Live-Action TV Shows

by Decreator | created - 1 month ago | updated - 3 days ago | Public

Ranking the live-actions shows I have seen so far based on their overall quality.

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1. Band of Brothers (2001)

TV-MA | 594 min | Action, Drama, History

The story of Easy Company of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, and their mission in World War II Europe, from Operation Overlord, through V-J Day.

Stars: Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Shane Taylor

Votes: 335,008

An amazing basically cinematic-style documentary that takes you up close with one of the best Army Units of the US during World War II.

2. Game of Thrones (2011–2019)

TV-MA | 57 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Nine noble families fight for control over the mythical lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for thousands of years.

Stars: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey

Votes: 1,597,756

The series in it's entirety is a let down because the writers just failed to continue on what they had started, and there is absolutely nothing satisfying in the concluding Seasons. The best seasons are 4,3 followed by 1 then 2 and then 6. Season 5 was a disaster, and major turning point in the show's quality of writing. Season 5 followed by 7 and then the final season 8 are absolutely horrendous. However, 1-4 is too great for me to let the other half of the series undermine how amazing this show is.

3. True Detective (2014– )

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Seasonal anthology series in which police investigations unearth the personal and professional secrets of those involved, both within and outside the law.

Stars: Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch

Votes: 456,277

Here we have another show with only some of the seasons being good while others being drastically worse. Season 1 is a masterpiece, Season 3 is boring, and Season 2 is an absolute pile of garbage. The great thing is these Seasons are each their own story so you only have to watch Season 1. Consider this ranking pretty much only about Season 1.

4. Narcos (2015–2017)

TV-MA | 49 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

A chronicled look at the criminal exploits of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, as well as the many other drug kingpins who plagued the country through the years.

Stars: Pedro Pascal, Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook, Alberto Ammann

Votes: 308,166

A very cinematic portrayal of one of history's most dangerous drug lords. Season 1 was a fantastic introduction to the drug war in Colombia, and Season 2 got into even more intense events. Season 3 is not as good as the first two seasons, but still manages to be entertaining in it's own way.

5. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)

TV-PG | 51 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinarily astounding situations, which they each try to solve in a remarkable manner.

Stars: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor

Votes: 63,776

An amazing episodic series, with wholesome lessons, and mini stories. A true classic of television.

6. Chernobyl (2019)

TV-MA | 330 min | Drama, History, Thriller

In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics becomes one of the world's worst man-made catastrophes.

Stars: Jessie Buckley, Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Adam Nagaitis

Votes: 373,429

This show is very interesting, and it shows you not just about the events of Chernobyl, but how the Soviet Union had to manage the incident. A very eye-opening mini-series as to the cruelty that the people trying help in Chernobyl faced, and all the brave sacrifices made.

7. Mindhunter (2017– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Set in the late 1970s, two FBI agents are tasked with interviewing serial killers to solve open cases.

Stars: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv, Hannah Gross

Votes: 159,731

An intriguing, and somewhat terrifying in depth look at the early work of two FBI agents into the psychology of criminals, especially that of serial killers. The screenplay is ultra-realistic and quirky, which makes it unique and a nice break from all the heavily dramatized scenes you see in most shows.

8. Rome (2005–2007)

TV-MA | 90 min | Action, Drama, History

A down-to-earth account of the lives of both illustrious and ordinary Romans set in the last days of the Roman Republic.

Stars: Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker, Kerry Condon

Votes: 144,048

Probably the best series on Rome, and the rise of the Roman Empire. Very good acting, and dramatization is what makes this show amazing. The characters are well well developed and well portrayed.

9. The Boys (2019– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

A group of vigilantes set out to take down corrupt superheroes who abuse their superpowers.

Stars: Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty

Votes: 96,647

So far so good. This series has been exceptionally entertaining, and Season 2 will likely be as good. Imagine your favorite superheroes as being complete evil degenerates born from unnatural conditions that now the villains have become the good guys.

