Bored with blah drama shows? Tired of not-that-funny comedies? Not buying into scripted “reality” series? Stream any of these action shows and get your heart rate bouncing like a basketball in an NBA game! Adrenaline and entertainment, thy name art action shows, like…
Action series on Showmax
When a German bank is hacked, a cybercrime investigator is sent to the place where the hack seemed to have originated. This happens to be her hometown, where she’ll come face to face with her family’s murky past.
A young working-class woman saves her life from a downward spiral by joining the British Army. In the third season, she’s a corporal dispatched to Nepal, where she and her section discover a Taliban trafficking ring.
Ex-spy Max Easton is forced out of retirement to do one more job for the Secret Service. But the mission becomes complicated thanks to the involvement of his son.
Ray Donovan is a professional fixer. Whenever a superstar, politician or high-profile businessman is faced with a problem, they turn to Ray to make it disappear, using whatever measures he deems necessary.
An all-star cast including Regina King, Don Johnson and Jeremy Irons leads this adaptation of the DC graphic novel. The series is set in an alternate history where superheroes and villains are outlawed.
In this spin-off of Sons of Anarchy, a once-promising young Mexican-American man is driven to become a member of the Mayans motorcycle gang by his desire for vengeance.
Deon Meyer’s thrilling novel comes to life in this tense series that follows several interwoven storylines. South Africa’s top spooks have to put everything on the line to stop a potential terrorist attack; a bodyguard for hire wonders if he’s got in too deep when he has to find out what’s really behind his latest job; a shady archeologist is mixed up with some serious criminals; and a mysterious master tracker with a dark past has some suspicious plans.
Set in San Francisco in the late 1800s, the action builds around the arrival of Chinese immigrants to the US. The cast includes Andrew Koji as martial arts prodigy Ah Sahm, Olivia Cheng as striking courtesan Ah Toy and South African Langley Kirkwood as the war-mongering deputy mayor. Cape Town played host to the cast, crew and set for nearly two years as Season 1 and 2 were filmed at the Cape Town Film Studios. New episodes arrive every Friday on both Showmax and DStv Now, with the finale arriving on 5 September.
Soldiers of fortune, mount up! This is based on the bestselling novel of the same name written by real-life ex SAS special armed forces soldier Chris Ryan, and follows newly reactivated SAS warrior John Porter and his team of operatives who conduct top-secret missions for the secretive Section 20 organisation. Making things cooler is that just about every season is partially filmed in South Africa.
It’s brutal and bloody and filled with gratuitous violence and anger and sex. A convict (we never learn his real name) is released from prison after 15 years in the slammer and sets out for revenge by posing as the sheriff he murders on the way to a small town where he finds more than just the man who put him in prison. Blink and you’ll miss something actioney.
This one is also based on a movie (1975’s Three Days Of The Condor) but it’s super-fast and filled with action. CIA analyst Joe Turner (Jeremy Irons’ son Max) goes on the run after his team are gunned down in their top-secret research office. While Joe’s fleeing his deadly-but-gorgeous assassin Joubert (Leem Lubany), he doesn’t realise who actually wants him dead…
Six US Navy SEALs go on a mission to save one of their own in this eight-part drama based on true events. When an ex-SEAL, now a private security contractor, is kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, his former team members decide to find and rescue him. It’s not so straightforward, however, as they find out some unsavoury truths about the soldier. Things are further complicated when they discover that one of the terrorists holding him is a US citizen.
How about some action movies?
Action series on Amazon Prime
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan S1-2
John Krasinski is the goofy guy next door in his comedy movies and films but in this series, phwoar! He’s out-and-out kick-ass as ex-Marine-turned-CIA analyst Jack Ryan who’s taken from his desk job and dropped into a Middle Eastern war zone after he discovers traces of a terror cell who’re preparing for war.
Hawaii Five-O S1-9
It’s one of the best reboots we’ve seen and that’s because it keeps the core elements that made the original series popular in the 70s: buddy cops Steve and Dano; location location location – it’s really filmed in Hawaii; and the episodic cases are entertaining while the series-long arc (Steve searching for his parents’ killers) keeps you wondering where the next twist will come in. It’s cheesy when it needs to be but packs a punch!
You can’t have a group of action shows without a genuine cowboy rustling up some vermin in the okay-coral. And that’s what you get in US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant, who played the hitman in the movie adaptation of the Hitman videogame). He’s a rootin’, tootin’, gun-slinging lawman whose morals make him the perfect hero.
The Shield S1-7
Okay, so Michael Chiklis doesn’t look like your typical action star from the outside – he’s bald, tubby and has a friendly smile. But as corrupt and violent LAPD detective Vic Mackey, he’s a whole different monster. He’s aggressive, he’s unruly, he’s unrepentant and most of all, he’s more of a criminal than the guys he’s throwing behind bars.
Tropical Heat S1-3
Retired DEA agent Nick Slaughter thought he was going to have fun in the sun when he moved to Key Mariah, Florida. But his quiet little PI business is busier than ever. But that’s okay because in-between cases, Nick is bumming it at his pal Spider’s beach bar sipping on cocktails while ogling babes in bikinis. Keep an eye out in Season 3 – it was mostly filmed in Pretoria, with the beach scenes shot in Mauritius.
