‘3 Body Problem’ Series Review: Historical Drama Seamlessly Meets Futuristic Sci-Fi Suspense

DB Weiss and David Benioff became household names with Game of Thrones. The series became one of the greatest TV series of all time and won several accolades, including Emmys. Almost five years later, Weiss and Benioff are back on the small screen with the TV adaptation of 3 Body Problem. The latest Netflix series is based on the Chinese novel The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin. The above-mentioned novel was considered unadaptable for many years because of its massive scale. (Sound familiar, Game of Thrones fans?) However, Weiss and Benioff, along with Alexander Woo, took the gamble of bringing the novel to life and taking viewers on a breathtaking and emotional journey.

The series begins with striking visuals depicting the tumultuous backdrop of the 1966 Chinese Cultural Revolution in Beijing. A section of society wants to bring about change in China and impose its ideologies. So, they are eliminating anyone perceived as an obstacle to realizing that aspiration. Subsequently, they kill a professor in front of his daughter, Ye Wenjie (played by Zine Tseng). After her father’s death, all Wenjie wants is to end this pathetic world. 

3 Body Problem. Jess Hong as Jin Cheng in episode 101 of 3 Body Problem. Cr. Ed Miller/Netflix © 2024
Jess Hong as Jin Cheng in episode 101 of 3 Body Problem. Image courtesy of Netflix.

However, something strange happens when the Chinese government and the military choose her to lead a mysterious space mission. Meanwhile, in the current era, scientists are dying mysteriously across the globe. The police are trying to figure out the reason but haven’t been able to catch the culprit. As the narrative unfolds, viewers discover the direct correlation between the deaths of scientists and the events surrounding a pivotal space mission in China.

Netflix’s 3 Body Problem is nothing short of a miracle in the realm of science-fiction. It delivers a complex and captivating story from start to finish. The show draws viewers into a world of scientific intrigue without compromising on human emotions. It’s the best of both worlds. Like Game of Thrones, the latest sci-fi series is a testament to Weiss and Benioff’s genius of translating complicated source material into compelling television. On the other hand, Alexander Woo helped the duo dive deeper into the complexities of time and space, challenging viewers to examine the nature of humanity. Although fans were concerned about the show’s execution after GoT’s lackluster ending, 3 Body Problem is strong evidence of Weiss and Benioff’s storytelling prowess.

Honestly, adapting 3 Body Problem was never going to be easy. Clocking in at more than 400 pages, the novel is filled with complex storylines and scientific complexities that are really hard to understand. But one thing that the creators of this show have done exceptionally well is how they challenge viewers to engage deeply with its heavy narrative. They abstain from feeding everything to the audience and make them a part of the story, taking them on a convoluted journey. This approach enhances the overall viewing experience, inviting audiences to immerse themselves in the show’s richly detailed universe. And there are a lot of details.

3 Body Problem. (L to R) Jovan Adepo as Saul Durand, Alex Sharp as Will Downing, John Bradley as Jack Rooney in episode 101 of 3 Body Problem. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024
 Jovan Adepo as Saul Durand, Alex Sharp as Will Downing, John Bradley as Jack Rooney in episode 101 of 3 Body Problem. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Starting with Countdown and throughout the eight episodes, 3 Body Problem unravels a series of mysteries and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Even though the series primarily focuses on several aspects of science, it never loses sight of the human experience and explores the themes of love, fear, and longing. These moments are really crucial, bringing the story back into the world of realism. The dual timelines add depth and complexity to its narrative structure, with characters from different eras converging to shape the course of events. 

Despite being strong in every other aspect, there are certain sequences where visual effects could have been better. Although it doesn’t change the viewing experience, the occasional shortcomings in the visual effects department would undoubtedly be irritating for some people. Apart from good storytelling and direction, the series boasts epic action sequences that help viewers realize the urgency of its comprehensive narrative.

The acting in Netflix’s 3 Body Problem is magnetic

As far as acting is concerned, Benedict Wong and Liam Cunningham give spectacular performances as Da Shi and Thomas Wade. Cunningham’s portrayal of the no-nonsense Wade captivates audiences with its magnetic intensity, while Wong’s performance adds depth and intrigue to the story. They both have a commanding presence on the screen. 

However, Alex Sharp’s refined performance as Will Downing takes your heart away. His story gives the much-needed emotional depth to the narrative and is crucial. Meanwhile, all the actors, such as Eiza Gonzales, Jovan AdepoJohn BradleyJess HongMarlo Kelly, Sea ShimookaJonathan Pryce, and Rosalind Chao, are magnificent in their respective roles. The chemistry between Gonzales and Hong is one of the highlights of this show.

As the first season of 3 Body Problem comes to a close, it leaves viewers wanting more and paves the way for future editions. The Netflix series masterfully crafts a narrative that seamlessly blends historical drama with futuristic suspense. With its gripping plot, stellar performances, and thought-provoking themes, this series is a triumph in (almost) every aspect. The first season sets the stage for an epic journey, and that’s why 3 Body Problem is a must-watch for everyone.

3 Body Problem. (L to R) Benedict Wong as Da Shi, Eiza González as Auggie Salazar in episode 102 of 3 Body Problem. Cr. Ed Miller/Netflix © 2024
Benedict Wong as Da Shi, Eiza González as Auggie Salazar in episode 102 of 3 Body Problem. Image courtesy of Netflix.

3 Body Problem is now streaming on Netflix.

Are you going to check out the series? Did you already read the book 3 Body Problem was based on? Let us know on X @MoviesWeTexted.

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