The best action series on Netflix includes a strong mix of originals and shows brought over from network television. These are award-winning crime dramas, action-packed adventure series, and everything in between. Because this is Netflix, it also includes a nice mix of U.S. action shows and several from abroad. While Netflix likes to tout its award-winning dramas, the streaming giant has something for everyone and a great mix of action series for all tastes.
With tons of new series being released this year, as well as plenty of older, beloved series being made available on the streaming service, it’s no wonder that Netflix is the world’s most popular streaming service with over 223 million subscribers as of the third quarter of 2022. In addition, Netflix’s original programming provides viewers with quality shows that they cannot find anywhere else. This has made it possible for fans of any genre to find programming to suit their tastes, including those who are looking for high-impact action sequences with plenty of thrills and spills.
Squid Game (2021– )
Squid Game was the surprise hit of 2021. The South Korean survival series became one of the best action series on Netflix for the year and ended up picking up several awards, including at the Golden Globes. The show is similar to the movie Battle Royale, but with kids’ games instead of deadly games. However, even those kids’ games on Squid Game end in death for people not skilled enough to win them. The series first season had nine episodes and ended with the hero turning around to go right back into the game to bring it to the ground. Netflix renewed Squid Game for a second season, which should air in either 2023 or early 2024.
Alice In Borderland (2020– )
Alice in Borderland is a series that shares a lot in common with Squid Game. However, instead of the impoverished playing kids games to the death, Alice in Borderland has people sucked into actual games of survival, with no idea of how they got there or even if the world they are in is real. One of the best action series on Netflix, Alice in Borderland had its second season air in 2022, with the story becoming even more twisted. Beloved characters died, and the hapless Ryōhei finally reached his end game, but it wasn’t exactly what he or the viewers were expecting.
Into The Badlands (2015–2019)
Into the Badlands was an exciting series that originally aired on AMC. The show starred Daniel Wu as Sunny, a “clipper” for a powerful baron in the Badlands. This was a post-apocalyptic world where Barons ruled over large parts of the country and guns were absent. What resulted was a futuristic samurai-styled story, with men like Sunny as a master of blades. However, when he finds his Baron betrays him, Sunny sets out to aid a mysterious boy named M.K. who had powers deep inside him. They ended up joined by several other characters (including one played by genre favorite Nick Frost) and the show lasted three seasons, with all 32 episodes on Netflix.
All Of Us Are Dead (2022– )
Released in 2022, All of Us Are Dead is the latest in the line of zombie shows, but it took a very different slant to the tired genre. The show started off in a school and followed students as they tried to escape the zombie apocalypse and help others. However, as with all zombie fiction, there were also characters who just got in the way of survival. However, there was also something different in this zombie series. These undead creatures seemed not only different from other shows, but the zombies in All of Us Are Dead were mostly teenagers, and survivors have to run for their lives from their former friends and classmates. There is also the fact that the final scene made it look like they could end up reverting back to humans. This could be huge since the show was renewed for a second season.
Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
When a high school teacher realizes he’s dying from cancer, he turns his life around and tries to provide for his family before he leaves this world for good. Walter White turns to his former student Jesse Pinkman and starts cooking meth. The series is action-packed and full of extremely iconic moments. Whether it’s the intense shoot-outs, sudden getaways, or even some of the smaller conflicts that arise, this is one of the best action series on Netflix for edge-of-the-seat action. The entire journey of Walter White on Breaking Bad was one that all action series fans need to follow. The series has five seasons and 62 episodes, all available to watch on Netflix. Also, available on the streaming service are the prequel series Better Call Saul and a spinoff movie, El Camino.
Peaky Blinders (2013-2022)
The British period drama Peaky Blinders centers around the incredible power of criminal organizations during the early 20th century. Scores are settled through guns and violence on these mean English streets. There’s never been a series of fist fights put to TV quite as gritty as those throughout this action series on Netflix and few period dramas manage to combine historical intrigue and a lot of action set pieces. What really sells all this conflict is the depth of characters, however. With Cillian Murphy leading the way as Tommy Shelby, the cast rises to the occasion time and time again, winning several awards throughout Peaky Blinders’ six seasons. Every season is on Netflix, so fans can binge-watch the series from start to finish.
The Umbrella Academy (2019-)
The Umbrella Academy told the story of a group of super-powered kids born on the same day, adopted by an eccentric genius, and trained to be superheroes. However, the story for the show itself started when they were adults, all messed up from their damaged childhood and trying to find their place in the world. Unfortunately for them, that includes failing to stop the apocalypse. The fact that was just the first season shows why this action series on Netflix is a must-watch. The second and third seasons of The Umbrella Academy saw the characters thrown around time and ending up on alternate versions of Earth, with the apocalypse still closing in again and again. There will be a final fourth season of the series airing in 2023 that promises to up the action even more.
Altered Carbon (2018-2020)
The first season of this Netflix original series managed to outline the general premise of this science fiction world. Humans could continue to survive as their consciousness is passed from body to body. This makes a traditional murder investigation even more complex. With the lead character changing for the second season of Altered Carbon, the sci-fi nature of the action sequences was upped and there was even more for fans to get their teeth stuck into. There are some incredibly breathtaking stunts throughout this show and brilliant fight choreography. However, largely thanks to the high cost of production, Netflix ended Altered Carbon after two seasons and 18 episodes.
