Netflix is loading up on apocalyptic fiction in April with films like The Silence and I am Legend, but there’s also Black Summer, a Z Nation spin-off for shows. For those more into superheroics, they can check out Umbrella Academy or Legacies, an offshoot of The Vampire Diaries.
You won’t find any of Disney’s sci-fi movies on this month’s list, but Netflix still has Ant-Man and the Wasp, Avengers: Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and The Incredibles 2. It’s only a matter of time before these movies leaves Netflix forever to exist solely on Disney+ later this year.
Brie Larson’s upcoming directorial debut, Unicorn Store, also hits Netflix in April. It’s sort of weird magical fantasy like Click rather than traditional science fiction, so we figured we’d remind you that it’s out April 5.
If you’re hankering for a taste of tomorrow this April, here are the 11 best pieces of science fiction on Netflix with a focus on the new, exciting, and original — but more importantly, we’ll always have the very best recommendations.
11. Black Summer
The undead as a genre will ironically never die. The Z Nation spin-off series Black Summer is coming to Netflix, and based on the first trailer, it looks like a top-notch zombie apocalypse.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Jaime King (Hart of Dixie) stars as a mother, torn from her daughter, who embarks upon a harrowing journey, stopping at nothing to find her. Thrust alongside a small group of American refugees, she must brave a hostile new world and make brutal decisions during the most deadly summer of a zombie apocalypse.
- Black Summer will be added to the Netflix library on April 11.
Ultraman is a revered icon in Japanese anime culture, and a new animated series from Netflix looks to continue that legacy. Shinjiro Hayata, the son of the original Ultraman, is a teenager trying to find his place in the world as the new superhero humanity needs. Ultraman offers an exciting new story that can introduce this hero to a new generation of fans.
- Ultraman Season 1 will be released on Netflix April 1.
Due to an ongoing alliance, after every new season finishes airing on The CW, it gets added to Netflix a week later. That means after The Vampire Diaries spin-off series Legacies finished its first season in late March, it hits Netflix in early April.
Legacies follows Hope Mikaelson, the daughter of Klaus Mikaelson and Hayley Marshall, who is descended from some of the most powerful vampire, werewolf, and witch bloodlines. Most of the action takes place at the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted, where she and her fellow supernatural beings can learn to master their powers and urges.c
- Legacies Season 1 will be added to Netflix on April 5.
Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy adapts the comic series from My Chemical Romance frontrunner Gerard Way in a way that’s engaging, action-packed, and sometimes hilarious. In 1989, 43 women around the world spontaneously gave birth to babies — despite never being pregnant. An eccentric billionaire buys seven of the children, and after they begin to develop superpowers, he becomes convinced they’re the key to saving the world.
Much of the series focuses on six of the surviving kids in the present day as an apocalypse looms in the near future. The Umbrella Academy is delightfully weird and, despite some derivative plot points, remains a really compelling watch.
For fans of Sense8, The Umbrella Academy is the perfect show to fill that hole in your heart.
Love, Death & Robots is an animated sci-fi anthology series from Deadpool director Tim Miller in collaboration with David Fincher. These short episodes vary between 5 and 15 minutes and use different animation styles to tell stories within the realms of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and comedy.
In one episode, three robots go sightseeing in a post-apocalyptic city long after humanity is gone. In another, Hitler dies in a bunch of different alternate realities. The series is wildly entertaining and a visual spectacle, although some episodes feel incredibly regressive.
6. The OA
Perhaps Netflix’s strangest show, in an ever-growing bevy of weirdness, The OA is, on some level, all about interdimensional group dance magic. That’s not even a joke, but a lot of people sort of thought it was after the first season couldn’t decide if the protagonist was delusional or not.
Part II only just hit Netflix on March 22, and things only get weirder and weirder for Prairie and her friends.
5. The Silence
The Silence looks and sounds just like a rip-off of A Quiet Place, but it fuses those elements together with Bird Box in a way that manages to resemble both films while doing something uniquely its own.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s Kiernan Shipka stars as a teenager surviving in an apocalypse where flying monsters hunt by sound. An accident several years prior left her deaf. Is she uniquely suited to survival as a result? Or is she in more danger than anyone else?
- The Silence is coming to Netflix on April 10.
4. I Am Legend
Will Smith’s I Am Legend (2007) is a thrilling and fun zombie adventure that’s not like all the other zombie stories that exploded in popularity in the late 2000s. To call it an adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel is absurd, but the film is set in a comparable universe that, in some ways, is more interesting and suited to the big screen.
In the movie version, a genetically re-engineered measles virus created as a cure for cancer mutates horribly and wipes out 90 percent of the world’s population. The other 9.8 percent become horrifying zombie-vampire hybrids with the remaining 0.2 immune. Smith plays a military scientist among the 0.2 percent struggling to develop a cure with his only companion being a loyal German Shepherd.
- I Am Legend will be added to Netflix on April 1.
Long before he made Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, French director Luc Besson made The Fifth Element starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich pre-Resident Evil, along with Gary Oldman as a bizarre, evil industrialist.
The Fifth Element is a totally weird sci-fi adventure that’s wildly campy and completely ridiculous, but it’s also a lot of fun to watch. In 2263, an ancient evil reawakens, and the only thing that can stop it is for humanity to reunite four magical elemental stones and the reincarnation of the mystical fifth element. That’s all you need to do. Dive right in!
- The Fifth Element will land on Netflix April 1.
2. Ex Machina
I didn’t know what “edge of your seat” really meant in terms of thrillers until I saw Ex Machina in the theater. Anyone who enjoyed Alex Garland’s Annihilation will probably like his previous feature even more.
A programmer from a massive tech company wins a contest and gets to visit the company’s brilliant, billionaire founder. But that founder’s been developing an A.I. with a realistic synthetic body on his remote compound, and he wants someone to help … test them. Ex Machina goes from quirky to strange, to creepy to horrifying with enough cerebral tension to make you question whether you’re a human yourself.
In Her, the always excellent Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with a disembodied A.I. voice similar to an advanced Siri or Alexa. Set in the near-future of Los Angeles, Her explores the depression of a sensitive guy mourning the end of a long-term relationship. He fills an emotional void with an A.I.
What sounds like a bit of a crazy premise is sold by filmmaker Spike Jonze with nothing short of delicate tenderness. Considering Her won Best Original Screenplay at the 86th Academy Awards, it’s basically a must-see for any fan of science fiction.