The modern era is a wealth of opportunities for fans of science fiction, withStreaming Servicesoffers access to huge libraries of classics and new productions. But as the industry fragments and contracts, you may find that some things you want to see aren't available at all, at least digitally on demand.
Rights issues, budgets and other obstacles have turned these great productions into ghosts in the machine that can only be viewed via physical media or shady torrents. Here is a list of 10 high quality sci-fi movies and TV shows not available to stream.
Note that this list applies only to US residents (who are not sneaky with aVPN) because of the incredibly complex issue of global rights management.
1. The abyss
James Cameron is currently at the top of the world with the long delaysAvatar 2: The Way of Water proves the haters wrongcreeping up to $2 billion(Opens in a new window)in cash receipts. That's why it's extraordinarily strange that Cameron's 1989 deep sea filmThe abysscannot be streamed in the US. In the Caribbean, a rescue team tries to salvage a sunken submarine before a rival Soviet team gets there. Down in the depths they discover a hidden alien civilization. The film was a modest success, but you can see a lot of Cameron's future obsessions in it, and it really should be streamed.
2. The Immortal
This 1970's sci-fi series is deeply underrated and should be available on a streaming platform, but just isn't. Christopher George plays test car driver Ben Richards, who looks young for his age and never gets sick. When he gives his boss a blood transfusion, the doctors discover that a cocktail of antibodies is coursing through his veins that can cure any disease. Of course, his millionaire boss wants Richards locked in a lab to fortify his life forever, so Richards goes on the run. In each episode, he escapes from the wealthy vampires trying to exploit his blood while trying to find his long-lost brother who may have the same condition.
3. Dawn of the Dead
The original by George RomeroNight of the Living Deadhas fallen into the public domain thanks to a copyright registration mistake, so you can stream it basically anywhere. butdawn of the dead,the 1978 successor, widely considered to be as influential as the first, is nowhere to be found. Following a group of four survivors holed up in an abandoned mall is a savvy and gory show of consumerism that's fresh today. You can stream the 2004 remake of Zack Snyder, but that's a pretty poor substitute. However, the original is available on all kinds of physical media, including the cool three-cut 4K Blu-ray version of the film and the original soundtrack by the Italian horror gods Goblin.
4. The magician of speed and time
Though streaming has enabled some great low-budget wonders to find new audiences, others still fall through the cracks.The magician of speed and timewas the passion project of animator Mike Jittlov, who used a dizzying array of '80s-era tricks and tools to create a film unlike any other. The titular wizard (played by Jittlov) is an independent filmmaker trying to realize his dream project, but this is something far stranger and wilder, a technologically ambitious extravaganza full of subliminal effects, guest appearances, inside jokes and more.Disney+should pick it up.
This German film, released in 2003, seems prescient in how it tackles the ethical issues surrounding human cloning, but we can't prove that because you can't stream it anywhere. Franka Potente plays Iris, a concert pianist who fears multiple sclerosis will render her unable to play. So she gets a scientist friend to clone her and raises the clone as her daughter Siri. But when Siri discovers she's a clone, the relationship between mother and daughter becomes strained. It's a unique and compelling film that really should be available online.
althoughX-FilesEasily available to stream, this cult spin-off show is nowhere to be found. The brilliant Lance Henriksen plays ex-FBI agent Frank Black, who joins a private company called Millennium Group and uses his supernatural - but not psychic - ability to see through the eyes of serial killers. Twisty conspiracies were the order of the day, and three seasons ofMillenniumdelivered the one in spades. Both Henriksen and creator Chris Carter have expressed interest in returning to the estate, so maybe that will work outHalloor a service to stream the archives.
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Ron Howard's 1985 sci-fi film was a smash hit at the box office, so it's deeply confusing that it's not streaming anywhere. The plot follows a group of residents of a Florida retirement home who swim in a pool charged with a mysterious alien energy that restores their health and vitality. It features a great performance by Wilford Brimley, made even funnier by the fact that he was only 50 at the time. Why can't you stream it? One theory has it that rights issues with the film's music — a common problem in modern times — kept it off American platforms.
Woody Allen's reputation is problematic these days, to say the least, but you can't deny the 1973ssleeperis a goofy little sci-fi masterpiece. Allen plays health food store owner Miles Monroe, who is accidentally cryogenically frozen and wakes up 200 years later. The world of 2173 is an antiseptic police state run by an anonymous "leader" and Monroe becomes embroiled in a stupid plan to overthrow the government using clones, robots, brainwashing and more. Other Allen films are available on streaming platforms, but this one is oddly absent.
9. Liquid Sky
Slava Tsukermans Film von 1982liquid skyis one of the most visually iconic films of the decade, so it sucks that you can't stream it. In a seedy corner of New York City, a cocaine-addicted model meets aliens who feed on the endorphins released in the human brain at the moment of orgasm. Shot on location without permits, the film's cinematography overflows with surreal lighting and color accompanied by a wild synthesized soundtrack. This is an essential movie to add to a service's streaming library.
10. Nowhere man
The UPN network was not characterized by many good programs, but by the 1995snowhere manstood out and received critical acclaim, although it was canceled after one season. Bruce Greenwood starred as photojournalist Thomas Veil, who wakes up to find he's been wiped out: his wife claims she doesn't know him, his bank accounts are closed, his studio has a new owner. This identity theft is the work of covert elements in the US government trying to punish Veil for a photograph he took of wartime atrocities. Throughout the season, he tours the United States evading FBI agents. The final episode twist isbold. Too bad you can't stream it anywhere.
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