The Witcher (2019- )
With mythical fights between a monster hunter and the magical creatures he slays, The Witcher managed to stand out against many of the best action series on Netflix. The original series based on best-selling books and video games, follow Geralt of Rivia, a lone warrior who carries out the contractual killing of a number of magical beasts. The first two seasons of The Witcher bounced around time and told a complex, yet fascinating story of Gerat, the sorceress Tennefer, and the Crown Princess Ciri of Cintra. However, the third season of The Witcher, arriving in 2023, will be the last for Henry Cavill in the role of Geralt. The series will continue on with Liam Hemsworth replacing Cavill, while two spinoffs to the series have also arrived on Netflix.
Queen Of The South (2016-2021)
This heart-racing thriller follows Teresa Mendoza (played by Alice Braga), a young Mexican woman on the run after her drug-running boyfriend was killed by a notorious cartel. While focusing on Teresa’s efforts to avenge her lover’s murder, this series also documents Teresa’s rise from a struggling money changer on the streets of Sinaloa to the queen of her own empire. With a fast-paced plot and plenty of action in exotic locations such as Bolivia, Malta, Mexico, Texas, and Arizona, fans of detailed storylines and unexpected plot twists will love this series. Queen of the South‘s five seasons are currently available on Netflix, so subscribers can watch the journey from the beginning to the end on the streaming service.
Fauda (2015- )
One of the most groundbreaking foreign-language action series on Netflix sees a group of Israeli undercover operatives engage in covert missions in the West Bank; tracking down dangerous militants such as the notorious Abu Ahmad. This series has received widespread praise, particularly for its sincere portrayal of both its Israeli and Palestinian characters as well as their trials and tribulations. What really makes this one of the best action series on Netflix is that its white-knuckle action is tempered by a look at the private lives of the Palestinians. There is a lot more to this foreign-language series than just the gunfights.
When Heroes Fly (2018- )
When Heroes Fly is a non-English language series following four war veterans who reunite years after the conflict that they served in to try to find a woman they all believed was dead; namely the sister of one of them and the former girlfriend of another. This discovery leads them to the jungles of Columbia, where they must confront the traumas of their past and band together in order to find this woman and return her to safety. The series was critically acclaimed, as well, winning the Best Series award at the Cannes Series Awards in 2018. For those looking for good Apple TV series, there was an American remake called Echo 3 that arrived in late 2022 with US Army Delta Force operators replacing the IDF veterans. However, the original is very much worth checking out.
The Last Kingdom (2015-2022)
Anyone looking to be transported back hundreds of years to a time of knights in shining armor, wars that were fought with axes and spears, and hordes of ferocious Viking invaders, should look no further than The Last Kingdom. This series follows the adventures of Uhtred, a Saxon man whose family was killed and village sacked by Danish forces, and who was subsequently adopted by a highly-respected Danish warrior. This is one of the best action series on Netflix for anyone who enjoys a fictional story with historical roots, realistic and intense violence, and subtle displays of romance along the way. The Last Kingdom is a medieval British TV series that lasted for five seasons with 46 episodes to keep anyone glued to Netflix for hours on end.
Supernatural ended up as one of the longest-running shows on TV, and it never seemed to slow down. This could be due to the heartfelt relationship between protagonists and brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, the array of intriguing encounters with monsters and human guest stars, or riveting storylines such as Castiel’s brief defection to the dark side. A hit with fans of fantasy and action alike, Supernatural remains one of the best action series on Netflix, with all 15 seasons available to stream as Sam and Dean battle the most powerful Supernatural creatures. The show also led the way for a spin-off prequel series about Sam and Dean’s parents called The Winchesters, although that is not yet on the streaming giant. Despite that, there is still a lot of binge-worthy content.
Bodyguard sees Richard Madden deliver a convincing performance as elite bodyguard David Budd, who is assigned to protect Home Secretary Julia Montague, a controversial political figure whose life is in danger due to a devious plot. While often finding himself at odds with Montague, Budd also struggles with the PTSD that he suffers as a result of his military service in Afghanistan. While only six episodes long, Bodyguard‘s first season will deliver a pleasurable viewing experience for those who enjoy the best action series on Netflix. It exceeds at dealing with content such as government abuse of power for the sake of national security, the struggles of coping with PTSD, and conspiracies of terror.
Money Heist [La Casa De Papel] (2017-2021)
Foreign-language television series seem to get an exceptionally warm reception on Netflix, and this one is no different. One of the best action series on Netflix, this Spanish-language psychological thriller revolves around Tokyo, a young woman with a proven record for pulling off bank heists, as well as seven other robbers, all of whom have been recruited by one man to pull off the largest heist in history. The mastermind of this heist, known simply as The Professor, conceived this idea with one goal in mind; to take control of the National Coinage and Stamp Factory of Spain and print out 2.4 billion Euros in cash. Each episode is filled with suspense and stunning plot twists, as this group of bandits interact with hostages in the factory, police, media, and other members of the outside world.
Those with an affinity to historical thrillers (with events so compelling they don’t need to be fictionalized for TV) will fall in love with this series. Based on the rise of infamous drug kingpins along with the Cali Cartel and the Mexican Guadalajara cartel, this show follows DEA Agents who went behind enemy lines in an effort to win the war on drugs. It won several awards as one of the best action series on Netflix. No less than The Mandalorian himself, Pedro Pascal, narrated the third season of the series. The original Narcos series, which was based on events in Columbia and ran for three seasons, was so popular that a spinoff, Narcos: Mexico, was released a year later to the delight of its loyal fans.