Netflix is losing quite a bit by the end of April that sci-fi fans should watch before they go. Most notable are Blade Runner, Space Jam, and the live-action Ninja Turtles movie. But the good news is that there's plenty of time left this month to watch them. The real revelation, however, is the addition of several iconic movies from the '90s and the early aughts. Deep Impact, The Matrix, and Minority Report.
If you’re hankering for a taste of tomorrow this April, here are 11 of the best science fiction shows and movies available to stream on Netflix, with a focus on whatever’s new, original, or leaving soon.
The same creative behind the legendary Cowboy Bebop anime, Dai Sato, made a spin-off anime prequel movie set within the Altered Carbon universe called Altered Carbon: Resleeved that hit Netflix in late March. The animation doesn't really look anything like anime, but it's a worthy companion piece to the two live-action seasons of Altered Carbon also on Netflix. Resleeved happens about a year after Season 1 and almost three decades before Season 2, making this something of an action-packed interquel. In a different body, Takeshi Kovacs is tasked with protecting a tattooist while investigating the death of a yakuza boss on the planet Latimer. It's mostly business as usual, but if you're a big fan of the show, this is a must-watch.
10. Code 8
Here's one that probably flew under the radar for you: Stephen and Robbie Amell (best recognized as the face of Oliver Queen and Ronnie Raymond in The CW's Arrowverse shows) made a feature-length film that feels like Bright meets X-Men. Extrapolated from their short 2016 of the same name, Code 8 presents a world where 4 percent of the human population is born with varying supernatural abilities and have become a persecuted minority in society. Robbie Ammell plays a man with powers who is desperate to save his dying mother but has minimal access to proper medical care, so he must resort to a life of crime to pay the bills. It's a far less glamorous and more realistic look at how such mutations would probably play out.
Code 8 will be released on Netflix April 11, 2020.
Easily one of the best "bad" movies of the '90s (or at least one of my personal favorites), the live-action Mortal Kombat film is an absurd thrill to watch at the weird intersection of dark fantasy and sci-fi. Nothing about it makes much sense, but thus is the lasting legacy of gaming's most gruesome fighting game franchise.
A thunder god called Rayden guides a warrior monk, an actor, and a soldier to a fighting tournament where they're meant to defend Earth against the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung. The atmosphere, locations, and fights are all wildly entertaining, but the downright dumb plotting and script are overly simple, especially when it's a mild PG-13 when it should be at least R.
Mortal Kombat arrived on Netflix April 1, 2020.
Aaaand they're back. What the heck is going on over at Netflix that The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions all left the platform at the end of February only to be added back on April 1?
When it was released in 1999, The Matrix changed the action genre, inventing a new style of cinematography known as bullet time. It follows a hacker called Neo, who discovers he’s been living inside a simulation hundreds of years in the “future.” Robots with advanced A.I. rebelled against their creators and harvested human bodies as batteries, using the titular “matrix” simulation to keep them complacent. After learning the truth, Neo emerges in the “real world” and ultimately discovers that he’s the hero that can save humanity. With a fourth film in development, there’s no better time to watch this trilogy before it leaves once again (probably in about 6 months)
The Matrix Trilogy returned to Netflix on April 1.
Starring national treasure Tom Cruise as a "Precrime" cop in the late 21st century when predictive technology allows the police to stop crimes before they happen, Minority Report is a genuinely compelling and provocative cyberpunk thriller that grapples with similar themes to Devs on FX. What is the nature of free will when we know what's going to happen? Does free will even exist?
Aside from asking these kinds of profound questions, Minority Report is also an exciting action movie without the trappings of its cyberpunk world. What's not to love?
Minority Report arrived on Netflix on April 1, 2020.
6. Deep Impact
A disaster movie may not be what you're in the mood for, but in case it is, Deep Impact is a moody, melodramatic apocalyptic drama that can be pretty entertaining. A comet is on a collision course with Earth, and because it's 7 miles long, its impact will be an extinction-level event that will kill every living thing on the planet. Yes, this is the same plot as Armageddon. In fact, Deep Impact came out only a few months earlier.
Deep Impact was nominated for "Worst Screenplay For A Film Grossing More Than $100 Million" at the 1998 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, which says a lot about the experience of watching it. Bombastic, broad, and mostly uneven, the cast is just star-studded enough to make Deep Impact a fun, brainless watch.
Deep Impact arrived on Netflix April 1, 2020.
Blade Runner was only added to Netflix at the start of February, yet now one of the most important sci-fi films of all time will be leaving the platform at the end of April. If ever there was a time to watch or rewatch Blade Runner, it's now.
In Ridley Scott's cyberpunk masterpiece from 1982, Harrison Ford stars as Rick Deckard, a former policeman tasked with tracking down bioengineered humanoids known as replicants. It's essentially futuristic noir that stacks overlapping mysteries atop each another, making you question the nature of humanity itself.
Ironically, the story takes place in a dystopian 2019 that looks nothing like the actual 2019 did. Blade Runner virtually created an entire aesthetic for the cyberpunk subgenre of sci-fi. For anyone who hasn't seen Blade Runner yet, the "Final Cut" version is the 25th-anniversary version recut by Ridley Scott and released in 2007 that leaves the story's biggest questions vague and adds a surreal dream sequence to further complicate the film's messages in compelling ways.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut will be removed from Netflix April 30, 2020.
4. Space Jam
WELCOME TO THE SPACE JAM! What's not to love about an insane movie where Michael Jordan teams up with the Looney Tunes to defend Earth against alien invaders via an intense basketball matchup? The bad guys steal the basketball prowess of other NBA stars, leaving Bugs Bunny to recruit Jordan into the mix for a totally bonkers collision of animation with live-action. To his credit, Michael Jordan does okay here, but anyone who loves Looney Tunes and/or basketball should have a good time.
Space Jam will be removed from Netflix on April 30, 2020.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie doesn't get enough appreciation from critics, but for any millennial fans of these four turtles and their rat sensei Splinter, this is the definitive start to their journey.
Less violent and more lighthearted than the 1990 original, this sequel is a lot of fun and has more heart than the soulless 2014 remake. Following up on the conflict with the Foot Clan from the first film, this one delves deeper into the mysterious ooze that mutated the turtles, explaining their origin story in complex ways. This one’s for any true fans of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael — or anyone who loves ‘90s vibes.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie will be removed from Netflix on April 30, 2020.
If Netflix was an assembly line the end result would be I Am Not Okay With This. From the producer of Stranger Things, the creator of End of the F***ing World, and rising scream queen star Sophia Lillis, I Am Not Okay With This is a perfect blend of superhero origin story and ‘80s nostalgia. If John Hughes directed an X-Men movie, it might look something like this.
Despite the love, there isn't a lot of romance in this hardcore animated sci-fi series.
Love, Death & Robots is an animated sci-fi anthology series from Deadpool director Tim Miller in collaboration with David Fincher. The episodes vary between five 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 various ways across several alternate realities. The series is wildly entertaining and a visual spectacle, although a few episodes feel incredibly regressive. With Season 2 confirmed and likely out later this year, now’s the time to catch up.