10. Vikings (2013– )

TV-MA | 44 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Vikings transports us to the brutal and mysterious world of Ragnar Lothbrok, a Viking warrior and farmer who yearns to explore - and raid - the distant shores across the ocean.

Stars: Gustaf Skarsgård, Katheryn Winnick, Alexander Ludwig, Travis Fimmel

Votes: 356,320

I'm a big fan of historical accuracy, and this show has absolutely only 1% of it. However, that shouldn't stop me or you from being able to enjoy it. Vikings is an entertaining show about bearded warriors pillaging both foreigners and themselves. The show starts of decently and gets much better in the Seasons with King Eckbert. However, it stops being as good or as entertaining when a certain important character leaves us.

11. The Night Of (2016)

TV-MA | 525 min | Crime, Drama

After a night of partying with a woman he picked up, a man wakes up to find her stabbed to death and is charged with her murder.

Stars: Riz Ahmed, John Turturro, Bill Camp, Amara Karan

Votes: 103,197

A short mini-series from HBO. It shows a lot about the justice system in New York City, and how awful the prison system can be. It's very well written apart from a minor flaw in the story that occurs oddly. The acting is phenomenal.

12. Supernatural (2005– )

TV-14 | 44 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Two brothers follow their father's footsteps as hunters, fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds, including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth.

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beaver, Misha Collins

Votes: 359,718

This show kind of has the same problem Game of Thrones does. Some great starter seasons, and then you get a complete flat line for the rest of them. Except Supernatural has a good supply of Seasons unlike Game of Thrones. Seasons 1-5 are pretty good, and after that the quality of the show begins to decay, and instead we get a bunch of weird possibly politically appealing direction choices. Basically everything from the Demon War to the Apocalypse is the prime of this show, and it's pretty entertaining stuff.

13. Arrow (2012– )

TV-14 | 42 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

Spoiled billionaire playboy Oliver Queen is missing and presumed dead when his yacht is lost at sea. He returns five years later a changed man, determined to clean up the city as a hooded vigilante armed with a bow.

Stars: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Susanna Thompson

Votes: 385,677

A worthwhile series especially the first few seasons. Arrow takes any moments that might seem a bit cliche or corny and just keeps driving with it virtually taking away the quirkiness of what Green Arrow does. An entertaining and well put together series.

14. Peaky Blinders (2013– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Crime, Drama

A gangster family epic set in 1919 Birmingham, England; centered on a gang who sew razor blades in the peaks of their caps, and their fierce boss Tommy Shelby.

Stars: Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson, Helen McCrory, Sophie Rundle

Votes: 233,093

It's a solid show with surprisingly good acting. The show for the most apart is a nice gang rivalry/ adventure story and it has it's moments. Cillian Murphy and his character really carry the show. There are moments in the plot where the consistency, timing and execution of a major turning point doesn't make sense. Also the way Ada just got in between the men with guns in the first seasonal felt too comical to be real. Season 2 and the beginning of Season 3 was probably the highlight of this show.

15. The Punisher (2017–2019)

TV-MA | 53 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

After the murder of his family, Marine veteran Frank Castle becomes the vigilante known as "The Punisher," with only one goal in mind: to avenge them.

Stars: Jon Bernthal, Amber Rose Revah, Ben Barnes, Jason R. Moore

Votes: 157,833

They actually managed to put up a nice spin on The Punisher and convert him into a workable live-action character. A lot of the conversations are interesting, it's nice to see this show visit the whole spectrum of modern political discussion and show all sides as being equally vulnerable to falsity. Both over-aggressiveness and over-gentleness are displayed as problematic. Downside to this show is lack of substance especially when it comes to the action. Sometimes the gore is appreciated and other times the plain onslaught of violence becomes kind of pointless.

16. Daredevil (2015–2018)

TV-MA | 54 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A blind lawyer by day, vigilante by night. Matt Murdock fights the crime of New York as Daredevil.

