It’s almost the weekend, and that means you should book in another Gizmodo movie night. It’s been a big couple of weeks for the red planet, with the recent discovery of flowing water and this week’s cinematic debut of The Martian, so step into your space suit — these are the best Martian, moon and space TV shows and movies streaming online right now.
We’ve re-jigged our existing Netflix Movie Night series, and brought in Australia’s other popular subscription video on demand services — Stan and Presto — to give you a broader selection of movies and TV shows to enjoy. On all three services, you can watch from your tablet or smartphone, on your PC or laptop, through your Smart TV, or through a media streaming dongle like the Google Chromecast, although specifics can vary.
Not what you’re after? Check out some other Gizmodo Movie Night suggestions:
Notable exclusions from this list that aren’t already on a streaming service: John Carter, DOOM, Moon, 2001: A Space Odyssey…
Total Recall is one of the best and most realistic films about Mars that has ever been made. If you disagree with me, then you’re wrong. It’s a fast-paced, gory, violent, frenetic thrill-ride that sees Douglas Quaid (Arnie) working as a construction guy — on Mars, by the way — until he takes a trip to Rekall, a company that alters memories to create virtual vacations, and everything starts to go wrong. Get your ass to Mars! Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: WARNING: FEATURES HIGH IMPACT SEX SCENES AND VIOLENCE. Douglas Quaid opts to enjoy a virtual holiday via implanted memories but the procedure awakens a former identity leading him on a dangerous mission to Mars.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn may sound super-lame — a movie based on the fourth instalment of a video game series? — but it’s actually pretty good; it even won a Streamy Award for its achievements in furthering online video. And online video is what Gizmodo Movie Night is all about, damn it! Forward Unto Dawn is set in the Halo universe, and this version is the extended 90-minute feature film version of what was originally five 15-minute shorts. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: Based on the globally renowned ‘Halo®’ franchise, the new live-action drama Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn delivers a dramatic and personal story of heroism and sacrifice.
The Fifth Element is set in the 23rd century, in a future where space travel is possible, cars fly, aliens exist, and some guys like
Bruce Willis John McClane Korben Dallas just gotta make a living. When a five-thousand-year-old prophecy is set in motion, he’s stuck in the middle with a perfect human who just happens to be a very attractive woman. Oh, and the fate of the universe is in his hands, the hands he used to drive a taxi with. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: New York cab driver Korben Dallas didn’t mean to be a hero, but he just picked up the kind of fare that only comes along every five thousand years: A perfect beauty, a perfect being, a perfect weapon.
Stargate Atlantis is every bit as good as any of the other Stargate TV series, with the amazing blue-sky concept of taking a promising and brilliant team of scientists working with alien technologies and a military support team, transporting them to another galaxy and stranding them away from the security of planet Earth — that means a bunch of space travel. Plus the Wraith are some of the best and most devilish antagonists in any sci-fi TV series around. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: Dr. Elizabeth Weir and Lt. Col. John Sheppard pilot their crew straight into the lost civilization of Atlantis to explore its long-hidden secrets.
Iron Sky is about Nazis. On the moon. After their defeat in World War II, said Nazis set up a base there, hidden away from earthly view on the dark side, to build their power and return to our planet and rule it with an iron fist. This Finnish-Australian-German science fiction film has a great deal of comedy to it, and while it has its flaws, it’s really worth a watch — even if just for the “Nazis on the moon” concept, and the fact that you see the dark side of the moon. Watch it now on Stan.
Stan: The Nazis set up a secret base on the dark side of the moon in 1945 where they hide out and plan to return to power in 2018.
Gravity is an incredibly claustrophobic for a movie that’s all about space and the dangers thereof, about vacuum and emptiness. Its sound effects and music were good enough to win multiple Oscars, and it’s visually stunning — one for the home theatre. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are supreme in their respective roles as grizzled veteran astronaut and greenhorn medical engineer, and the story will keep you gripped. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: When debris destroys their shuttle, a medical engineer and a seasoned astronaut find themselves floating through space, with no connection to Earth.
Doctor Who‘s 2005 reboot brought back one of sci-fi’s most loved and most interesting characters, the titular Time Lord. This is a genuine adventure, and each episode stands on its own with excellent storylines and character writing, and a bunch of different planets — and times — to visit. Netflix has a whole seven seasons of Doctor Who for you to choose from, too — my recommendation is to start at the start. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: An updated incarnation of everybody’s favorite time-traveling Doctor sets about fighting nefarious aliens and other foes in this epic sci fi series.
