Last Updated: April 13th
The sci-fi genre currently splits the difference between niche entertainment and the mainstream, providing diehard nerds and folks looking for a simple good time with a common ground on which they can unite and share in their enthusiasm. There was a time when tales of aliens, space travel, and robots were believed to be the strict province of four-eyed basement dwellers, but the truth is that everybody can find something to enjoy in the weird world of science fiction. The best sci-fi works in both universal truths and hyperspecific detail, using fantastical yet fully-realized worlds to tell stories about our own.
Netflix‘s selection of good sci fi movies isn’t exhaustive, and it errs mostly on the side of direct-to-video embarrassments, but there are still plenty of pictures worth exploring nestled among the sequels and paycheck-generators. Keep on scrolling for 10 of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix streaming to watch right now, taking you from the moon, the farthest reaches of space, and to the outer fringes of reality itself.
15. Armageddon (1998)
No binge of overblown ’90s action movies would be complete without a sampling from Michael Bay, and Armageddon is one of his best thanks to its lovable ridiculousness and implausibility. As the other “we have to stop the world-ending meteor” movie of 1998 — it arrived a bit after Deep Impact — this is the one that is packed with some of the biggest names of the decade. Despite some of the actors saying that they only did the movie for the paycheck and Bay himself saying he wishes he could redo the error-filled third act, it has a bloated charm to its mess. This is largely due to Steve Buscemi’s appearance, which was contractually obligated in every movie of the ’90s.
14. Advantageous (2015)
Jennifer Phang, a bold new directorial voice who will move onto higher-profile work as soon as the industry catches up with her, envisions a future where the societal powers-that-be disproportionately undervalue women’s labor and practically cast them aside once they’ve begun to show signs of aging. What makes this “sci-fi” and not “just how the world is” is that protagonist Gwen (played by co-writer Jacqueline Kim, the joint recipient of Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize for Collaborative Vision with Phang) has the option to transfer her consciousness into a younger and fitter body. Phang hits on a lot of the same theoretical points that John Frankenheimer covered in his classic Seconds, but lends this meditation on the modern obsession with youth an intersectional slant by virtue of her identity as a Korean-American woman. Densely packed with ideas and boasting impressive special effects relative to its humble budget, Advantageous is a godsend to young girls with creative ambitions on a galactic scale.