Disney’s decided to grace Netflix with some of its best and biggest movies in the last year by adding a film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars galaxy. That’s right, by the end of June, you’ll finally be able to rewatch Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi as much as you want. Sadly, you’ll also have to say goodbye to one of Netflix’s original sci-fi treasures, Sense8. (At least we’re getting a grand finale!)
If you haven’t seen Martin Freeman’s Australian-set zombie tragedy Cargo yet, then what are you waiting for? It came out in May and it’s one of the best zombie flicks in recent memory.
But obviously, sci-fi is about so much more than superheroes, zombies, and the final adventure of Luke Skywalker. It’s also about sharks devouring Samuel L. Jackson in the middle of a rousing speech.
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 right now, with a focus on the new, exciting, and original.
In June, we all had to say goodbye to this weird yet totally delightful globetrotting sci-fi adventure from the Wachowskis. After two seasons and one Christmas special, Netflix Sense8 ended forever on June 8.
The series follows a “cluster” of “sensates,” a subspecies of humans that form unbreakable psychic connections in groups of eight that transcend physical distance. The series follows eight strangers from around the world on a journey of self-discovery and romance as they each discover who — and what — they are. Since the beginning of the show, the eight core characters have been on the run from a mysterious organization trying to use sensates as weapons. Along the way, they’ve met other sensates and formed more human connections, but the explosive series finale on June 8 looks to close the story of these eight characters for good.
10. The Rain
Netflix’s apocalyptic horror story will remind you 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. Young kids struggling to survive works pretty well for The 100, and it does here as well.
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 just hit Netflix on May 29, so if you lapsed this season at all, now’s the time to catch up.
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.
6. Thor: Ragnarok
One of the best Marvel movies in recent memory is director Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, which resembles something much closer to a fun-loving Guardians of the Galaxy movie on the cosmic scale than it does anything like the first two Thor movies. Waititi basically fixes Thor’s character in the MCU by infusing him with charm and a genuinely hilarious sense of humor. Along the way, he makes Thor’s world feel way more sci-fi than fantasy, which is great for the character.
After his father Odin dies, Thor has to face an enemy more powerful than any he’s ever faced: his sister Hela, the goddess of death. The god of thunder loses his hammer, gets blasted half-way across the universe, and has to form his own small team of heroes to save his people. It’s just too bad that at least half of them wind up dying in Infinity War anyway.
5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Rian Johnson’s Star Wars movie might be the most controversial ever in that it defies all your expectations while drawing the ire of many fanboys. Episode VIII picks up right where The Force Awakens left off, with Rey meeting Luke Skywalker and the remaining members of the Resistance on the run from the First Order.
If you had Luke-warm feelings about The Last Jedi on your first viewing, then it’s time to give it another show. Or, you know, just rewatch that badass fight scene in which Rey and Kylo Ren fight Snoke’s guards over and over again.
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.
2. Iron Giant
If you haven’t seen this Nineties animated classic just yet, then you need to immediately. (The Iron Giant does play a pretty important role in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, if that’s something you care about.)
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 that understands the nature of Superman better than anything Zack Snyder has produced.
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.