In action & adventure TV shows, thrilling situations and straight-forward plot development are the most important elements. This distinguishes the programs in this genre from more broadly dramatic shows with complicated interactions between characters. The genre includes a variety of sub-genres that involve diverse subject matter.
The storyline of an action program usually centers on a hero, a heroine or a group of heroes. The plot sends these heroes on a quest with a clear goal. The pursuit of the goal places the heroes in a series of dangerous situations that they must conquer in order to survive. Within that basic framework, the subject of the program can encompass any situation.
Crime dramas have long been one of the most popular type of TV action program. These shows feature individual law enforcement officers or teams of officers whose quest in each episode is to solve mysteries and capture criminals. The quest typically involves car chases, gun battles and other situations in which the heroes are in peril.
Adventure programs often include elements of fantasy and the supernatural. They are more likely to focus on the completion of a long-term quest.
Some nonfiction programs can also reasonably be said to fall into the action and adventure genre. Reality shows often capitalize on situations where their heroes are in hazardous positions in order to create tension and suspense.