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The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made 

Ranker TV
Updated February 21, 2020 909 votes 94 voters 2.4k views 63 items

List Rules Vote up the best action dramas that have aired on television.

The best action drama shows are a rush, perfectly pairing the excitement of an action series with the emotion of a drama. The best action drama series ever shown on television breaks up the intrigue and interpersonal tension with moments of physical conflict. If you’ve been looking for the best action dramas to add some excitement to your TV nights, this list of the best action drama series of all time will help you figure out what needs to go into your queue.

The really good action dramas keep you watching through either emotional manipulation or awesome action scenes. Will they or won't they? Who cares because one thing they will do is throw some punches or chase after the bad guys. Action dramas are also particularly good at removing main characters from the lineup in dramatic and heartbreaking ways. Mind-bending dramas like Legion and Orphan Black deliver the action as well as shows with a little more emphasis on the fight scenes, such as Xena: Warrior Princess or Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Which shows balance being dramas and action series the best? Vote up the best action drama shows, vote down the shows that don't deliver the drama with their adrenaline rush, and add any dramatic action series that are missing.

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list ordered by
1
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Jon DeSpirito added Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 54

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Crime Fiction, Crime, Suspense, Drama, + more

Breaking Bad is an American drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008, to September 29, ...more
2
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 73

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Medieval fantasy, Drama, Adventure film, Epic, Action, + more

Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. Nine noble ...more
3
Hunters is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Greg Austin, Dylan Baker, Jeannie Berlin

Premiered: February 21, 2020

Network: Amazon Video

Genres (Tv): Drama

Hunters (Amazon Video, 2020) is an upcoming American drama television series created by David Weil. A diverse band of Nazi hunters living in 1977 New York City discover hundreds of high-ranking ...more
4
Iris is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
TySeb added Iris Kim Tae-hee, T.O.P, Lee Joon

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 20

Network: Korean Broadcasting System

Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Action/Adventure, Romance TV, Drama, Thriller, + more

Iris is a 2009 South Korean espionage television drama series, starring Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-hee, Jung Joon-ho, Kim Seung-woo, Kim So-yeon and T.O.P of Big Bang. It aired on KBS2 from October ...more
5
The Pretender is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Michael T. Weiss, Andrea Parker, Patrick Bauchau

Premiered: 1996

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 86

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action

The Pretender is an American television series that aired on NBC from 1996 to 2000. The series starred Michael T. Weiss as Jarod, a genius and former child prodigy with the ability to become ...more
6
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 31

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, + more

Person of Interest is an American science fiction drama television series created by Jonathan Nolan that premiered on September 22, 2011, on CBS. The series revolves around John Reese, a former ...more
7
24 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

Premiered: 2001

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 24

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Espionage, Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Thriller, + more

24 is an American television series produced for the Fox network created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, and starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. Each ...more
8
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 9

Network: History

Genres (Tv): War film, Drama, Historical fiction, Action

Vikings (History, 2013) is a historical drama television series created by Michael Hirst. A farmer (Travis Fimmel) rises to fame by successful raids into England, and eventually becomes a ...more
9
The Punisher is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Premiered: 2017

Number of Seasons: 2

Genres (Tv): Action, Superhero, Crime drama, Conspiracy thriller

Marvel's The Punisher (Netflix, 2017) is an American web television series created for Netflix by Steve Lightfoot. Former Force Recon officer Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), known throughout New ...more
10
City Hunter is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
TySeb added Park Min-young, Lee Min-ho, Lee Kwang-soo

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 20

Network: Seoul Broadcasting System

Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Miniseries, Action/Adventure, Drama, Thriller, + more

City Hunter is a 2011 South Korean television drama series based on the Japanese manga series City Hunter written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo, starring Lee Min-ho, Park Min-young, Lee ...more
11
Prison Break is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 81

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Prison Break is an American television serial drama created by Paul Scheuring, that was broadcast on Fox for four seasons, from 2005 until 2009. The series revolves around two brothers; one has ...more
12
Daredevil is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson

