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12 Best War TV Shows of All Time

October 28, 2017
7 min read

There are many TV shows depicting wars and consequences related to it. While war-based and military based TV shows may not be as popular as war movies — probably because watching too much of war on-screen can get weary after some time — we still have plenty to choose from. With that said, here is the list of top war based TV series ever made. The list consists of World War I and World War 2 TV shows as well. There are also shows based on Vietnam war on the list. You can watch several of these best War shows on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

12. Band of Brothers (2011)

‘Band of Brothers’ is an American war drama miniseries based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose’s 1992 non-fiction book of the same name. ‘Band of Brothers’ is a dramatized account of ‘East Company’, assigned to the United States Army’s 101st Airborne Division during World War 2. In the ten episodes of its running, the series details the company’s exploits during the war. It has a large ensemble cast, but each episode focuses mainly on a single character. In addition to it, this miniseries was produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

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11. The Pacific (2010)

This epic American war miniseries comes from the producers of ‘Band of Brothers’, i.e. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Released in 2010, ‘The Pacific’ features the 1st Marine Division’s battles in the Pacific, as well as Basilone’s involvement in the Battle of Iwo Jima. This miniseries of 10 episodes was received well by critics. Time magazine named it one of the Top 10 TV Series of 2010. It even won a Peabody Award in 2010, saying “this series reminds us of the necessities—and the costs—of service.

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10. Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1971)

‘Hogan’s Heroes’ is an American television sitcom during World War 2, set in a German prisoner of war camp. It included 168 episodes from September 17, 1965, to April 4, 1971. It is one of the most diverse war series of all time. The series spans several seasons, it won two Emmy Awards out of total twelve nominations.

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9. Generation Kill (2008)

‘Generation Kill’ is an American seven-part miniseries produced by HBO which aired from July 13 to August 24, 2008. Based on the 2004 book of the same name by Evan Wright, it depicts his experience as a reporter with the United States Marine Corps’ 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. ‘Generation Kill’ was nominated for 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning three in 2009 in miniseries categories. It mostly received very good ratings by the critics and the audience alike.

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8. Vikings (2013-)

A historical drama series, ‘Vikings’ follows the sagas of Viking legend Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best known Norse heroes and famed as the oppressor of England and France. Vikings follow the story of Ragnar, who worked as a farmer, and then became the most renowned King in the history of Vikings. Travis Fimmel who plays the protagonist Ragnar Lothbrok is breath-taking in his role, you fall in love with the chaos and destruction he brings as he raids the England and many other places. It also follows the story of his sons, but Ragnar is who carries this TV show.

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7. Tour of Duty (1987-1990)

‘Tour of Duty’ is an American television war series based on events in the Vietnam War. It ran for three seasons, from September 1987 to April 1990, for a total of 58 one-hour episodes. It was the first war series where they regularly showcased the battles of Americans in Vietnam. Not only the war but is perfectly depicted the issues related to teamwork, racism, sexuality and drug abuse. ‘Tour of Duty’ is one of the most original war series ever produced.

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6. The Rat Patrol (1966-1968)

‘The Rat Patrol’ is an American action series that aired between 1966 and 1968. It portrays the exploits of four Allied soldiers-three Americans and one Englishman-during World War 2, who is part of a desert patrol group. It featured fifty-eight 30-minutes episodes, the first season was filmed in Almeria, Spain, with the remaining of it in the United States. ‘The Rat Patrol’ has an amazing sound work, one of the very best, which includes the likes of ‘Tour of Duty’.

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5. China Beach (1988-1991)

‘China Beach’ is set at an evacuation hospital center during the Vietnam War. Nurse Colleen McMurphy is the main character, who deals with the patients and other staff at the South China Seabase. ‘China Beach’ was critically lauded, it featured four seasons, putting the final one on hiatus and did not air its finale. Critics have mixed feelings on how to rate this TV show, but it definitely did good for a TV show shot decades ago with obvious hurdles.

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4. Our Girl (2013-)

‘Our Girl’ is a British television drama, which stars Lacey Turner as Molly Dawes(in the first series) as an adult from a middle-class family who joins the British Army after being in a state of oblivion, that her life is going nowhere. It shows her decision to join the army, despite the protests of her family. ‘Our Girl’ is in its fourth season and going well.

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3. War and Remembrance (1988-1989)

War and Remembrance is an American miniseries based on the novel of the same name written by Herman Wouk, which aired from November 13, 1988, to May 14, 1989. It depicts the trials of the Henry and the Jastrow families amidst the events after the U.S.’s entry into World War II. It is the sequel to The Winds of War. ‘War and Remembrance’ received 15 Emmy Award nominations and won for the best miniseries. It was made on a large-scale, with over 30,000 extras in Europe and around 11,000 in the United States.

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2. Turn: Washington’s Spies (2014-2017)

An American period drama television series based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring(2007), ‘Turn: Washington’s Spies’ aired for four seasons, from April 6, 2014, to August 12, 2017. It takes place from 1776 to 1781, in New York, where a farmer and his friends from childhood form an atypical group of spies which eventually turns the tide during American Revolutionary War. ‘Turn: Washington’s Spies’ is as real as it gets, undoubtedly one of the best TV show of this genre.

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1. The World at War (1973-1976)

‘The World at War’ is a 26-episode British television documentary series portraying the events of the Second World War. It had a budget of 900,000 pounds, making it the most expensive factual series ever made. It features interviews with major members of the Allied and Axis campaigns. In a list of 100 Greatest British Television Programmes compiled by the British Film Institute during 2000, ‘The World at War’ ranked 19th. There aren’t many TV shows of this genre that have been made on such humongous budget.

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