


Information About This Show

Genre: action, drama
Developed by: Peter M. Lenkov, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park
Number of seasons: 10
Number of episodes: 240

After the murder of his father, Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett returns home to Oahu in search of answers. Almost immediately he is offered his own task force with immunity and means, by the Governor of Hawaii. His first hire is detective Danny Williams.

From there this show kicks into high gear and it doesn't stop until the finale. It's nonstop action with lots of laughter and some tears. But in its core, this show is pure adrenaline shot. Much needed, at least for some of us.

This show is actually a reboot of the Hawaii Five-O which ran from 1968 to 1980 and was created by Leonard Freeman. I haven't watched the original, but I can't imagine it being better than this one.

There is a lot to love in this show. But what I like the most is the dinamic of our main duo. Steve and Danny are just so fun to watch. They start bickering in the first episode and they really don't stop until the end of the show. Which is, if we sum it up, 240 episodes of priceless bickering.

But the action scenes in this show is on whole other level. It's real gunfire, knife slashing, hand combat and explosion fest. For a true action freak, this show is a must-watch.

3. Covert Affairs (2010)


Information About This Show

Genre: action, drama
Created by: Matt Corman, Chris Ord
Starring: Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchet
Number of seasons: 5
Number of episodes: 75

Annie Walker is a young CIA operative who speaks multiple languages. Because of it, she is pulled from the "Farm" and into DPD (Domestic Protection Division) as a field operative. In the beginning, she is helped in navigating that new world by Augie a blind tech operative.

This show is fantastic on so many levels, it's particularly impossible to describe them all. I love that this show is actually an evolution of Annie's character. From a young operative to a full-fledged spy, in the course of the series. Perabo did an awesome job here, she blew me away.

And that transition is almost seemingly and amazingly done. Without any ripple effects on the story. That story is offered for everyone to see. Like Jack Ryan previously, this show brings us the unabridged version of the spy game.

In the beginning, this show is light, but that changes as it progresses towards its end. It's a pure pleasure watching Annie's story, and I highly recommend it.

4. Chuck (2007)


Information About This Show

Genre: Action, comedy, romance
Created by: John Schwartz, Chris Fedak
Starring: Yvonne Strahovski, Zachary Levi, Sarah Lancaster, Adam Baldwin
Number of seasons: 5
Number of episodes: 91

Chuck Bartowski is an ordinary mid-twenties geek working in Buy More. His future looks grim and uneventful. Until one day he opens an email from his old college buddy and ends up with all of the government secrets in his head. And just like that he's future is changed. He meets a brooding NSA agent and smoking hot CIA operative.

This show is pure action-comedy gold. I know that at the beginning of this article I said it won't have any mixture of genres but this one deserves to be on this list. So, just ignore the way he got those secrets into his head. And honestly, what action story doesn't have some part that is pure and utter disbelief. Like, shooting choppers from the sky with taxis.

I love this show. It has everything a proper fan needs. Plus, it's masterfully done. It offers you hours and hours of escape from grim reality.

This show can certainly have you scratching your head, but that's the point of it. Its pure entertainment. The chemistry of its core group is unbelievable. You can feel it in the air that they enjoyed working on it. But the thing I like the most is the people they brought back after a long period of hiatus. That was just bonkers. This show is a serious must watch.

5. 24 (2001)


Information About This Show

Genre: action, espionage, drama
Created by: Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran
Starring: Kieffer Sutherland, Leslie Hope, Sarah Clarke, Elisha Cuthbert, Dennis Haysbert, Carlos Bernard
Number of seasons: 9
Number of episodes: 204

Jack Bauer is the head of the Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) in LA. Throughout the series, he battles with terrorists, assassins, corrupt politicians and corporations.

This show is a must be on any list of this genre. Everybody knows of it but you have to include it. This show was a game-changer, it spearheaded the real-time plotline, which many shows try and use it today. With limited success, I might add. It also invigorated the genre, ushering in the new intake of action shows we have today.

There is no place on this Earth where people haven't heard of Jack Bauer. During the course of 8 seasons, one movie and one limited series, he went through hell and back. And then back to hell again.

Jack Bauer is one of the defining characters of the genre. The other one being John McClane. Okay, okay, also Bond, Bourne, etc. But you get my drift. This show is on a whole other level in terms of, well, everything.

6. Lethal Weapon (2016)


Information About This Show

Genre: action, comedy, drama
Developed by: Matt Miller
Starring: Damon Wayans, Clayne Crawford, Jordana Brewster
Number of seasons: 3
Number of episodes: 55

Martin Riggs a DEA agent relocates from Texas to LA. And starts his job as a detective in LAPD. He is partnered with Roger Murtaugh who is less than thrilled with his cowboy ways.

This show is based on the Lethal Weapon movie franchise created by Shane Black. Which of course is one of those ultra-popular ones. It had four films, and the scuttlebutt is that we will be getting the fifth one. Fingers crossed.

But, back to this show. There are slight differences compared to the movies, but it really doesn't lose anything with it. It's a true blue action-comedy. Wayans and Crawford had almost as much chemistry as Gibson and Glover. Too bad they didn't get along.

This show did a great job of honoring the source material and adding something new to it. It's a fun ride. Despite the bad luck behind the camera its worth your time. This show deserved more than just three seasons. But it was out of network's hands.

7. La Femme Nikita (1997)


Information About This Show

Genre: action, spy, drama
Developed by: Joel Surnow
Starring: Peta Wilson, Roy Dupius, Don Francks, Matthew Ferguson, Alberta Watson
Number of seasons: 5
Number of episodes: 96

Nikita is a homeless young woman who is wrongly accused of murder, and convicted to life in prison. Soon afterward, a shadowy government agency, called Section 1, fake hers suicide and take her. She is trained by them into a full-fledged agent. But in Section nobody is there voluntarily, they are all in it under the threat of death.

This show is still one of my favorites. Even to this day, and after too many shows, it's still on my top list. And I have a feeling that it will stay there for a long, long time. It's a remake of a French film by Luc Besson.

This show is a pure action show. It has everything that this kind of show needs to have, every kind of fight imaginable, explosions and romance of course. But this show got on my personal top list because of its story. It is a story that you rarely see in this genre. It was an eye-opener for me in my teen years.

I love the characters also, they are fantastically developed. And the actors did an amazing job. This show shows that you can make a good and massively popular show without a big budget. And the most important linchpin in it is Peta Wilson. Her acting was beyond awesome. This show is an anomaly for me because I love more this show than original it's based on. Which is super rare for me. It's a must-watch.

Well, that's all for this list, well, almost. I have one honorable mention, and that show is:



Information About This Show

Genre: action, drama, thriller, spy
Developed by: Craig Silverstein
Starring: Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsey Fonseca, Aaron Stanford
Number of seasons: 4
Number of episodes: 73

This show is a rather peculiar reboot of the previous one. It continues the story from the second season of La Femme Nikita. If I haven't lost you, lucky you. They really took a unique approach to reboot.

But, it has to be said that this show is a pure action show. It has a fantastic group of actors in it. And yet, it pales in comparison to its predecessor. And big time. Mainly because they changed the damn story, and haven't really offered a better one, just an average one. But still, this show is worth the watch.


Well, that's about it. There are a lot of shows that aren't on this list, but that was on purpose. I tried to limit the list to pure action shows, with as little mixture of other genres as possible. I hope you found something for you on it. Until next time.

Which show is your favorite?

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© 2020 LJ Milan


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