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3 Body Problem (TV series)


3 Body Problem (TV series)


3 Body Problem is an American science fiction television series created by David Benioff, D. B. Weiss and Alexander Woo, based on the Hugo Award–winning Chinese novel series Remembrance of Earth's Past by Liu Cixin. It is the second live-action adaptation after the 2023 Chinese television series. The series premiered on Netflix with eight episodes on March 21, 2024, and received positive reviews. In May 2024, the series was renewed for a second season.

Premise

Ye Wenjie, an astrophysicist who sees her father beaten to death during a struggle session in the Chinese Cultural Revolution, is conscripted by the military. Due to her scientific background, she is sent to a secret military base in a remote region. Her decision at the base to respond to contact from an alien planet affects a group of scientists in the present day, forcing them to confront humanity's greatest threat.

Cast and characters

Main

  • Jovan Adepo as Dr. Saul Durand (based on the character of Luo Ji)
  • John Bradley as Jack Rooney (based on the character of Hu Wen) (season 1)
  • Rosalind Chao as older Dr. Ye Wenjie (season 1)
    • Zine Tseng as young Ye Wenjie (season 1)
  • Liam Cunningham as Thomas Wade
  • Eiza González as Dr. Augustina "Auggie" Salazar (based on the characters of Cheng Xin and Wang Miao)
  • Jess Hong as Dr. Jin Cheng (based on the characters of Wang Miao, AA, and Cheng Xin)
  • Marlo Kelly as Tatiana Haas (based on the characters of Shen Yufei and AA)
  • Alex Sharp as Dr. Will Downing (based on the character of Yun Tianming) (season 1)
  • Sea Shimooka as Sophon
  • Saamer Usmani as Prithviraj "Raj" Varma (based on the character of Zhang Beihai)
  • Benedict Wong as Clarence Shi (based on the character of "Da" Shi Qiang)
  • Jonathan Pryce as Mike Evans (season 1)

Recurring

  • Vedette Lim as Vera Ye
  • Eve Ridley as Follower
  • Ben Schnetzer as young Mike Evans
  • John Dagleish as Felix
  • Gerard Monaco as Collins
  • Adrian Edmondson as Denys Porlock
  • CCH Pounder as Secretary-General of the United Nations Lillian Joseph
  • Lan Xiya as Tang Hongjing (Red Guard)
  • Josh Brener as Sebastian Kent

Guest

  • Mark Gatiss as Isaac Newton
  • Reece Shearsmith as Alan Turing
  • Conleth Hill as Pope Gregory XIII
  • Phil Wang as Aristotle
  • Naoko Mori as Marie Curie
  • Kevin Eldon as Sir Thomas More
  • Jason Forbes as Omar Khayyam
  • Jim Howick as Harry
  • Nitin Ganatra as Ranjit Varma
  • Dustin Demri-Burns as Ted
  • Tom Wu as Count of The West
  • Guy Burnet as Rufus
  • Jake Tapper as himself
  • Bobak Ferdowsi as Mission Director
  • Stacy Abalogun as Thelma

Episodes

Production

Development

It was announced in September 2020 that David Benioff and D. B. Weiss were developing a television adaptation of the novel at Netflix, with Alexander Woo co-writing alongside them. Although a second season has yet to be confirmed, they have said they plan to adapt the whole trilogy, which would likely include three or more seasons.

On December 25, 2020, Lin Qi, founder of Yoozoo Games and an executive producer on 3 Body Problem, died after ingesting a poisoned beverage, with four others becoming ill. An executive at Yoozoo Games, Xu Yao, was sentenced to death for murder in March 2024, the day after the series premiered on Netflix. Lin had purchased the rights to the book franchise and hired Xu Yao, a lawyer, in 2017, to manage the rights to Liu's novels; the poisonings were an attempt by Xu to take control of the subsidiary company that owned the rights to the series. On May 15, 2024, Netflix renewed the series for a second season.

Casting

In August 2021, Eiza González entered negotiations to join the cast. The same month, Derek Tsang was hired to direct the pilot episode. González would be confirmed as joining the cast by that October, with additional castings including Benedict Wong, Tsai Chin, John Bradley, Liam Cunningham and Jovan Adepo. In June 2022, Jonathan Pryce, Rosalind Chao, Ben Schnetzer and Eve Ridley were added to cast.

Filming

Production on the series began on November 8, 2021, with principal photography taking place in the United Kingdom. Filming took place in London over a nine month shoot between October 2021 and mid 2022.

At Netflix's Tudum 2022 event, Alexander Woo, David Benioff, and D.B. Weiss announced that the production of the first season was completed.

Release

3 Body Problem was released on March 21, 2024. A companion podcast to be hosted by Jason Concepcion and Maggie Aderin-Pocock was also announced alongside it. On January 10, 2024, SXSW Film & TV Festival announced 3 Body Problem as the Opening Night TV Premiere.

