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Every once in awhile, it’s good to take a break. That could be a break from work, a break from exercise, or in the case of 2020, a break from reality. Yup, life is certainly strange at the moment thanks to COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus). But, we’re here to tell you there exist many a way to take a step out of reality without ever leaving the couch. That’s right, we’re talking about the best science-fiction movies and TV shows on Netflix.
As it just so happens, Netflix has some of the best lineups of sci-fi movies and TV shows. From dystopian shows like Altered Carbon, to family fun flicks like Space Jam and binge-worthy epics like Stranger Things, Netflix has some amazing content. Depending on what you’re looking for, Netflix has you covered.
But where do you start? Worry not, friend, that’s what we’re here for. We went through all of the best sci-fi on Netflix and compiled our favorites into a list. You’ll find some lesser-known must-watches as well as the modern classics. Take a look below and, you know, tune out for a while.
And though you can totally get by watching these on anything (be it a laptop or even smartphone), for adventures as epic as these, we’d recommend viewing them on a big 65-inch TV for all that movie magic.
The Best Science-Fiction Movies on Netflix
With outstanding performances from Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander and Domhnall Gleeson, the acting alone is enough of a reason to watch Ex Machina. However, that’s not the only reason. Ex Machina follows a fictional scientist as he tries to get his newly created artificially intelligent robot (Vikander) to pass the touring test. Set inside a beautifully minimalistic mansion, things go horribly wrong. It’s thriller and sci-fi mixed into one, and it’s glorious. Whether your first or fifth time, this is always worth a watch.
Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and all the Looney Toons collide in this instant classic of a sports flick. While many will remember well the on-screen antics of the Looney Toons gang versus their alien competitors, this flick still (somehow) holds up in 2020. With performances from greats like Danny DeVito and Bill Murray and hoop legends like Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, it’s hard not to have a good time while watching Space Jam. It’s light, a little absurd and overall hilarious. If you need something that’s easy to digest, Space Jam should be your choice.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Ever wondered what Han Solo was doing before meeting Luke at that bar? Well, now you can find out, thanks to this one-off flick. Featuring a solid cast with the likes of Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Alden Ehrenreich, Thandie Newton and Donald Glover, this high-stakes space flick is a fun and fast ride that will have you engaged from start to finish. Ehrenreich does a great job as a young Solo and the film does wonders to help deepen the already expansive Star Wars universe.
Monsters attack! If you suffer from motion sickness, you might want to skip this one. But for everyone else, Cloverfield is a fun and lo-fi take on big monster movies. Think Godzilla meets Blair Witch. The perspective and quick pace make this a fun one to watch over and over and over.
There’s still plenty of debate as to the ending of Inception. But regardless of where you stand, this is a great sci-fi movie to rewatch on Netflix. The acting from Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt moves the film along well and the (often) confusing plot is just twisty enough to keep you hooked throughout. Plus, graphically speaking, this is a fun one to watch.
Directed by Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), Snowpiercer, is a very fun and often overlooked entry on lists of the best science-fiction on Netflix. The world has been thrown into a new ice age, and the remaining humans are all aboard this massive, steel train traveling the globe. The upper class of society are living it up in first class, while the lower class citizens are, well, not. The film stars Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho and Tilda Swinton to name a few and is a fun ride through some serious caste warfare happening on this massive, futuristic train. While Evans is best known for having “America’s ass” in Marvel movies, he turns in a haunting performance in this under-the-radar film.
Blade Runner (Final Cut)
What’s a best sci-fi list without Blade Runner? Seeing as how the Final Cut is newly available on Netflix, of course we had to add it. If you haven’t seen it before, Netflix gives a great opportunity to follow Deckard (Harrison Ford) in this legendary Ridley Scott sci-fi flick. In the film, Deckard must hunt down four Replicants who have recently escaped to Earth. It’s mystery, noir and sci-fi all rolled into one, and it’s one hell of a ride.
Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull
For good measure, we had to include this one on the list. To many, this movie is an abomination that really doesn’t deserve to even share the same name of the original three Indiana Jones films. That said, if you go into it knowing it’s pretty campy with extremely low expectations, it’s actually a fun ride. Harrison Ford is as good as always and Shia Labeouf is always fun to watch. Sure, there are a few absurd scenes, but hey, it’s a movie. And really, who says aliens and Indy can’t mix?
Netflix has thousands of movies and TV shows in their impressive library. On top of that, Netflix produced 371 new original TV shows and movies in 2019, which is, frankly, insane. That means there are plenty of other worthy science-fiction movies on Netflix to enjoy. If you’ve already seen all the movies above, here are some more great flicks to add to your queue:
- The Endless
- I Am Mother
- The Wandering Earth
- Time Trap
The Best Sci-Fi TV Shows on Netflix
If you somehow haven’t gotten on to Stranger Things bandwagon yet, you’re in for a treat. This show has somehow made people nostalgic for the 80s, both with fashion and music. The show follows a group of young kids as they fight terrifying monsters threatening their hometown. Stranger Things serves up nostalgia, Dungeons and Dragons and psychic powers. Plus, there are three seasons, so you’ll have plenty to watch while you’re stuck at home.
Black Mirror is the type of show that is both enjoyable and jarring enough to spark a full-blown existential crisis. Thanks to its stand-alone format, each episode features a different cast and crew exploring different aspects of modern and future life, and the consequences of society’s current actions. But be warned, if you want to sleep easily, this is not the type of show to binge. Even after a single episode, you may find yourself questioning way more than you’re comfortable with.
If you’re looking for a show that’s a bit more dystopian and mysterious in nature, give Altered Carbon a try. The show follows Takeshi Kovacs, an incredibly well-trained assassin as he works to unravel a sinister plot. However, there’s a catch in the world of Altered Carbon: people can pretty much live forever. Thanks to the advent of the “stack,” humans can download their consciousness to a small disc and transfer bodies like you change outfits. As you can imagine, it adds quite a few wrinkles for Kovacs.
Dark has been getting a ton of love lately and we can see why. The story revolves a small German town and the two boys who suddenly go missing within that town. But this is more than just a whodunit mystery show, and it has more in common with Twin Peaks than the average police procedural. Now in its second season, Dark makes its twists and turns extra complex by throwing time travel into the mix. The result is a show that slowly unravels the fates and decisions of its characters in the past, and how those decisions and secrets affect the present.
Looking for more of the best science-fiction TV shows on Netflix? Try these titles as well:
- The Umbrella Academy
- The OA
- Star Trek & Star Trek the Next Generation
- The Twilight Zone
- The Good Place
- Living With Yourself