If you want a Star Trek or Transformers fix, Paramount+ is your go-to. But once you’ve landed on the streamer, you’ll find plenty of sci-fi options beyond just those big franchises. Here are 10 sci-fi tales to get keep you going after you’ve finished watching Bumblebee or binging Strange New Worlds.
Yes, we just mentioned Transformers, which leads one to think of director Michael Bay, whose other films include asteroid-vs-Earth tale Armageddon. But 1998’s other asteroid-vs-Earth tale, Deep Impact, is worth revisiting; it might not have Bruce Willis or someone pulling a gun in space, but it does offer a somewhat more emotionally nuanced take on how humanity might react if they knew the world was about to end. Watch on Paramount+.
What if aliens came to Earth and the delicately complex task of communicating with them fell upon one woman? Amy Adams stars in this thoughtful, visually striking, and creatively plotted 2016 tale from Denis Villeneuve, proving himself a master of sci-fi ahead of his subsequent releases Blade Runner 2049 and Dune: Part One. Watch on Paramount+.
Released in 2018, A Quiet Place was such a hit it spawned a sequel (also on Paramount+; watch here), plus at least one upcoming spin-off and probably more. If you haven’t revisited it in the past five years, it’s well worth another look; the cast (headed up by real-life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, the latter of whom also directed and co-wrote) remains as appealing as ever, and the deceptively simple concept, concerning Earth’s submission to aliens who attack anything that makes noise, remains nail-bitingly tense. Watch on Paramount+.
Another 2018 release, this sci-fi eco-horror from Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Ex Machina, Devs) follows a team of scientists (Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny) who venture into a mysterious forest zone where everything has been tainted by an alien presence. It’s trippy and terrifying, with monstrous imagery that lingers long after the end credits roll. Watch on Paramount+.
How do you follow one of the most successful found-footage movies of all time? By doing something completely different in both story and style, yet set in the same universe. An alien invasion forms the backdrop of this tale starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a woman who is either trapped in—or being protected by—a bunker that also houses two strangers played by John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr. Released in 2016, 10 Cloverfield Lane was director Dan Trachtenberg’s feature debut; he went on to tell a different sort of alien drama in 2022 Predator prequel Prey. Watch on Paramount+.
A box-office bomb when it arrived in 1995, despite the star power of Denzel Washington and a pre-LA Confidential Russell Crowe, Virtuosity has aged into a dated yet entertaining “what if” about the perils of mixing crime, law enforcement, and virtual reality. Watch on Paramount+.
On the other side of “what if” sci-fi crime stories, this 2002 Steven Spielberg-Tom Cruise team-up (loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s 1956 novella) still feels eerily prescient. It’s set in 2054—really not that far in the future—but certain elements sure feel like they could be happening right now. Watch on Paramount+.
Sci-fi can be sexy, too! Exhibit A: this 1968 comic book-inspired tale starring Jane Fonda as an exceptionally fetching space adventurer. Watch on Paramount+.
Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers may now play as a thinly veiled McCarthyism metaphor, but there’s no denying the incredible way it brings fear, panic, and paranoia to the screen. Plus, the idea of “pod people” in any context is scary as hell. Watch on Paramount+.
Thanks to its team-up with Showtime, Paramount+ also has the excellent 1978 remake starring Donald Sutherland, which takes the pod-people plot of the original and somehow makes it even scarier than hell. And if you’re still itching for some Star Trek… Leonard Nimoy is in this, too. Watch on Paramount+.