As May flowers finally start budding, so does a slew of great new science fiction shows and movies on Netflix — including Cargo, which critics might eventually hail as the best zombie movie of 2018. April had some great sci-fi bangers, including a totally rad reboot of Lost in Space, but in May, we get pretty much all of the latest Arrowverse seasons.
That’s right, with the Arrow and The Flash season finales in May, their latest seasons hit Netflix a week after the finales air. Which means that by June you’ll be able to catch up on both.
If you’ve never seen The Iron Giant, then you need to do so ASAP, especially considering how important the Giant is to Ready Player One.
In these many titles, there are frighteningly dark futures, cautionary tales, and fantastical feats of technology. So the next time you’re hankering for a taste of tomorrow, here are the 11 best pieces of science fiction that Netflix has to offer with a focus on the new, exciting, and original.
11. The Rain
Netflix’s apocalyptic horror looks like The Happening but with bad rain and a sci-fi dystopian lean. A virus in the rain wiped out most of the world’s population, and a band of survivors has to figure out what life looks like in such a world.
Could The Rain be the next 100?
- Released May 4
10. Lost in Space
This Lost in Space reboot is a classic spacefaring adventure reinvented for a contemporary audience. The Robinson family goes into space to write a new chapter in human history when the Earth is in crisis. This family of pioneering space colonists literally gets “lost in space” after their ship enters a rip in spacetime that sends them to an alien planet. The results are thrilling, gripping, and a lot of fun.
In this dystopian sci-fi drama, the competition isn’t like the murder-filled Hunger Games. Instead, it’s a battle of intellect to join the three percent of the population who thrive in the lavish Offshore, while 97 percent live impoverished. Rebellious forces seek to undermine the structure of this society in Season 2 as the next Process draws near, which will induct a new group of students into the exclusive utopia. Season 2 was released in April.
8. Black Mirror
Though it dips into the realm of horror and satire, Black Mirror is consistent with one question: What can technology do to us when it’s taken to extremes? Some episodes have more to do with social media or YouTube obsessions, but others dive deep into the implications of many hard sci-fi concepts, including the cyberization of the human mind, technological surveillance, and human-like A.I. machines. It’s provocative and exciting at its best and downright disturbing at its worst — but even then, it’s still high-quality science fiction.
Season 4 offers bleak and oftentimes disturbing analyses of not just the startling things technology might be able to do in the future, but also the dark and horrific things people choose to do with it. The episode everyone will probably talk about looks like a Star Trek parody, but in Black Mirror fashion it’s a much more sinister meditation on the dark wish fulfillment of technology.
7. The Flash
Among the many Arrowverse shows, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow are the two that could easily be considered sci-fi. Season 4 of The Flash finishes on May 22, which means that it hit Netflix a week later on May 29.
Season 4 is a science-heavy and goofy stretch of stories in which Team Flash faces off against Clifford DeVoe, aka The Thinker, a guy who used a special hat to supercharge his brain during the particle accelerator explosion way back in Season 1. A brand-new batch of meta-humans were born, each with powers rooted in science that gets explained by Team Flash.
Netflix’s latest sci-fi thriller that involves brain hacking looks like a cross between Black Mirror and a cyberpunk version of Irene Adler from Sherlock Holmes. What does crime look like when everybody has an implant in their brains that records everything they do? Heck, what does privacy itself look like in such a world?
In this zombie film set in southern Australia, a father has 48 hours to save the life of his baby daughter before something absolutely terrible happens. It’s essentially an Australian Children of Men with zombies that pays special attention to how society responds to the pandemic, assessing the disease itself. Rest assured, this zombie virus is caused by people messing up science and not by hellish beings from the underworld.
4. Orbiter 9
This Spanish sci-fi film feels a lot like Netflix’s answer to Duncan Jones’s Moon and 2016’s lackluster blockbuster Passengers. A woman who’s lived her entire life alone on a spaceship suddenly becomes enamored with an engineer who enters her life. File this one under “solitary romance in space.”
3. Iron Giant
If you haven’t seen this Nineties animated classic just yet, there’s never been a better time, because the Iron Giant plays a pretty important role in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. After a young boy from Maine befriends a giant made of iron who crash-landed near his home, the two of them work together to avoid the government — which wants the giant as a weapon — and ultimately save the day in an inspirational story.
2. Deep Blue Sea
This oceanic sci-fi horror film is like Jaws on steroids — literally. The sharks in this movie were experimented on, and it made them super-intelligent, so when a research facility is damaged during a storm, a bunch of scientists are totally screwed. A true highlight in this film is spoiler Samuel L. Jackson’s epic inspirational monologue that ends in his grisly death by a brilliant shark attack.
Arguably Duncan Jones’s best film, sci-fi thriller Moon is a bonafide modern classic from 2009 that sees a lonely astronaut mining the moon by himself. Over time, he realizes the startling truth about his mission that’s just too good to spoil here. Do yourself a favor and watch this one as soon as you can.