‘3 Review of the “Body Problem” series: ‘GoT’ meets Liu Cixin’s epic hard science fiction novel

‘3 Review of the "Body Problem" series: 'GoT' meets Liu Cixin's epic hard science fiction novel
‘3 Review of the “Body Problem” series: ‘GoT’ meets Liu Cixin’s epic hard science fiction novel

‘3 Review of the “Body Problem” series: ‘GoT’ meets Liu Cixin’s epic hard science fiction novel

Although the simplification and alterations may frustrate fans of the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, and Alexander Woo’s adaptation is gorgeous, approachable, and very addictive.

The other well-known hard science fiction epic, Foundation, captivates spectators with its flashing eyes and hair that float like that of a traveling psycho-historian, but 3 Body Problem—I’m aching to put a hyphen there—comes in like a hallucinogenic train of thought. 

With breathtaking daring, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss’s first project after the hugely successful Game of Thrones is Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem. The first book in Cixin’s trilogy, Remembrance of Earth’s Past, was published in 2008.

3 Body Problem begins in China during the Cultural Revolution when Ye Wenjie (Zine Tseng), an astrophysics student, witnesses her father, a professor, being battered to death. The action moves to London in 2024, where Benedict Wong’s character, Da Shi, a detective, is tasked with trying to understand the horrific death of a physicist who was almost denied the Nobel Prize.

Scientist Vera Yee (Vedette Lim), a different physicist, informs researcher Saul (Jovan Adepo) that their lab is closing. Before taking her own life, she asks him whether he believes in God. Da Shi is interested in the Oxford Five, Vera’s students: Saul, Jin (Jess Hong), Auggie (Eiza González), Jack (John Bradley), and Will (Alex Sharp).

Will is a teacher, Jack dropped out of Oxford to start a snack empire, Jin works on particle accelerators, and Auggie does cutting-edge nanotechnology research. A bizarre countdown flashes in front of Auggie’s eyes, and it looks as though physics is broken everywhere. And the first episode ends with all of this happening in the middle.

Wenjie’s life in Mongolia, where she works long hours before joining the Red Coast military project to track spy satellites and covertly attempt to contact extraterrestrial life forms, is portrayed to us at the same time. Wenjie has a breakthrough and communicates with the aliens. Her decision at that very moment has terrible consequences now.

3 Body Problem (English, Chinese) 
Creators: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Alexander Woo
Cast: Benedict Wong, Jess Hong, Jovan Adepo, Eiza González, John Bradley, Alex Sharp, Rosalind Chao, Zine Tseng, Jonathan Pryce, Ben Schnetzer, Liam Cunningham, Marlo Kelly, Sea Shimooka, Saamer Usmani, Eve Ridley
Episodes: 8
Run-time: 44 – 64 minutes

Storyline: Five outstanding scientists and one tenacious detective must form a fight against the deaths of theoretical physicists around the globe.

Jin discovers a complex virtual reality game Vera was engaged in before her passing. The goal is to be able to forecast when the stable and chaotic weather systems will flip in the game environment. In the game, historical scientists and intellectuals like Galileo, Isaac Newton, Alan Turing, and Aristotle are portrayed as characters who propose hypotheses.

Wade (Liam Cunningham), a top-secret government officer of sorts, and wealthy, radical environmentalist Mike Evans (Jonathan Pryce), who appears to be closely monitoring current events, are both hidden in the shadows. Naturally, there is an approaching extraterrestrial invasion to get ready for, so everyone on Earth needs to pitch in.

The Fabulous Five provides factual evidence for the claim that physicists are the coolest guys on the earth, according to Chris Nolan and Cillian Murphy. If only Jeff Goldblum, that geek hero, could have stopped over to play chess or apologize!

Parts of 3 Body Problem are really good; the scenes with the human abacus and the dehydration/rehydration cycles were really amazing. Heart-stopping dread and scenes of icy beauty compete for attention; the scene in which the Judgment Day, an oil tanker that has been converted, collides with the nanoweb is a scenario straight out of a horror movie. The scenes with a young Wenjie in China and Mongolia are poignant. The music of Ramin Djawadi is eerily beautiful.

The clumsy love narrative, corny romanticism, and shoehorning of inclusion (‘tum keede ho’, the aliens helpfully say on an Indian street) are where 3 Body Problem falls short. A portion of the conversation may have been improved with some script doctoring. The show also has an unseemly hurry, as it attempts to move quickly by cramming lofty ideas into a cardboard worldview.

Notwithstanding these shortcomings, 3 Body Problem flows well, requiring nothing of the audience other than to enjoy the stunning sights as stunning individuals hesitantly explain quantum physics. Finding similarities between Game of Thrones and Jin’s pouting at her boyfriend, Raj (Saamer Usmani), and Will’s longing for his silent love are two ways to pass the time. 

All of the GoT alumni save Djawadi are Bradley, Cunningham, Pryce, and Kevin Eldon (as Sir Thomas More). By the way, George R.R. Martin supported Liu Cixin’s book. The books will always be available for anyone angry about the Hugo Award-winning epic being played fast and loose. Watch on Netflix 

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