Apollo 13 is the movie to watch, if you could only watch one movie about space. That’s because it’s all about the journey and the science, not the personalities. It’s based on a true story, too, following the aborted Apollo 13 moon landing mission that almost killed the three astronauts onboard and threw NASA into crisis mode. Six days aboard a spaceship that was falling apart around them, this is a proper tale of survival against the odds. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Technical troubles scuttle the Apollo 13 mission in 1971, risking the lives of astronaut Jim Lovell and his crew in this chronicle of a true story.
Men In Black is about two secret agents tasked with shielding human life and Earth from the many and myriad alien species that also call it home. When the fate of the galaxy falls into their capable hands, they have to protect it from evil. Men In Black is a lighthearted alien flick, but it’s not campy or silly; it’s one you can enjoy with the kids and a massive bowl of popcorn and Will Smith all together on your couch at home. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A streetwise cop is enlisted to work with a veteran government agent on a team that monitors space aliens living on Earth, unbeknownst to the public.
Armageddon. Guys, you know where this is going, right? I could stay awake just to hear you breathing, watch you smile while you are sleeping. While you’re far away and dreaming, I could spend my life in this sweet surrender. I could stay lost in this moment forever. Every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure. *Cue Aerosmith guitar solo, cue Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck, cue giant asteroid heading for Earth* Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: As a massive asteroid hurtles toward Earth, NASA’s head honcho hatches a plan to split the deadly rock in two before it annihilates the entire planet.
Mission To Mars is one of two movies about Mars released in the year 2000. The other was Red Planet, and rest assured that Mission To Mars is by far the better of the two — it’s one of the movies I used to rent on VHS back in the day. It’s directed by Brian de Palma of Scarface and Mission: Impossible fame, has a soundtrack by Ennio Morricone (of Sergio Leone’s westerns, as well as a bunch of Tarantino’s), and it’s about… a mission to Mars. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: When a mysterious disaster hits the first manned mission to Mars a rescue team is launched to bring back any survivors. Director Brian De Palma’s sci-fi adventure stars Tim Robbins and Gary Sinise.
The X-Files isn’t explicitly about space or the moon or Mars, but it’s about all the weird things that come from up that way. FBI agents Mulder and Scully investigate alien occurences in this essential sci-fi series, and we all know that the truth is still out there. This is one of those series that is required reading if you want to enjoy any other sci-fi. Plus, it’s getting a six-part miniseries sequel as of January next year — we can’t wait. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: The legendary drama series about FBI special agents who investigate cases called “X-Files,” involving all manner of unexplained phenomena, monsters and extraterrestrial life, from the bizarre to the terrifyingly commonplace.
Space Station 76 is a super-campy homage to ’70s visions of the future; it’s as much a comedy as it is a drama about life in space, and you can forgive its (several) foibles for the pure silliness of the world where a bunch of unhappy people live in the ether above Earth. It’s like 2001: A Space Odyssey, except it doesn’t take itself anywhere near as seriously. Watch it for the big hair and big moustaches, and ignore the fact that it’s just a bit weird. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: This groovy, oddball, all-star space comedy tracks the misadventures of lonely individuals aboard a 70s space station, and the shockwaves resulting from the arrival of a beautiful stranger.
Europa Report is “one of the most thrilling and realistic depictions of space exploration since Moon or 2001: A Space Odyssey”, according to Space.com. With a plaudit like that, Europa Report is in good company as one of very few movies that actually takes the science in science fiction seriously. Like the name might suggest, the movie centres around a manned mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, after signs of single-celled life are found. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: When unmanned probes suggest that a hidden ocean could exist underneath Europa’s icy surface and may contain single-celled life, six of the best astronauts are sent on a malfunctioning mission.
Sunshine is a freaky film. It skips the moon and Mars, and goes straight to the star in the middle of our solar system. It’s freaky not just because of the upsetting future — where the Sun is dying, and there’s only one possibility of saving it by delivering a nuclear device right into its heart — but also because of the horrible, horrible, gruesome things that go on to the crew as they go about their mission. Settle in with some popcorn and try not to jump. Watch it now on Presto.
Presto: It is the year 2057, the Sun is dying and mankind faces extinction. Earth’s last hope lies with a crew whose mission it is to deliver a nuclear device designed to reignite the fading sun. But disaster strikes everywhere in this superb blend of doomsday thriller and thoughtful sci-fi starring Rose Byrne.
Disclosure: Stan is a 50/50 joint venture between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media. Allure Media, the company which publishes Gizmodo Australia, is also owned by Fairfax.