The Boys S1
“I’m a superhero, and I can do whatever the f**k I want,” says Homelander, leader of The Seven, and the most powerful superhero in existence. He may also be the most conceited. And that’s exactly why The Boys can’t let him and his super-power wielding compatriots continue unchecked. In this razor-sharp black comedy created by lifelong friends Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express) and Seth Rogen (same, same and The Preacher – another equally dark and gory fantasy series), the “supes” get their comeuppance at the hands of the humans they’ve wronged in the course of their heroic deeds.
Action series on Netflix
Money Heist S1-4
In this Spanish-language miniseries (with English subtitles), a gang of thieves rob the Spanish Royal Mint of millions and the only way they and their hostages are getting out alive is if the police listen to their boss’s orders… whether they realise they’re doing it or not.
Pearl Thusi stars in Netflix’s first African original series as a bad-ass special agent who has to tackle the most dangerous case of her life. Expect lots of action and beautiful cinematography as Queen Sono travels through 37 beautiful locations including Zanzibar, Kenya and of course Johannesburg, where the fictitious government organisation South African Agency (SOG) is based. Director Kagiso Lediga (Matwetwe – now on Showmax) is behind the camera and you’ll see lots of familiar South African faces in the cast including Chiedze Mhende, Loyiso Madinga, and Rob van Vuuren.
The Punisher S1-2
Read the comics? Now live the glory of vengeful vigilante ex-cop Frank Castle who murders, tortures, blackmails and cripples bad guys. His quest? To save the city and find the people who murdered his wife and children. Jon Bernthal is unsettlingly brilliant as troubled Frank/The Punisher and makes his shady character Shane in zombie series The Walking Dead look like a choir boy. It’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer by day and a crime-busting superhero dressed in red leather by night. His religious beliefs and catholic faith hang over every decision he makes as a man, but when that horned red mask is pulled on, watch out – an ass-kicking is on the way. It’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Luke Cage S1-2
Good-guy Luke Cage was once a very bad man and a criminal. But then he walked into a science experiment that gave him super-human strength and unbreakable skin. Like so many other anti-heroes, Luke doesn’t want fame. He just wants to clear his name and live a quiet life. Pity those nasty bad guys won’t give him any peace. Also part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
You can’t be an action hero without some type of military training and redneck-named Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe) has a lot of that. He’s a decorated elite ops Marine and record-breaking sniper in the armed forces. But hey, why should he have a peaceful retirement when a terror cell would rather try to kill his President and get on Bob Lee’s bad side? They won’t even see the bullet until it hits them right between the eyes.
Sometimes you need a bit of light-hearted humour to go with your action. And they don’t come cheesier than this as DEA agent Tony Bravo is sent undercover by the CIA to find a global threat hiding in plain sight at a soccer club. His cover story is a whole lot less undercover though: he’s the newest star signing by the LA Riot football team – Tony “Matador” Bravo. Cheesy but so much fun when you’re looking for a light action show and quick entertainment.
Action series on DStv Now
Killing Eve stars Golden Globe, SAG and Critics’ Choice Award winner Sandra Oh, well known for her leading role in Grey’s Anatomy, and Emmy and BAFTA winner Jodie Comer. Nominated for the Best Drama Television series at the Golden Globe Awards two years in a row, the broadcast of Season 1 will lead directly into the second and third seasons of this gripping production on DStv Now.
The dark superhero series is now in its highly rated final season. The critics’ consensus on Rotten Tomatoes says, “Oliver Queen’s final adventure hits emotional peaks while spearheading the game-changing Crisis on Infinite Earths, giving the Emerald Archer a rousing sendoff”, and gives it 91%.
In this dark and slick crime drama, Carla Gugino stars as Jett, a world-class master thief, who is freshly out of prison. She plans to go straight until she’s convinced (read: forced) by a group of criminal master minds to pull off one last heist – to steal a ring from an Eastern European crime overlord living in Cuba.
This Ryan Murphy series follows the lives of the first responders in Los Angeles – the firefighters, the paramedics, dispatchers and police officers. Angela Bassett and Peter Krause star.
The third season of the spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy is now streaming, following the daily lives of the men and women working in a firehouse in Seattle. Season 1 is also on Showmax.
The SVU squad does what it takes to save the lives of the vulnerable, from children caught in a human trafficking ring to tourists being drugged and assaulted, in this acclaimed anthology crime drama. The latest season guest stars Ian McShane as a high-profile mogul who thinks he’s can get away with anything.
Portland, Oregon, is nicknamed Stumptown, and it’s home to Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders), a military veteran who’s now hung up the uniform and uses her sharp investigative and evasion skills as the city’s only private investigator. The Observer said, “Mostly what struck me about Stumptown … was how fun it was to watch, from the chase sequences to the music to the chemistry between characters.”
While Pride fights for his life in the ICU, the team scours the city for the hit woman who attempted to assassinate him in the fifth season of the crime drama.