11 Must-See Science Fiction Movies and Shows on Netflix in July 2020

Streaming movies and television, along with video games, continue to offer a welcome distraction from the ongoing pandemic, and some of the best escapism out there comes in the form of science fiction. Netflix’s lineup of sci-fi is taking some heavy hits this July, doubly so when we can’t stream Independence Day anywhere on the 4th.

July is also the last gasp for Marvel Studios on Netflix and for Star Wars as well: Both Ant-Man and the Wasp and Solo: A Star Wars Story will be leaving Netflix for their new forever home on Disney+, which means we may never see a Marvel Studios or Star Wars movie on Netflix ever again. Her and Ex Machina — two of my favorite sci-fi films from the last decade — are also leaving Netflix. Despite having to say goodbye to so many beloved classics new and old, at least we can find solace in new additions like Spaceballs, the original Total Recall, and some show about a Warrior Nun.

If you’re hankering for a taste of tomorrow this July, 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.

11. EX MACHINA
A programmer wins a contest to visit his company’s brilliant billionaire founder on a remote compound. As it turns out, that founder’s been developing an A.I. with a realistic synthetic body and needs someone else to help… test it. 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.

Anyone who enjoyed Alex Garland’s Annihilation will probably like this, his previous feature, even more. Ex Machina is a master class in cinematic pacing and tension, and it’s a tragic loss for Netflix this month.

10. HER
In Her, the always-excellent Joaquin Phoenix plays a man named Theodore who falls in love with his new A.I. called Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Samantha learns at an exponential rate, and the way she evolves over the course of the film to fill the emotional void in Theodore’s life is a fascinating cautionary tale about the increasing complexity of technology — and how it can be more trouble than it’s worth when it only serves to isolate humans from each other.

Her won Best Original Screenplay at the 86th Academy Awards, and with good reason. So consider it a must-watch in the coming weeks, doubly so because it’s leaving the platform very soon.

9. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
You have every right to be a bit confused here. Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial only just landed back on Netflix in June, and already he’s going back where he came from on July 31. Spielberg’s classic story about a gentle alien befriending a young boy in California suburbia is a must-watch for any and all generations. When E.T. falls ill and the government catches wind of the alien, this charming adventure becomes a race to get E.T. home.

Even though it’s now almost 40 years old, this heartfelt adventure really holds up as one of Spielberg’s greatest — and it’s fun for the whole family!

8. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Say goodbye to the Marvel Cinematic Universe folks, because Ant-Man and the Wasp — the first MCU film to be released after Avengers: Infinity War — is finally leaving Netflix and traveling through the Quantum Realm to permanently settle on Disney+. So unless you also subscribe to Disney’s streaming platform, July 2020 is the perfect time to watch one of the most fun Marvel films to date.

Starring the enigmatic and charming Paul Rudd as the shrinking superhero Scott Lang, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a curious entry in the Infinity Saga because it takes place out-of-sequence: Scott is under house arrest following the events of Captain America: Civil War, but he’s dragged back into active duty as the shrinkable super-hero to team up with Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp.

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