Premiered: 2015

Network: Netflix

Genres (Tv): Science Fiction, Action

Daredevil (Netflix, 2015) is an American web television series created for Netflix by Drew Goddard, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Blind lawyer Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) ...more
13
Spartacus is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Spartacus Lucy Lawless, Jaime Murray, Katrina Law

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 39

Network: Starz

Genres (Tv): Drama, Adventure film, Historical drama, Biographical film, Action film

Spartacus (Starz, 2010) is a British television series produced in New Zealand, inspired by the historical figure of Spartacus, a Thracian gladiator who from 73 to 71 BCE led a major slave ...more
14
Justified is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 52

Network: FX

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama

Justified is an American television drama series developed by Graham Yost. It is based on Elmore Leonard's short story. Timothy Olyphant portrays Raylan Givens, a tough U.S. Marshal enforcing ...more
15
Pandora is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Priscilla Quintana, Ben Radcliffe, Raechelle Banno

Premiered: 2019

Network: The CW

Genres (Tv): Science fiction, Action, Drama

Pandora (The CW, 2019) is an American science fiction action television series. Set in the year 2199, a young woman (Priscilla Quintana) who has lost everything finds a new life at Earth's Space ...more
16
Treadstone is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Treadstone Omar Metwally, Tracy Ifeachor, Hyo Joo Han

Premiered: 2019

Network: USA

Genres (Tv): Action, Drama

Treadstone (USA, 2019) is an American action drama television series, based on the Bourne Film series, created by Tim Kring. The show explores the origin story and present-day actions of CIA ...more
17
Reef Break is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Poppy Montgomery

Premiered: 2019

Network: ABC

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Drama

Reef Break (ABC, 2019) is a French-American crime drama television series created by Ken Sanzel. Cat Chambers (Poppy Montgomery), a thief-turned-fixer for the governor of a Pacific Island ...more
18
The Umbrella Academy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, Emmy Raver-Lampman

Premiered: 2019

Network: Netflix

Genres (Tv): Superhero, Action

The Umbrella Academy (Netflix, 2019) is an American television series developed by Steve Blackman, based on the comic book series by Gerard Way. A disbanded group of superheroes reunite after ...more
19
24: Live Another Day is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Yvonne Strahovski, Kiefer Sutherland, Michelle Fairley

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 12

24: Live Another Day, also known as Day 9, is a 24 limited event television series consisting of twelve episodes that premiered on May 5, 2014, and concluded on July 14, 2014, airing on Fox. Sky ...more
20
Stargate SG-1 is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping

Premiered: 1997

Number of Seasons: 10

Number of Episodes: 214

Network: Showtime, Syfy

Genres (Tv): Military science fiction, Action/Adventure, Adventure film, Action, Science Fiction, + more

Stargate SG-1 is an adventure and military science fiction television series and part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Stargate franchise. The show, created by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner, is ...more
21
Black Sails is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Jon DeSpirito added Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New

Premiered: 2014

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

Genres (Tv): Drama, Adventure film, Action

Black Sails is an American dramatic adventure television series set on New Providence Island and a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. The series was created by Jonathan ...more
22
Pennyworth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Jack Bannon, Ben Aldridge, Ryan Fletcher

Premiered: 2019

Network: Epix

Genres (Tv): Drama

Pennyworth (Epix, 2019) is an American drama television series based on the DC Comics characters. The story of how Bruce Wayne's legendary butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon), a former ...more
23
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 75

Network: Syfy

Genres (Tv): Space opera, Military science fiction, Political drama, Drama, Psychological thriller, + more

Battlestar Galactica is an American military science fiction television series, and part of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The show was developed by Ronald D. Moore and executive produced ...more
24
Rome is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 22

Network: Rai 2, British Broadcasting Corporation, HBO

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Historical drama, Action

Rome is a British-American-Italian historical drama television series created by Bruno Heller, John Milius and William J. MacDonald. The show's two seasons were broadcast on HBO, BBC Two, and ...more
25
Banshee is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made
Antony Starr, Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen
Banshee is an American action-drama television series created by Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler originally appearing on the Cinemax network beginning on January 11, 2013. Set in the small ...more