3 Body Problem – TV Review

The legendary, now-tainted producers of the Game of Thrones, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, embarked on their highly anticipated new project, “The 3 Body Problem,” for quite some time. While many still consider the eighth season of their Westeros saga a major disgrace, I have always believed that they concluded the series reasonably. The outcome of their new project, overshadowed by the infamy of the eighth season, naturally sparked curiosity: Could they redeem themselves in the eyes of the audience? I cannot speak for the general audience, but I have much to say about the series. Unfortunately, most of what I have to say isn’t positive.

First and foremost, let’s address the premise… “The 3 Body Problem,” adapted from Cixin Liu’s novel of the same name, is a science fiction story that focuses on how humanity would respond to a potential conflict with a superior civilization. Ye Wenjie (Zine Tseng), who, due to her abilities and knowledge, was confined to a satellite and forced to be part of space research during Mao’s oppressive years in China, one day receives a dangerous message from space that should never be answered. Despite warnings not to respond to this message, Ye, fueled by her anger towards Earth, replies, inviting an unknown civilization from hundreds of light-years away to Earth.

Related Article  Childhood's End - TV Review

“The 3 Body Problem” strongly reminded me of the 2015 adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhood’s End.” In both, a vastly superior extraterrestrial civilization suddenly appears, attempting to solve the world’s problems. However, unlike “Childhood’s End,” this time, the arriving civilization, known as the Trisolarans, halfway through their journey, concludes that Earthlings are not worth saving and decides to annihilate humanity. When they openly express their challenges and accuse humans of being “insects,” people begin to devise plans to stop them.

I found the fundamental premise that the series aims to explore quite intriguing, as I’ve always been drawn to such themes. I’m open to any idea that portrays humanity on the brink of extinction. We’re enthusiasts of doomsday scenarios. However, this particular challenge is quite serious because the struggle of a society that has failed to even reach Type I on the Kardashev scale against a Type III civilization diminishes its credibility to some extent, although I can’t say it doesn’t add excitement. Is such a scenario even possible? Cixin Liu’s trilogy of three books primarily focuses on this topic, narrating humanity’s marathon to catch up with a civilization far more advanced than itself.

The biggest problem with the series is its fast-paced treatment of the subjects. In the first four episodes, the series focuses on physicists playing games with VR goggles, while the remaining four episodes turn into a calm, cold war tension where only mathematics is discussed, as if the first four episodes never happened. Although I haven’t read the books, I am familiar with the world and ideas created by Cixin Liu. Like the final season of Game of Thrones, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss chose to compress the topics instead of spreading them out, cramming the first book into the first four episodes and creating a serious pacing problem. The thematic differences between episodes are merely transitions between the books. And from what I gather, the second book is left unfinished in the season finale.

Another problem with the series is that everything revolves around a group of friends. A group of friends becomes part of a story that will ultimately save the world. It’s as if there’s no one else in the universe, as everything happens to this group of friends. Not only them, but also their acquaintances and lovers become part of the adventure in the same way, causing the series to lose some of its realism, at least in my eyes. Looking at the books, the topics generally develop around people who don’t know each other.

Another problem with the series is its tendency to be overly exaggerated, even for a science fiction narrative. Yes, it’s difficult to predict how people would react to events that we’ve never experienced before and may never experience. However, I believe that’s not it. Yes, cinema sometimes involves imagining possible scenarios when creating something outside of our rules of physics, which is somewhat of the art of prediction. In my opinion, the series lacks credibility in this regard and even falls short. If the sky were to randomly flicker worldwide today, I’m sure chaos would ensue. Or if a giant eye covering the sky dared to call everyone insects, I’m certain it would lead to a much bigger inferno than a few street riots made up of stock footage. Their relatively calm response to everything that happens in the series struck me as quite odd. There should have been much greater chaos. Calling flickering stars in the sky “deepfake” is something only middle-aged Facebook uncles who know nothing about the subject would do. It’s quite comical for a physicist to utter such a sentence.

Are there any positives to the series? Of course, there are. Despite its shortcomings, their focus on the Fermi Paradox, our first chance to witness the Dark Forest hypothesis in a project, the portrayal of the destruction suffered by San-Ti due to their three suns, the harsh reality of science and the fact that ultimately, humans or animals could be mercilessly sacrificed, the ship fragmentation scene reminiscent of the Fringe series, and the mathematical conflict in the last four episodes are, in my opinion, the highlights of the series. Although I’d like to praise the actors, they tend to get lost amidst the series’ exaggerated approaches. I can only say this for Marlo Kelly, who portrays Tatiana: Her career will skyrocket after this series.

In essence… “The 3 Body Problem” seems like a series made in the early 2000s that satisfies those who enjoy hypotheses and theories related to space but uses its premise rather weakly. The pacing problem is, unfortunately, the series’ most significant issue. If they had only focused on the first book and delved more seriously into the reactions of the characters and society, we might be having a different conversation. The series, conceptually, is fantastic. But for that, we must thank Cixin Liu. Adapting his written work directly was, of course, impossible. A polished and simplified version would have sufficed. However, unfortunately, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss fall short in this regard. I can’t call it a bad series, but I can easily say that it falls short of its promises.

Cast & Crew

creator: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Alexander Woo

writers: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Alexander Woo, Rose Cartwright, Madhuri Shekar

starring: Jovan Adepo, Liam Cunningham, Eiza González, Jess Hong, Benedict Wong, Marlo Kelly, Alex Sharp, Sea Shimooka, Rosalind Chao, Saamer Usmani, Jonathan Pryce, John Bradley, Zine Tseng

USA | 2024 | 8 EPISODES |


Ukrainian Creative Director | Motion Picture Writer | Horror Freak

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *