Let’s make a few things clear right away. We love theaters, we love television, and we love DVDs and Blu-rays. That said, we also love online streaming. And so we present this new weekly feature spotlighting the more important new science fiction-related releases of the past week from such sites as Hulu, Crackle, Redbox Instant, and the granddaddy of them all, Netflix. So without further ado, here is the best that legal streaming has to offer…
The Hunger Games (Netflix)
This ridiculously popular first entry adapted from Suzanne Collins’ mega-hit franchise tore up theaters, making it the 13th highest grossing film of all time, not adjusting for inflation. Though the sequel will of course be bigger and better, Gary Ross’ efforts here are accommodating for almost all audience types. Boys like Jennifer Lawrence’s hottie heroine, girls like Liam Hemsworth, and someone probably likes Lenny Kravitz dressed like “Prince from outer space.” Chances are, you’re beyond sick of hearing about this flick, so just know that if you’re into watching kids beat the shit out of each other, watch Battle Royale. For slightly less violent urges, this is the film for you.
Fringe: Seasons 1-4 (Netflix)
This FOX series was once known mainly for its connection to executive producers J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman, but it soon became a massive cult phenomenon within a sci-fi community that thrives on mythologies and spooky parallel universes. The Bishop father-and-son team presented a lot of wacky thing to viewers over the years, and while it’s unfortunate that the fifth season hasn’t been added yet, there are still plenty of shapeshifters and Observers to keep newcomers busy. Seasoned vets can check out the recently released tie-in, September’s Notebook or read about our writer Brent’s favorite episodes. We all win. Except for those wanting to see the fifth season.
Eureka: Season 5 (Netflix)
For those that are looking for a fifth season of something, however, look no further than the final season of Syfy’s Eureka, which wrapped up in July 2012. This season shows viewers the after-effects of the Astraeus crew’s trip to Titan, or whatever it was it did. Perhaps it’s best to stop there, since later seasons always allow for easy spoilers. Just take comfort in knowing that Colin Ferguson makes Sheriff Jack Carter humorous and engaging even as the plot gets more convoluted than the lineup of the network it aired on.
Darren Aronofsky’s debut feature is equal parts paranoid, genius, confusing, and scatterbrained. Sean Gullette is Max, a mathematician who slowly drives himself insane looking for a magic number at the center of all the universe’s mysteries, and his performance is impeccable, as is Ben Shenkman as the Orthodox Jew who gives Max’s crazy theories the time of day. It doesn’t leave viewers with peace or finality, but it’s a stark ride nonetheless, and not just because it’s in black and white.
Survival of the Dead (Netflix)
If you need a zombie fix this week…you should probably look elsewhere. This is by far George A. Romero’s weakest effort to date, focusing on an island where people hoping to reverse the zombie process. Some great gore, of course, but a lacking story and dreary performances put this one in the “only when I’m desperate” category.
Voltron: Lion Force & Astonishing X-Men (Netflix)
Animation for your eyeholes. I don’t even remember anything specific about the original Voltron from watching it in my youth, other than the faux decorations friends and I would don to try and look like the bots. And while the X-Men motion comics aren’t exactly our usual brand of science fiction, these were adapted from the first part of the comic series that was written by sci-fi mastermind Joss Whedon.
So there you have it, streamers. All Netflix this week, but that’ll probably change in the weeks to come. Our apologies if you’ve seen these on Netflix before, but this is what the website told me. In my ear. After it made fun of your shirt. Have a great week!