Stars: Charlie Cox, Vincent D'Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson

Votes: 337,277

While I've always found the concept of Daredevil's power ridiculous, this show still manages to make me respect him. The characterization in this is strong, and I think Daredevil is one of the best live-action comicbook superhero adaptations to date. Although it should be noted his origin is the the best part about this series. Not all characters are great, and some character moments will feel kind of strange. On the plus side this show is in that glorious Dolby Vision HDR format so it's visually impressive.

17. Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan (2018– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

An up-and-coming CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, is thrust into a dangerous field assignment as he uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the center of a dangerous gambit.

Stars: John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce, John Hoogenakker, Abbie Cornish

Votes: 56,388

A very decent story. The only problem I have with this show is that it just felt too much about the main antagonist of this show instead of about Jack Ryan solving everything. Hopefully Season 2 will focus on more action and problem solving with the international threats that the CIA faces.

18. Boardwalk Empire (2010–2014)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, History

An Atlantic City, A New Jersey politician plays both sides of the law, conspiring with gangsters during the Prohibition era.

Stars: Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham

Votes: 162,410

This show has a very slow progression because it takes time to delve into all the relevant and even some minor characters. It's probably a good thing it does that, but for me I prefer faster pacing and getting right to the important stuff in a story.

19. Westworld (2016– )

TV-MA | 62 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, explore a world in which every human appetite can be indulged without consequence.

Stars: Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Thandie Newton

Votes: 364,133

This shows Season 1 is solid, and manages to be intriguing. However, Season 2 comes in and steamrolls over it leaving any mysteries developed in Season 1 with either none or disappointing answers.

20. Altered Carbon (2018– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom.

Stars: Chris Conner, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy

Votes: 110,080

The acting, and the ending doesn't come together well. However, the world of Altered Carbon, and the background of our main character makes this series interesting. Season 2 might be a complete let down potentially, but Season 1 did okay. It's a visually stunning show, and worth the watch if you have time to spare

21. Cobra Kai (2018– )

TV-14 | 30 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

Decades after their 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament bout, a middle-aged Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence find themselves martial-arts rivals again.

Stars: Xolo Maridueña, Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Courtney Henggeler

Votes: 36,866

An amazing series that deals with a lot of modern day topics. Yes, some are political, but if you can tolerate a diversity of opinions then you can sit down and watch through it then decide if you can go with it or not. I barely remember the original movie this is based on, and yet I can still enjoy. It has some up close and personal emotional moments. And a lot of kickass moments too, not to forget.

22. Legion (2017–2019)

TV-MA | 60 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

David Haller is a troubled young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, but after a strange encounter, he discovers special powers that will change his life forever.

Stars: Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Irwin

Votes: 76,098

Sometimes this show has great moments, while other times it manages to be rather pointless. Overall this show manages to be good though, but it could try to be a bit more invested into the world it's building. You know, just the Marvel Comics/X-Men Foxverse.

23. 24 (2001–2010)

TV-14 | 44 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Jack Bauer, Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los Angeles, races against the clock to subvert terrorist plots and save his nation from ultimate disaster.

Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard, Dennis Haysbert

Votes: 164,609

This is without a doubt the most action-packed show I've seen, and that's not necessarily a good thing. This is show is purely about the action and about creating endless conflict after another. The formula for each season is always identical that it's practically become a meme. Still though this show is quite the entertainer.

24. The 100 (2014– )

TV-14 | 43 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Set ninety-seven years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, when a spaceship housing humanity's lone survivors sends one hundred juvenile delinquents back to Earth, in hopes of possibly re-populating the planet.

Stars: Eliza Taylor, Bob Morley, Marie Avgeropoulos, Isaiah Washington

Votes: 185,820

The first few seasons of this show were decent, but the plot got wilder as the seasons continued. Eventually the story became very mediocre and it continues on to be even worse. This show may just pull even more bizarre moments than 24.

