10 Amazing TV Action Set-Pieces That Rivalled Cinema

When the small screen goes BIG.

Spartacus Fight

In this day-and-age of Peak TV, audiences are getting used to high budgets and strong quality on their small screen. With that said, it doesn't matter what heights the latest HBO production can hit, there will always be a divide between the spectacle that can be achieved in an action scene with your latest Star Wars movie compared to whatever Netflix original you're streaming at home.

The money pumped into the TV medium just can't match what is achieved on the big screen on most occasions. Certainly, the line is becoming progressively blurred compared to the tube's early days, or even just a couple of decades back to the 90s - but there still is a divide.

On numerous occasions though, that has all changed. TV has less to work with yet if fuelled with passion, determination and a dose of creativity, there have been moments where a small-screen action set-piece has equalled or even clearly surpassed your average Hollywood blockbuster.

This list isn't just looking to chart great set-pieces that have flashed across the TV screen though, it looks to distil the top tier occasions when what you were watching defied expectations and bounded above the looming shadow of the celluloid screen.

10. Altered Carbon - Turret Vs Mercs

Spartacus Fight

This high-budget Netflix Sci-Fi show got a decidedly divisive reception when released yet one area no one can argue it was lacking, was with its slickly constructed action scenes.

So if picking a specific one for this list, let’s go with the first and most memorable; a showdown between Joel Kinnaman’s ex-con (accompanied by an Android version of Edgar Allen Poe) against a lobby full of tough mercenaries.

Up until that point, the show had been coasting as Blade Runner-lite, then a surprise gun turret pops out and vaporises these thugs to a degree that Paul Verhoeven would do an enthused backflip - all whilst Kinnaman takes them out in satisfying slow-motion hand-to-hand combat.

It was an impressive display of cinematic verve that established this show's own inventively unique (and very violent) identity going forward.


is a freelance writer that loves ingesting TV shows, Video Games, Comics, and all walks of Movies, from schmaltzy Oscar bait to Kung-Fu cult cinema...actually, more the latter really.