Thanks to television’s exponential growth in scale, it’s entertainment offerings have begun to outshine even movies. This is especially true in the action genre, where the complicated and impressive fight scenes once reserved for big-budget films have found a second home on the small screen. TV shows have upped their game when it comes to action, giving viewers choreography of such high quality and intensity that they’ll opt to skip a night out at the movies. Here are seven TV fight scenes guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping.
Daredevil — Hallway Fight
Choosing the best fight scene from Daredevil is like trying to pick your favourite candy, too many tasty options come to mind. So, the easiest thing to do is go back to the beginning and choose the one that started it all. No one knew what Daredevil Season 1 was going to offer fans action wise, but all that changed with an intense one-shot fight scene in a hallway.
When Daredevil stepped into that hallway to take on a group of Russian gangsters, the result was jaw-dropping. The Marvel series not only gave us a fast, brutal, and messy fight with seamless choreography, stunts, and camera work; it also brought something new to the table — exhaustion. Both Daredevil and the bad guys actually get tired and have to catch their breaths. It’s such a tiny detail, but it added a high dose of realism to the fight, and set the bar high for future episodes of Daredevil.
Preacher — Hotel Fight
A preacher and three angels walk into a motel room. What sounds like the start of a bad joke is actually the beginning of a wild fight from Preacher Season 1. Jesse Custer and angels Fiore and DeBlanc must fend off Susan, the seraphim angel. But there’s one problem: You can’t kill an angel. They simply abandon their old body and return in a regenerated one.
This Doctor Who-like loophole causes pure chaos once the fight gets going as bodies begin to — literally — pile up. The moving camera strategically adds to the intensity of the scene by offering viewers only brief glimpses of the carnage and making use of quick cuts and clever tricks like filming through the bullet holes in the walls. This incredibly dark and quirky fight is guaranteed to be unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Game of Thrones — Jon Snow vs White Walker
Just hearing about a White Walker is enough to send a chill down most our spines. So, when Jon Snow takes on one of these deadly creatures in Season 5, the end result proves why he deserves the Iron Throne. In the episode “Hardhome,” Jon Snow is busy trying to save the wildlings when the White Walkers launch a surprise attack that forces Jon and everyone else to fight for their lives.
Jon goes toe to toe with the physically superior White Walker, using both his swords and fists to defeat it. Seriously, he punches a White Walker. It’s also during this battle that Jon learns his sword, Longclaw, can hurt White Walkers, which will come in handy. This fight proves Jon Snow does know one thing — he can kick Walker butt. Someone get that man a foot rub, a Gatorade, and a seat on the Iron Throne.
Banshee — Nola vs Burton
Like Daredevil, Banshee has so many winning fight scenes that it’s difficult to choose just one. But there’s one fight that clearly stands above the rest — Season 3’s showdown between Burton and Nola. Seeking revenge for her cousin’s death, Nola comes across Burton and refuses to let him stand in her way.
This leads the two to a vicious encounter complete with hand-to-hand combat and makeshift weapons made out of parts from a nearby car. The action moves seamlessly, starting from outside the car before moving inside and back out again, resulting in a technically impressive fight scene on par with what you would expect from a blockbuster movie.
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena — Blindfold Fight
It’s not easy being a gladiator, especially with that whole fighting to the death thing. The only thing worse than fighting to the death is doing so while blindfolded — and that’s precisely what happens in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. In this epic fight, Gannicus takes on an opponent in a bloody street fight using all the skills he has at his disposal, minus his sight.
But he isn’t simply reduced to the likes of a cornered animal swiping violently at an opponent he can’t see. Gannicus calms himself and uses his hearing and gladiator training to combat his opponent. He dodges, attacks, and tries to disarm his attacker to even the odds. Naturally, he doesn’t walk away perfectly unscathed, but he gruesomely defeats his opponent, proving you can win with your eyes closed.
Battlestar Galactica — Boxing Match
Sometimes the best way to solve a problem isn’t by talking it out but by throwing a few punches. Season 3, Episode 9 of Battlestar Galactica sees the characters do exactly that. When you spend three seasons fighting for humanity’s survival while stuck n a spaceship, it’s no surprise when tensions flare and issues arise between crewmates.
Instead of letting things fester, the crew decides to hold a boxing tournament. Everyone puts their dog tags in, and when a tag is chosen, that person gets to choose their opponent. Highlights from the tournament include Adama vs Tyrol and Starbuck vs Apollo. The boxing matches were a genius way to advance the plot and quite cathartic for the characters and viewers alike. It’s not often that you get meaningful characters arcs out of a few rounds in the ring.
Hannibal — Jack Crawford vs Hannibal
Hannibal is first and foremost a psychological show. So, when the creators decided to surprise fans in Season 2 by adding a fight scene to its premiere episodes, it proved the show still has some clever tricks up its sleeve. The fight, a flash forward to the end of the season, shows Special Agent Jack Crawford losing his cool and trying to take down Hannibal by force.
But Hannibal knows how to handle himself in a fight. The two trade blows in a vicious kitchen brawl where suit ties become weapons, cutting boards become shields against knife attacks, and salt shakers become skull crackers. It’s unexpected, bloody, and savage, but Hannibal should’ve known better, that’s what happens when you tick off a guy who was Morpheus in another life.