25. Dexter (2006–2013)

TV-MA | 53 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

By day, mild-mannered Dexter is a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police. But at night, he is a serial killer who only targets other murderers.

Stars: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, James Remar

Votes: 608,761

While the concept of what Dexter does is somewhat ridiculous, it manages to be entertaining that it somewhat makes up for it. Most of the characters are not that well written, but their interactions are entertaining.

26. Criminal Minds (2005– )

TV-14 | 42 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The cases of the F.B.I. Behavioral Analysis Unit (B.A.U.), an elite group of profilers who analyze the nation's most dangerous serial killers and individual heinous crimes in an effort to anticipate their next moves before they strike again.

Stars: Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness, A.J. Cook, Joe Mantegna

Votes: 141,519

The first few seasons were interesting, but that's really all there is to Criminal Minds. Somewhat interesting episodes of predicting and catching mentally unstable killers, but the show in it's entirety is not that interesting. The loss of important characters overtime is another con of this show to consider.

27. The Defenders (2017)

TV-MA | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

Set a few months after the events of the second season of Daredevil, and a month after the events of Iron Fist, the vigilantes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up in New York City to fight a common enemy: The Hand.

Stars: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones

Votes: 79,954

Very short series, and also very mediocre. Character interactions could've been better as well as the actual plot itself. The series really needs to decide what level the Hand should be at. Are they destroyers of cities or people who get casually defeated by a bunch of mortals. Elektra's amp was kind of stupid.

28. American Gods (2017– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

A recently released ex-convict named Shadow meets a mysterious man who calls himself "Wednesday" and who knows more than he first seems to about Shadow's life and past.

Stars: Ricky Whittle, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Yetide Badaki

Votes: 65,713

The concept of this show sounds interesting, but the actual thing is not very entertaining. We're thrown with a bunch of filler and distractions that don't really help with the main plot. This show should've stayed more focused, and tried to think of more epic ways of allowing gods to clash. The gods don't clash in an epic fashion they just kind of show off things, but they deal with each other in rather boring ways.

29. Britannia (2017– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

In 43 AD, the Roman Army returns to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia.

Stars: Eleanor Worthington-Cox, David Morrissey, Kelly Reilly, Nikolaj Lie Kaas

Votes: 9,124

I found myself weirdly entertained by this show, but of course you can probably expect I find it to be a heaping pile of trash. The story is just strange, and not followed with enough consistency or explanations. The only thing enjoyable here is the scenery and the Romans beating everyone.

30. Gotham (2014–2019)

TV-14 | 42 min | Action, Crime, Drama

The story behind Detective James Gordon's rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman's arrival.

Stars: Ben McKenzie, Jada Pinkett Smith, Donal Logue, Camren Bicondova

Votes: 199,738

Maybe the first season was somewhat decent around a 7, but the rest of the show just ruins the pace at which you expect this show to go. There's too much happening, and none of it even works for the build-up towards Bruce Wayne being Batman. It's not following the canon story of Batman in the comicbooks, and it's doing it's own thing, and it's not very good at all.

31. Stranger Things (2016– )

TV-14 | 51 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying supernatural forces in order to get him back.

Stars: Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, David Harbour

Votes: 670,281

Absolute trash of a series. The first season is nowhere near as good as people hype it up to be. It's all mediocre at best and things only get worse in Season 2 and 3.

32. Lucifer (2015– )

TV-14 | 42 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

Lucifer Morningstar has decided he's had enough of being the dutiful servant in Hell and decides to spend some time on Earth to better understand humanity. He settles in Los Angeles - the City of Angels.

Stars: Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro, Lesley-Ann Brandt

Votes: 169,407

If you read the comic book Lucifer series that this is based off of you'd feel sorry for both Lucifers. This show manages to make one of the most powerful beings in the universe into an incompetent Nightclub owner who helps a police detective with her cases because he thinks she is attractive. I mean this series is a complete joke, and people buy into it because there's a smart-mouthed British guy.

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