Essential Viewing: 11 Jensen Ackles Movies and TV Shows You Must See

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Like the song says, “Carry on, my wayward son. There’ll be peace when you are done.” Well, one out of two isn’t bad because Jensen Ackles has definitely carried on, but he is far from done.


The long-time resident of the CW has had his handsome face shining on the small screen for almost thirty years in a little over twenty television main, recurring, and guest roles.


While Ackles could easily be considered one of the kings of Comic-Con, the demon hunter turned super soldier has graced the film industry a handful of times enough to make a few lasting impressions.


We’ve done the leg work for you and assembled some action-packed projects and titles the actor has starred in. While there will be some obvious choices, there might just be one or two that surprise even the most hardcore Jensen fans.


So, get ready to have your jaw drop when you see how this television actor has aged like fine wine.


Seriously. It should be a crime to look that amazing and be known as genuinely funny, generous, and caring. 


Please sit back and relax because we’re on the highway to hell. And as Dean Winchester would say, “Driver picks the music; shotgun shuts his cakehole.”


Devour (2005)


Role: Jake Gray. Available to watch on Tubi.


Kicking off the list is Jensen Ackles’s very first feature film. While the actor’s career in the craft had been going for almost a year, Devour was his first experience in a feature film. It certainly set the stage for a recurring theme in his later endeavors.


Devour focuses on Ackles’s Jake Gray, who experiences macabre dreams after playing an online game with some friends. After those same friends are killed, Gray searches for answers that lead him down a supernatural path, revealing his connection to this deadly game.


While this horror romp was not received well, it makes for an interesting watch to see how far the actor has come, as it was also the role he played right before taking up the mantle of everyone’s favorite cheeseburger-loving hunter.


This is an excellent film for anyone who enjoys the cringier side of horror and appreciates a little camp with its plot. Check out American Horror Story and American Horror Stories for more up-to-date scares.


My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)


Role: Tom Hanniger. Available to watch on Tubi.


If you haven’t seen My Bloody Valentine 3D, immediately add it to your watch list. This is a Jensen Ackles must, as it was an exciting choice for the actor, considering Supernatural hadn’t yet peaked but was undoubtedly riding high.


A remake of the 1981 Canadian movie of the same, this film shares similarities as it follows Tom Hanniger’s return home years after an error he made as a miner led to the death of numerous workers and residents of his town. Now, a pickaxe-wielding assailant is picking off the survivors.


Jensen does a fine job balancing drama with horror, as his character is very hated by the townsfolk, who blame him for every death that resulted from his mining days.


This movie earned its “R” rating, so be prepared for a bloody, campy ride. Anyone who isn’t squeamish will appreciate this and similar television projects like Slasher and Chucky.


Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths (2024)


Role: Bruce Wayne/Batman. Available to watch on Max.


While many in the Ackles fandom have dreamed of seeing the actor in the well-known cowl, sadly, it will have to be animated. Still, even with just his husky voice, Jensen embodies the role of Batman.


When the villain known as the ANTI-MONITOR threatens every known universe, the Justice League and its extended allies must band together with alternate versions of themselves to stop countless Earths from being obliterated.


There’s not a lot that can be added to Bruce Wayne/Batman, as it would be strange not to see him brooding before dropping the occasional sarcastic zinger. However, Ackles’s gruff voice gives the Dark Knight an edginess not always achieved with the billionaire orphan.


Superheroes have been at the forefront of film and television for the last decade and a half, but a few gems still pop up occasionally. This, along with X-Men ’97 and Invincible, are excellent selections if you like a little animation with her superheroes.


Days of Our Lives (19997-2000)


Role: Eric Brady. Available to stream on Peacock.


With a face like Jensen Ackles, it’s no wonder that a year after starting in the entertainment industry, he found himself on one of the most significant soap operas, playing a character that still lives on as the series itself does.


Set in a fictional Midwestern town, Days of Our Lives follows the complicated lives of multiple prominent families. From love and romance to tragedies and scandal, this series is full of comas, kidnappings, switched identities, murder investigations, and everything in between.


Jensen’s character, Eric Brady, has been played by seven other actors and was introduced in 1984, almost twenty years after the show began. Last portrayed by Jason Gerhardt, the character remains in the continuing series.


Soap operas are a societal mainstay. Cultures all around the world still enjoy them to this day. So, if you like long, thoughtful glances between heavy-handed drama, then binge this series and similar ones like The Bold and The Beautiful.


Dark Angel (2001-2002)


Role: Ben/X5-493, Alec McDowell/X5-494. Available to stream on Disney+.


Anyone who was a preteen in the early 2000s likely remembers this brief TV series that left an impression as it was Jessica Alba’s last television role before she blew up. Viewers from years prior might not remember Ackles in one of the lead roles.


Dark Angel is about a super soldier who defected from government control and is trying to live an everyday life in a dystopian future. All the while, she searches for her brothers and sisters who were scattered to the wind during their escape years prior.


As Alex McDowell, the surviving twin of Ben, the character was at first known for being self-centered and constantly attracting trouble. However, over the series run and its continuation through subsequent novels, Alex becomes one of the main character’s most trusted allies.


Superpowered people on the run from the government or military is a premise that has been used many times throughout television history, as it’s usually an excellent metaphor for prejudice and societal discourse. For more like it and this show, check out The Tomorrow People.


