3 Body Problem

  • USA The Three-Body Problem (working title)
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A fateful decision in 1960s China echoes across space and time to a group of scientists in the present, forcing them to face humanity's greatest threat. (Netflix)

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English I considered quitting the series during the first two episodes, I wasn't enjoying, and the two main mystery themes dealt with didn't hook me at all. The countdown to whatever and the mystery video game were getting on my nerves. And it wasn't helped by the characters either, I didn't find any of them to be endearing in any way. It wasn't until the last few minutes with an interesting cliffhanger that always made me turn on the next episode. Well from episode three onwards, in which it becomes fully apparent what is actually going on in the grand scheme of things, I started to enjoy 3 Body Problem. The premise is fascinating, but I feel like they had to cut significantly from the book. There are a number of things that raise questions, but are they unexplained nonsense, or just unexplained details that the book may present better? If Benioff and Weiss have succeeded in anything, it is in making me want to read the book trilogy. ()


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English The book already makes it clear that the author is into hard sci-fi, problems, questions, disputations, proceduralism, analytical procedures, etc., which makes it interesting, distinguishing it from genre peers, but he can't wrap it up in plot (the outline works, the details don't), construction (he repeatedly plays on "now I'll explain my convoluted plans in incomplete detail"), build vivid characters (they're more vehicles for ideas, traits or actions than flesh-and-blood characters). It's undeniably interesting, but not fun. It's closest to Ted Chiang, but the latter doesn't lack some literary talent. So when you map 3 Body Problem in a way that forecloses disputation over issues, that doesn't revel in procedural procedures and bureaucracy, that "postpones it," it's a wonder it didn't fall apart like a house of cards. Yes, it's obtuse, naive and one-dimensional in places (which is also true of the book), not saved by thought-provoking reflections and solutions to the big problems of yesterday, today & tomorrow (as in the book), but the "big narrative science fiction" veil manages to cover it up deftly. So much so that despite the slow pace and all the above, it doesn't bore for a moment. And in the best moments (the big revelations of "We See All the People", the slicing of the tankers, etc.), which are not so few after all, it can even excite. | S1: 4/5 | ()



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English Of course, the book is in a different league altogether, and if Game of Thrones had stuck to it would been better. I was honestly worried that we'd miss out on the awesome scenes of the floating army or the slicing of the ship, but no, they just ruined the characters we love from the books, and worse still they made them all buddies, so the theme of outcasts and weirdos went out the window. Not only are they multinational, babbling about morality and always consoling themselves, they're multiple characters in one. I can see why it's easier to go in that direction, but then they all behave illogically when they're projecting several different perspectives on the problem at hand. The acting is weak. Some are almost fine (Benedict Wong), but it's still not the same. There's a lot of missing from Beijing, China in general, and how the problem is solved. P.S: I was surprised that there are already important pieces from the second and third books, and I'm afraid it dilutes the story arcs. Hopefully the next season will be more faithful and that the future will be worth it. ()


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English The creators of 3 Body Problem have the tremendous good fortune that the source material is packed with good ideas and piercing thoughts that hold up even in the banalising series version.  However, that’s still no reason to rejoice. Gone are the broad and engaging paradoxes/theories/disputations that were so faithfully preserved in the Chinese version. A few illustrations remain and they added some phrases that are supposed to sound cool but don’t actually say anything. The change of setting from China leads to a slightly strange lack of realism. Whereas authoritarian control of society is understandable under a communist regime, in the Western context the character of a cynical dandy who orders everyone around like an aging James Bond necessarily has a B-movie air about it. And there are more B-movie elements here. Rather than an adaptation of penetrating hard sci-fi, the whole thing comes across as a second-rate show about first contact with a few original ideas, which the series is unable to organically incorporate in any way. The variations on the book’s characters are also very problematic; particularly the catchphrase-spouting nerd played by John Bradley, who is reminiscent of Simon Pegg from Wish, and the horribly overacting Eiza González in the role of a sensitive prophetess of applied physics are extremely annoying. Benedict Wong as a Chinese detective from Manchester at least has a fine delivery, though even his character looks around for trash a bit too obviously. 3 Body Problem generally has the same problem that a number of Netflix projects have. There is a lot of utilitarian consideration for appealing to the broadest range subscribers while to some degree forgetting that in a good adaption, changes reinforce the dramatic/psychological impression of the whole and should fit together both conceptually and logically. In this respect, 3 Body Problem is reminiscent of a series based on muddled excerpts from the work of a slow student who has seen too many disaster movies. ()

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