Top 10 Epic Television Battles

Written by Alex Slade It all comes down to this. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Epic Television Battles. For this list, we’ll be taking a look at those battles in television that have tremendously high stakes and are grand in either scale or style. We’re only considering live action television shows, so battles like Darth Vader vs. Ahsoka in Star Wars Rebels will have to wait. Be warned, spoilers abound. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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It all comes down to this. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Epic Television Battles.

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at those battles in television that have tremendously high stakes and are grand in either scale or style. We’re only considering live action television shows, so battles like Darth Vader vs. Ahsoka in Star Wars Rebels will have to wait. Be warned, spoilers abound.

#10: Battle at the Hellmouth
“Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)


Thanks to creator Joss Whedon and a host of likable characters, the entire Buffy series is an entertaining watch from start to finish. In the series finale however, Buffy and company face odds, the likes of which they’ve never encountered before… and rise to the occasion anyway. Then again, having come back from the dead not once but twice, Buffy’s badass credentials were never in question. Although they come out on top, victory comes at a great price. Sunnydale is destroyed, and a fan favorite character is killed. But seeing Buffy and the potentials duke it out with Ubervamps is an unforgettable sight to behold.

#9: To’hajiilee
“Breaking Bad” (2008-13)


We knew it was gonna happen eventually, and we’re sure Walter was aware that his actions would catch up with him sooner or later too. But when it all finally came crashing down... it was shocking nonetheless. Walter is caught by his brother-in-law, Hank, but Jack’s crew arrives to carry out the hit placed on Jesse, ignoring Walt’s cancellation request. With both parties at each other’s throats, and Walt doing his best to defuse the situation, the bullets inevitably begin to fly. Much to Walt’s—and the viewers’—dismay, Hank is executed. The shootout is thrilling, but it’s Hank’s final words of wisdom that really bring a sense of gravitas to the exchange.

#8: Siege of Paris
“Vikings” (2013-)


A battle taking place over three episodes is huge. But considering the fact that Paris was at stake, anything less wouldn’t have done it justice. The legendary Viking Ragnar leads his people to the walls but suffers many casualties, even getting severely wounded himself. It takes multiple assaults and a tremendously high casualty count, as well as a cunning strategy, to finally lay siege to the city. With incredibly high production values and amazing choreography, the Siege of Paris is an exhausting watch, and we mean that in the best possible way.

#7: Final Battle
“Spartacus” (2010-13)


Finales tend to have a lot of pressure put on them. They are, after all, sending off the series, and ending on a low note can tarnish the memory of the show’s overall quality. Thankfully, the finale of Spartacus is nothing short of astounding. After a shiver-inducing speech from Spartacus himself, our eyes are glued to the screen. This is the moment that the series has been building towards, and despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, Spartacus and his forces fight with fury, composure and style. Extremely intense, this final stand unfolds brilliantly. Bloody and emotionally charged, the battle combines hope and tragedy to beautiful effect. They may’ve lost the battle, but they died free.

#6: The Return
“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1993-99)


Space battles are awesome in general, but seeing two huge fleets engage in close proximity as seen in this episode is a truly stellar sight to behold. Action packed, and massive in scale, the battle is carefully balanced, managing to maintain a clear sense of focus and narrative drive, avoiding the common trappings of space shootouts, which so often devolve into an incomprehensible mess of explosions. Dominion War is a great plotline in the series, and the victory here is definitely a great accomplishment for the Federation Alliance. It comes at a cost, though, as allied casualties are high. Thankfully, the Klingons come to the rescue at just the right time.

#5: Storming New Caprica
“Battlestar Galactica” (2004-09)


Cutting between air assaults from Galactica and land assaults from the resistance, the battle on New Caprica has a powerful cinematic effect on its viewers. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, giving us cause to cheer one moment and flinch the next, with casualties happening on both sides. Tides are turned multiple times, and as the conflict comes to an end, we honestly don’t know what outcome to expect. Loyalties are also tested; Battlestar Galactica has extremely well-developed characters, and the parallel internal battles prove just as compelling to watch as their physical ones. It’s a testament to the show’s ability to combine violence with drama and emotion.

#4: Battle of Peleliu
“The Pacific” (2010)


Holy moly, this battle competes with—and even beats—some Hollywood movies in terms of scale and quality. That’s no easy feat, but it does owe a lot to its executive producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, who worked together on another huge miniseries, the earlier sister show Band of Brothers. This miniseries cost an estimated $200 million to make, so the battle scenes are expected to be epic, but this particular scene manages to surpass expectations. Its imagery and depiction of the horrors of war are riveting to watch and chillingly realistic. The sound design is also amazingly well done; one can’t help but want to duck at the sound of bullets whizzing by.

#3: Who Goes There
“True Detective” (2014-)


Joining the likes of Atonement and Children of Men, True Detective delivers a stunning, continuous, uncut, tracking shot in this episode. We follow Detective Rust Cohle as his undercover operation spirals out of control. Rust makes his escape, avoiding both police and pretty much everyone in the neighborhood as everything goes to hell. It was definitely the biggest moment in the show up to that point, showing the lengths to which the two detectives would go in the name of the job. The long take, coupled with the many violent moving parts Rust encounters, makes for an anxiety-inducing, thrilling action sequence. The camera never cuts, and neither does the tension.

#2: The Prison Assault
“The Walking Dead” (2010-)


We had hoped after the Governor’s first failed attempt to kill everyone at the prison, that he’d have a change of heart. He may have found himself a new adoptive family and showed his softer side, but sadly, the Governor remained the same old mass-murderer. After executing Hershel, he attempts to invade the prison again, and this time, he has a freaking tank. Regular characters are killed off, and the entire prison is destroyed in the process. Thankfully, the Governor is among the dead. Hordes of walkers are fun and all, but this moment showed that even in a world of the undead, it’s still inter-human conflict that proves most exhilarating and devastating.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Siege of Alesia
“Rome” (2005-07)

- A Fistful of Paintballs
“Community” (2009-15)

- Battle for Antarctica
“Stargate SG-1” (1997-2007)

#1: Battle of the Bastards
“Game of Thrones” (2011-18)


Ramsay Bolton finally meets his end in this amazingly cinematic, immersive and grand battle sequence. Resurrected from the dead, Jon Snow is convinced by Sansa to retake Winterfell. Heavily outnumbered, Jon Snow’s army gives it all they’ve got. Previous Game of Thrones battles, like the Massacre at Hardhome and the Battle of the Blackwater were both entertaining and epic. But here we’re dropped right in the thick of the battle, getting a firsthand perspective of the carnage and mayhem. Soldiers are killed left and right, horses are covered with arrows, and mountains of bodies begin to pile up. In the end, the Starks come out victorious, but only by the skin of their teeth.
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