Special Report

The Best TV Shows About War and Other Conflicts

War and other kinds of life-changing conflict have been television staples since the medium became a fixture in American homes in the 1950s.

To determine the best TV shows about war and conflict, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience ratings from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon. Television series and television mini-series dealing with war and other major conflicts were ranked based on IMDb user ratings as of February 2023. Only TV shows with at least 5,000 user votes were considered. In the case of a tie, the show with the greater number of user votes was ranked higher. Documentaries were excluded.

Among the subjects dealt with in these shows is World War II. “Band of Brothers,” which first aired in 2001, and its companion piece, “The Pacific,” airing nine years later, depicted combat at ground level in the European and Pacific theaters of war, respectively. “Das Boot,” a limited series about life on a German submarine in World War II, was spun off from the Oscar-nominated movie of the same name, in turn based on a 1973 novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. (See this ranking of the best war movies of all time.)

Some recent series about espionage spotlighted the part spies played in the American Revolution in “TURN: Washington’s Spies” and in the Cold War in “The Americans,” both based on real-life characters. (These are the best TV spy shows of all time.)

Click here to see the best TV shows about war and other conflicts

Adrenalin-pumping series about special forces are represented by “The Unit,” about a covert team based on America’s Delta Force; “Fauda,” which follows an elite Israeli tactical unit; “SAS Rogue Heroes,” about the creation of the British Army Special Air Service (SAS); and “Strike Back,” which dramatizes the activities of a secret British military intelligence group

Not all series are fraught with tension. For comic relief from the grim reality of war, our list includes the British comedies “Allo, Allo!” and “Blackadder Goes Forth,” and the legendary American anti-war dramedy “M*A*S*H.”

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