You can get comprehensive lists of everything coming to streaming services anywhere. But half of those titles you don’t care about, and the other half are terrible. Where’s the good stuff? io9 is here to help.
Below you’ll find what we deem to be the best sci-fi and fantasy movies and TV coming to Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu in September.
Available September 1
Groundhog Day - Harold Ramis’ genius time travel comedy was a little under-appreciated when it was released but in the decades since, it’s become more and more revered. Deservedly so. It’s insanely rewatchable, funny, and heartwarming.
King Kong - The Netflix press release just lists this as “King Kong,” but we’ve confirmed it’s Peter Jackson’s 2005 take on the giant ape story. Obviously, it isn’t the best version (that honor goes to the one that came out back in 1933), but it’s not too bad.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - No, it’s not as good as the book, but this adaptation of the wonderful, inventive Douglas Adams novel is about as good as you can get. It’s funny, it’s weird, it’s got a great cast, and it’s definitely worth a rewatch.
Lilo & Stitch and The Emperor’s New Groove - Besides the fact that these are both Disney animated films, they really don’t have much in common. But each is noteworthy in its own way and will make any kids in your orbit very happy, especially the charming, Hawaii-set extraterrestrial tale Lilo & Stitch.
Black Panther - The highest-grossing U.S. film of the year—and one of the most entertaining, well-made films of any year—comes to Netflix, and now Wakanda really is forever.
Next Gen - To be fair, we don’t know if this Netflix original is good. But the trailer suggests a theatrical-worthy animated adventure about a young girl who befriends a killer robot. We’re intrigued.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - Edgar Wright’s amazing, kinetic adaptation of the Bryan Lee O’Malley comic book series may be not just one of the best comic book movies of all time, but one of the best video game movies of all time too, despite not being about a video game. Also, much of the cast has gotten insanely famous since this movie so rewatching it has an added layer of awesome.
The Witch - If you’re reading this column, odds are you’ve seen The Witch already. If you haven’t, though, mark down this date. It’s one of the creepiest, most gusty horror movies in a long time, and is about a Puritan family being stalked by an ancient evil.
Maniac - Again, we have yet to see this Netflix original limited series, but based on the brief glimpses that have been released, it feels safe to assume that Cary Fukunaga’s latest, which stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, will be pretty great.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - Though many things have changed about the Pirates franchise over the years (Johnny Depp’s public image, increasingly bad sequels, etc), this first film remains a modern miracle: a theme park ride that became an incredibly exciting and funny movie that holds up over repeat viewings.
A Wrinkle in Time - The reviews on Ava DuVernay’s recent adaptation were pretty mixed. But now that it’s coming to Netflix, it feels like a good time to either revisit it with fresh eyes or see it for the first time, if you missed it in theaters.
The Hurricane Heist - Of all the great movies coming to streaming this month, this may be the one I’m most excited about. I haven’t seen it yet, but it feels like it would be the perfect, dumb film to stream and enjoy.
Available September 1
Beowulf - I haven’t seen Robert Zemeckis’ performance capture retelling of the famous poem since it was released in 2007, but I loved it back then. I’m sure the effects don’t hold up 11 years later but I’d imagine the performances and script do. And now that it’s on streaming, I can check.
Big Top Pee-wee - This sequel to 1986's Pee-wee’s Big Adventure isn’t quite on that film’s level, but it’s still worth a watch. The weirdly wonderful, circus-set story is different and still perfect in a Pee-wee way.
Double Impact - Two Van Dammes for the price of one? Yes, please. Double Impact is undoubtedly one of the most memorable films of the action star’s career. Is it one of the best? Debatable, but it’s well worth a stream or two. (Also available on Hulu.)
Dragonheart - From the director of The Fast and the Furious as well as xXx comes this Dennis Quaid-starring fantasy adventure that was nominated for an Oscar for its CG dragons. It’s not all that memorable but it’s entertaining and exciting to be sure.
Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II - The original Ghostbusters is an all-time classic. The sequel isn’t, but still has its moments. Either way, Ghostbusters II on its worst day is one of the best movies coming to streaming, and if you can watch the original, too, that’s even better.
Prancer - The 1989 Christmas tale Prancer is one of those movies you definitely saw when you were growing up, really liked, but probably haven’t thought about in 20 years. Now it’s on Amazon to help you jump-start that nostalgic Christmas spirit.
Pumpkinhead and Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings - Halloween is just around the corner, so it’s cool that one of the lesser-known horror franchises is coming to streaming. Only the first film, directed by Stan Winston, was released theatrically, but if you want a good cult horror series to dive into, here’s a great start. (Also available on Hulu.)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - This Kevin Costner film is probably best known for its uber-popular theme song by Bryan Adams (“Everything I Do, I Do It For You”) but for a certain generation, like mine, it was also our formative Robin Hood. It doesn’t hold up particularly well, but it’s still full of 1990s awesomeness.
The Amityville Horror - Famous for being based on an alleged true story, this 1979 film starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder is not only good and scary, it’s historically significant for starting a horror franchise that’s alive and well to this day. (Also available on Hulu.)
Available September 1
13 Going on 30 - This Jennifer Garner romantic comedy isn’t just delightful, it’s got a Marvel-ous supporting cast including Mark Ruffalo as the love interest, Andy Serkis as the boss, and Judy Greer as the frenemy. It’s a movie you can watch again and again.
Adaptation - When was the last time you watched Adaptation? Even if the answer is “yesterday,” now is a great time for a revisit. Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze’s imaginative adaptation of Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief is meta, hilarious, profound, and perfect.
The Bone Collector - It’s always disappointing when a film with two of the biggest actors in the world, in this case Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, doesn’t live up to that level of talent. The Bone Collector is like that, but it’s not terrible, and the combined charisma of late-1990s Denzel and Angelina is worth a lot.
Field of Dreams - If you stream it, we will watch.
The Fly - David Cronenberg’s creepy, gross, but oh-so-awesome film about a scientist( Jeff Goldblum) who fuses with a fly has to be seen to be believed. And if you’ve already seen it, see it again.
Miracle on 34th Street - This 1994 remake of the 1947 Christmas classic is actually pretty great. Richard Attenborough plays Santa, John Hughes co-wrote the script, and while the story doesn’t change much, the modern setting and budget make it feel even grander than the original.
Poltergeist II: The Other Side - While this sequel is certainly inferior to its original, it brings back the first film’s cast and continues that story. For that alone, if you like the original Poltergeist (and who doesn’t?), this is worth a watch. (Also available on Amazon)
Signs - Signs came out at the height of M. Night Shyamalan hype and was a huge hit, but doesn’t really get the same love as some of his other films. I think it should. It’s got big ideas, a great ending, and some gorgeous filmmaking.
Unbreakable - While Signs might be good, Unbreakable is great. We’ve written about it extensively, especially with the sequel finally coming out, and now you can catch up before Glass hits theaters in January. It’s one of the best and most inventive superhero movies ever.
What Dreams May Come - This sumptuous Robin Williams movie about a man going to heaven never quite lives up to its expectations, but it’s crazy ambitious and worth a stream for the visuals and lead performance alone.