Entertainment

The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made  

Ranker TV
486 votes 38 voters 1.1k views 93 items

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

The best action thriller shows are a rush, perfectly pairing the excitement of an action series with the jumps and tension of thrillers. The best action thriller series ever shown on television pulls the audience to the edge of the seat and keeps them there. If you’ve been looking for the best action thrillers to add some excitement to your TV nights, this list of the best action thriller series of all time will help you figure out what needs to go into your queue.

The really good action thrillers basically never let you rest. Not only do you have the edgy anticipation of a great television thriller, but what’s next is probably an intense fight or chase scene. If you’re streaming your shows, their non-stop pace may make you miss commercial breaks. Although more modern action thrillers include comic book shows like Punisher and Legion, older shows such as Prison Break and Alias also provide both action and thrills and some are the most exciting thriller series of all time.

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

list ordered by
1
Altered Carbon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Joel Kinnaman, Renée Elise Goldsberry, James Purefoy
Altered Carbon is an American science fiction television series created by Laeta Kalogridis, based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan. In a future where human minds are digitized and downloaded ...more
2
Covert Affairs is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett
Covert Affairs is a USA Network television series starring Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham. The one-hour drama premiered on Tuesday, July 13, 2010. The show concluded its first season on ...more
3
The Purge is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Gabriel Chavarria, Lili Simmons, Lee Tergesen
The Purge (Syfy, 2018) is an American horror television series based on the film franchise. Set in an altered United States, several unrelated people discover how far they will go to survive a ...more
4
Nikita is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca
Nikita is an American television series that aired on The CW from September 9, 2010 to December 27, 2013 in the United States. The series is a reboot of the popular 1997 TV series La Femme ...more
5
Taken is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Clive Standen, Gaius Charles, Brooklyn Sudano
Taken (NBC, 2017) is a Franco-American drama series developed by Alexander Cary, based on the film trilogy. Former Green Beret Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) must overcome a personal tragedy, in ...more
6
The Punisher is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach
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
7
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman
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
8
Banshee is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Action Thriller 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
9
9-1-1 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Angela Bassett, Connie Britton, Peter Krause
9-1-1 (Fox, 2018) is an American procedural drama television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The show explores the high-pressure experiences of police, paramedics and ...more
10
24 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard
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
11
Prison Break is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco
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
Designated Survivor is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone, Adan Canto
Designated Survivor (ABC, 2016; Netflix, 2019) is an American political conspiracy drama television series. On the night of the State of the Union address, an incident claims the lives of the ...more
13
Luke Cage is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Simone Missick
Luke Cage (Netflix, 2016) is an American web television series created by Cheo Hodari Coker, based on the Marvel Comics character. When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and ...more
14
The Unit is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Dennis Haysbert, Regina Taylor, Audrey Marie Anderson
The Unit is an American action-drama television series that focused on a top-secret military unit modeled after the real-life U.S. Army special operations unit commonly known as Delta Force. The ...more
15
Neon Genesis Evangelion is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Kotono Mitsuishi
Neon Genesis Evangelion, commonly referred to as Evangelion or Eva, is a Japanese animated television series produced by Tatsunoko Productions and Gainax and directed by Hideaki Anno. It was ...more
16
Torchwood is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Kai Owen
Torchwood is a British science fiction television programme created by Russell T Davies. A spin-off from the 2005 revival of long-running science fiction programme Doctor Who, Torchwood aired ...more
17
V is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch
V is an American science fiction television series that ran for two seasons on ABC, from November 3, 2009 to March 15, 2011. A remake of the 1983 miniseries created by Kenneth Johnson, the new ...more
18
Tyrant is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Adam Rayner, Jennifer Finnigan, Ashraf Barhom
Tyrant is an American drama television series created by director and writer Gideon Raff and developed by Howard Gordon and Craig Wright. The first season of Tyrant consisting of 10 episodes ...more
19
La Femme Nikita is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Peta Wilson, Don Francks, Eugene Robert Glazer
La Femme Nikita is a Canadian action/drama television series based on the French film Nikita by Luc Besson. The series was co-produced by Jay Firestone of Fireworks Entertainment and Warner ...more
20
The Last Ship is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin
The Last Ship is an American action-drama television series created by Hank Steinberg and Steven L Kane, based on the 1988 novel by William Brinkley. After a global viral pandemic wipes out over ...more
21
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette
NCIS is an American police procedural drama television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts investigations ...more
22
Blindspot is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Sullivan Stapleton, Jaimie Alexander, Rob Brown
Blindspot (NBC, 2015) is an American drama television series created by Martin Gero. When a mysterious tattooed woman (Jaimie Alexander) is found naked inside a travel bag with no recollection ...more
23
Jack Ryan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
John Krasinski, Abbie Cornish, Mena Massoud
Jack Ryan (Amazon Video, 2018) is an American television series created by Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, based on the character created by Tom Clancy. When CIA analyst Jack Ryan (John ...more
24
Chicago P.D. is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Jason Beghe, Jon Seda, Sophia Bush
Chicago P.D. (NBC, 2014) is an American police procedural drama television series created by Dick Wolf and Matt Olmstead. The show follows the Chicago Police Department uniformed cops who patrol ...more
25
Queen of the South is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Alice Braga, Justina Machado, Hemky Madera
Queen of the South (USA, 2016) is an American television drama series adapted from the successful telenovela La Reina del Sur on sister network Telemundo and the book of the same name by Spanish ...more