Dawson’s Creek (2002-2003)


Role: C.J. Braxton. Available to stream on Hulu.


Heavily enjoyed by the teens of yesteryears, now adults who rewatch this iconic show, Dawson’s Creek was one of the many stepping stones that have led teen dramas into cultural relevance. Though much softer than the rougher teen shows like Euphoria.


For those not in the know, this coming-of-age show chronicled the life, love, and losses of its many characters, but at the center were the core four: Dawson, Joey, Pacey, and Jen. The show was as heartwrenching as it was heartwarming.


Jensen’s character of C.J. Braxton is given a full-circle arc in the series. Starting as a depressed teen who copes by abusing alcohol, C.J. eventually becomes a counselor at a teen helpline, aiding kids going through the same things he did.


Everyone who regularly watches television has likely watched a teen drama or two. Currently, there is more angst than ever before. For some serialized life lessons, check out Dawson’s Creek and similar shows like Heartstopper, Never Have I Ever, and Sex Education.


Smallville (2004-2005)


Role: Jason Teague. Available to stream on Hulu.


Considered one of the most loved iterations of the Man of Steel, Smallville painted The Last Son of Krypton in a different light. Everyone knew of his years flying around Metropolis when he wasn’t the largest journalist in history; this was the first venture into his teen years.


The show follows Clark Kent as he balances figuring out his budding powers and leading a normal life. Part of that includes keeping secrets from his close friends like Lana Lang and Lex Luthor while avoiding the kryptonite that has mutated some of the small-town residents.


Funnily enough, Ackles first auditioned for the role of Clark and was even a runner-up. However, he still got to play a love interest to the show’s main girl, Lana. Eventually, the character meets a rocky end, but allegedly, it’s because of Jensen’s commitment to his iconic series.


Teen superhero shows are in abundance more than ever, so there are plenty of options for fans of the premise, but anyone who needs a Superman fix should check out this show for his early years as well as Superman & Lois for his later years.


Supernatural (2005-2020)


Role: Dean Winchester. Available to stream on Netflix.


The show that launched a thousand spinoffs and way too many fanfics, Supernatural, is one of only fourteen series with runs of fifteen seasons or longer. This show failed to be picked up for almost ten years, and now it is one of these most iconic comic-con staples.


For those who don’t know, Supernatural focuses on the Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, who take up the family business of hunting monsters. The show starts pretty cut and dry, but over its fifteen years, the show’s lore and fiction grew exponentially.


Dean Winchester, a name that will follow Ackles for the rest of his life, is a no-nonsense, rough-around-the-edges, bacon cheeseburger-devouring lady’s man who would and has sacrificed himself for his 6’4 baby brother. He isn’t too bad on the eyes, either.


Supernatural is a show that has a little something for everybody: drama, romance, comedy, action, and a whole lot of salt. Thankfully, depending on how you look at it, the series had a few spinoff attempts but none as successful as The Winchesters.


Big Sky (2022-2023)


Role: Beau Arlen. Available to stream on Hulu.


This series follows two private detectives, Cassie Dewell and Cody Hoyt, in search of two taken by a truck driver on a remote stretch of Montana. Through their investigations, they discover a series of kidnappings and must race against the clock to save everyone.


Joining the series in its second season, Jensen’s character of Beau Arlen became part of the main cast in the third season.


If investigative crime drama thrillers are your cup of tea, be sure to watch Big Sky and Walker.


The Boys (2022-Present)


Role: Ben/Soldier Boy. Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.


The Boys is one of those rare shows that premiered at just the right time. The series graced television screens between the height of superhero films and the start of superhero fatigue. It gave viewers a fresh and more realistic take on the glitz and glamour of herodom.


The series depicts a world where superheroes are celebrated as any actor or music artist and more or less treated as gods. But when those same heroes abuse their powers and hurt innocent people, the Boys step up to teach them and the industry that made them a lesson.


Introduced in the third season,  Ackles plays Soldier Boy, a racist, misogynistic parody of everyone’s favorite shield-tossing Avenger. Due to being in a drug-induced stasis, the character is a man out of his own time who toes the line between helping the good and bad guys.


This show is a violent yet poignant perspective of what would happen if superheroes were real. If that sounds up your alley, check out The Boys and its spinoff show, Gen V.


Tracker (2024)


Role: Russell Shaw. Available to stream on Paramount+.


Still, in its first season, the Justin Hartley show follows Colter Shaw as he uses his expert tracking skills to make a living while trying to avoid his past and all the family drama that comes with it.


In Tracker Season 1 Episode 12, “Off the Books,” Jensen will play the big brother to Hartley’s Colter and Melissa Roxburgh’s Dory, last seen in Tracker Season 1 Episode 11, “Beyond the Campus Walls.”


Be sure to catch up on all episodes of Tracker before the season finale, and for more action/drama with a touch of tracing people’s whereabouts, check out Found.


Jensen Ackles is television royalty. A face that almost every person can recognize from one series or another. After his hit show finally ended, much to the dismay of many viewers, the actor continued to portray fun and exciting characters.


Something we wholeheartedly support and wish to see continue.


Did any of the entries on this list surprise you? Which of Jensen’s roles was your favorite? Drop a comment below to let us know!

Joshua Pleming is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow him on X.



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