Collection James Bond 007

Reception

Critical response

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported a 80% approval rating with an average rating of 6.8/10, based on 104 critic reviews. The website's critics' consensus reads, "Tackling its ambitious source material with impressive gusto, 3 Body Problem's first season proves a solid start that should leave sci-fi fans eager for more." Metacritic assigned it a score of 70 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Cindy White of The A.V. Club gave the series a B+ and said, "It may wear the garb of prestige television, but underneath it's just a nerdy science-fiction show, with a healthy emphasis on the science." Reviewing the series for USA Today, Kelly Lawler gave a rating of 3/4 and wrote, "Benioff, Weiss and Woo took a book trilogy known more for its thought experiments in philosophy and theoretical physics than its plot and made a solid bit of hard sci-fi that is (mostly) accessible to more casual fans of the genre." Eric Deggans of NPR commented, "As the characters in 3 Body Problem lurch toward answers, we all get to bask in an ambitious narrative fueling an ultimately impressive tale. Just remember to be patient as the series sets the stage early on." Wenlei Ma of The Nightly described the series as "Ambitious, towering and crammed with big ideas about intellectual curiosity, exploration and our place in the universe while still managing to tell intimate stories about human relationships." Inkoo Kang of the "New Yorker" gave a positive review, writing "The Netflix adaptation of Liu Cixin’s trilogy mixes heady theoretical questions with genuine spectacle and heart."

Ben Travers of IndieWire gave a critical review, writing that "3 Body Problem is a sprawling drag, at turns disorienting in its use of inconsistent CGI to convey the story's momentousness and aggravating in its approach to character development and existential quandaries. The plot is easy enough to track, but the relief of realizing you can keep up with this motley crew of scientist pals — as they try to figure out why so many of their peers are dying off — is short-lived." Charles Pulliam-Moore of The Verge gave a mixed review, writing that "though David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, and Alexander Woo's 3 Body Problem is impressive, it really feels like just an introduction to Cixin Liu's deeper ideas." He opined that future seasons could explore the world of Liu's later novels.

Evan Lambert of Thought Catalog praised the series for addressing the sexism of Liu Cixin's Remembrance of Earth's Past novels, which he argued was rooted in the author's view "that women need the logic of men to balance them and temper their irrationality." He welcomed the showrunners' decision to split the novel's male protagonist Wang Miao into two female characters—Eiza Gonzalez's Auggie and Jess Hong's Jin Cheng—which in his view "provide a welcome female presence on a show that could have easily become a sexist mess." Lambert also praised the Netflix series for developing the antagonistic Ye Wenjie into "a principled anti-hero rather than a hothead devoid of logic." He also discussed the differences between Western and Chinese feminism, with the latter having to operate in an "antagonistic framework" characterized by state censorship of social media platforms.

Response in China

3 Body Problem received a mixed response in China. While Netflix is outlawed there, viewers can use VPNs to circumvent geo-restrictions, or view pirated versions. According to The Guardian, the 3 Body Problem hashtag had been read 2.3 billion times and discussed 1.424 million times on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Viewers criticised the racebending and gender swapping of several protagonists, cultural appropriation, as well as the "dumbing-down" of concepts to appeal to non-Chinese audiences, and compared it unfavorably to the 2023 Chinese television adaptation, which received much critical acclaim there. Other Weibo users praised the Netflix series' depiction of the Cultural Revolution, fidelity to source material, and wider appeal to a global audience. The Chinese film review website Mtszimu praised the Netflix adaptation as "not only a new interpretation of Liu Cixin's original work but also an important contribution to global science-fiction literature". China Military Online, a state media outlet controlled by the People's Liberation Army, criticized the series because it kept Chinese antagonists while doing away with the book's portrayal of modern-day China.

In response to social media criticism about racebending, cast member Benedict Wong said that Liu had given the showrunners his blessing to move the story towards a global one. Wong also cited the presence of several Asian cast members including himself, Jess Hong, Rosalind Chao and Zine Tseng. Hong and Chao also said that the Netflix adaptation preserved the novel's depiction of the Cultural Revolution and its legacy. Hong said that the adaptation sought to "globalize a story that was very heavily Eastern-focused into a Western perspective, a global perspective. Because, we're all from different countries, for the actors, you get to pull in all of these brilliant storylines into one emotional core, which is quite brilliant."

Aja Romano of Vox suggested that the media exaggerated Chinese social media nationalistic outrage against the Netflix show. And he found the Chinese audience "praising the show and criticizing it in equal parts", and shared many critical commentaries similar to the ones from the Western audience, underscoring that criticism of the show is universal.

The original author, Liu Cixin, commented on the series, saying, "I enjoyed the part of the series where many characters were added, and their relationships were explored. However, it was strange how all these characters seemed to know each other already. Fighting against the alien invasion should be a collective effort of all humanity, but instead, it was depicted as if a group of classmates were drafted to fight against the aliens." Liu also said that the depiction of Cultural Revolution in the series did not deviate from his original work, which was criticized on Chinese social media.

Depiction and interpretation

The 3 Body Problem contains a realistic depiction of the struggle session during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which was met with divided opinions in China and the United States. In an interview, David Benioff told Hollywood Reporter the show "isn't a commentary on cancel culture", but agreed the fiction has parallel with contemporary sociopolitical landscape. Derek Tsang, the director of the first two episodes, was recruited due to his Chinese background to ensure the authenticity of the Cultural Revolution period. Tsang explained that the goal of the episode was to convince the audience to empathize with the protagonist, Ye Wenjie, and understand her motivation and position in the story.

Joel Stein of The Hollywood Reporter noted the Cultural Revolution scene sparked split interpretations from American liberal and conservative critics, with the conservative side focusing on its warning against "Wokism" and "far-left agenda", whereas the liberal viewers found the scenes as a warning to conservative-led antiscience, anti-vaccine activism, and regression on civil rights.

Accolades

See also

  • Three-body problem – a problem of mathematics and physics, as well as classical and quantum mechanics, regarding any three objects and the gravitational effects they may have on one another.

References

External links

  • 3 Body Problem on Netflix
  • 3 Body Problem at IMDb

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: 3 Body Problem (TV series) by Wikipedia (Historical)