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3 Body Problem: Why Netflix’s Anticipated Sci-Fi Adaptation Could Be Its Next Big Hit



“To effectively contain a civilization’s development and disarm it across such a long span of time, there is only one way: kill its science.” 

That’s a quote from Liu Cixin’s best-selling science-fiction series The Three-Body Problem. 


And on March 21st of this year, Netflix is releasing a much-anticipated TV adaptation of this internationally-loved series — similarly titled 3 Body Problem. 


From the show’s award-winning creators (the same creators behind HBO’s Game of Thrones) to its fascinating source material to its blockbuster budget, there are many reasons to be excited about 3 Body Problem. 


From the perspective of someone who has read and thoroughly enjoyed the series that this show is based on, here is a preview of everything you can expect from what’s being called Netflix’s biggest gamble to date.


A Science-Fiction Epic Spanning Centuries of Time


It’s not yet possible to know exactly how closely 3 Body Problem will adhere to its source material. But based on the trailer and what we know so far, it’s shaping up to be a fairly faithful adaptation.


Showrunners David Benioff, Dan Weiss, and Alexander Woo have a lot of experience with this kind of material


From 2011 to 2019, they were responsible for adapting George R.R. Martin’s best-selling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire into what became one of the most popular TV shows of all time, Game of Thrones. 


That’s not the only similarity between Game of Thrones and 3 Body Problem, either. Both are epic tales that span centuries of time, and both are stories where the politics of the world they’re set in has a major impact on the events that unfold. 


Last year, I had the pleasure of reading the book series that spawned 3 Body Problem.


It was one of the most original and thought-provoking series that I’ve read in a long while, and it’s hard to describe my excitement when I saw the Netflix trailer and learned for the first time that it was being made into a big-budget show.


Based on this familiarity with the show’s source material, here is a brief breakdown of what you can expect from 3 Body Problem. 


Be aware that there is a little of what some might consider mild spoilers ahead, in as much as it’s possible to spoil a show that hasn’t yet been released! 

The Three-Body Problem by Chinese author Liu Cixin tells the story of an alien invasion hundreds of years in the making.


After making first contact with an extraterrestrial civilization called the Trisolarans via radio transmissions, humanity eventually realizes that the civilization they’ve contacted is one with war-like intentions.


We know that their invasion fleet is coming, and we know that their technology is significantly more advanced than ours.


But the good news for us is that the fleet will take 450 years to arrive. That gives us a near half-millennium headstart to catch up with their technology and prepare for the upcoming battle. 


However, the Trisolarans aren’t sitting idle during this time.


Using some of the most technologically advanced and innovative methods I’ve seen in the science-fiction genre, they work to disrupt humanity’s technological progress, create infighting and division, and break down our defenses before the invasion fleet ever enters the solar system. 


Mix all these plot ingredients together, and you’ve got an epic science fiction story that blends high-stakes politics, futuristic technology, and a good old-fashioned fight for survival.


Personally, I can’t wait to see how this story translates to the screen, especially when you factor in the show’s proven creators and nearly $200 million budget. 


Part of the reason that budget is so exciting is that the story told in The Three Body Problem series is one that is made for big-budget effects. Think massive feats of engineering, bizarre, alien worlds, and Armagedon-like space battles. 


But The Three Body Problem isn’t a story that’s all flash and no substance.


In fact, author Liu Cixin uses the series to explore some fascinating questions about the nature of civilizations, the future of humanity, and what it might really mean to find out we’re not alone in the universe. 


It will be interesting to see how the show approaches these themes or if it introduces any new themes of its own. It’ll also be interesting to see how the show handles the books’ more technical topics. 


As a computer engineer by trade, Liu Cixin didn’t shy away from diving into the math and physics behind everything that was happening.


While it wouldn’t be surprising to see the show tone this element down a touch compared to the book, I fully expect there will still be plenty there for science nerds like myself to enjoy!


I always love it when a book that I loved gets made into a movie or show that does it justice. It’s like getting to experience the story all over again in a brand new way.


The Three Body Problem is one of the best science fiction series I have read in a long time. Here’s to hoping the show does it justice, but I’m encouraged by everything I’ve seen so far!  


What We Know So Far About 3 Body Problem


Along with the show’s exceptional source material, there’s a lot we know so far about 3 Body Problem that makes it a series worth checking out. For starters, you have Netflix’s apparent confidence in the project’s success. 


Netflix really put their money where their mouth is with 3 Body Problem. With a budget of approximately $200 million set aside for the show, Netflix is making a massive bet that the show will be a hit. 


We’ve already discussed the show’s big-name creators, but its cast features some pretty exciting names, too. This includes former Game of Thrones alumni such as Liam Cunningham, Jonathan Pryce, and John Bradley, as well as rising talents like Jess Hong and Saamer Usmani. 


There’s also the show’s much-hyped trailer, which has received over 11 million views on YouTube since its January 9th release.


While the trailer keeps things pretty close to the vest in regard to the show’s plot, it certainly highlights some of the show’s big-budget effects and suspenseful atmosphere.


If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d highly recommend giving it a watch below.


One final thing worth mentioning is the fact that 3 Body Problem isn’t the only adaptation of this series on the block.


Last year, Chinese production company Tencent released a Chinese-language adaptation of the story called Three-Body, and the rights to this show were recently acquired by Peacock.


I haven’t seen this show yet, largely because I didn’t realize it existed until I learned about the upcoming Netflix adaptation. But it’s received good reviews and could be worth checking if you can’t wait until March 21st to get your Three-Body Problem fix.


Either way, I’d highly recommend checking out Netflix’s big-budget English adaptation when it releases. There’s no way of knowing ahead of time if a show is going to live up to the hype, but based on everything we know so far, this one has a lot of potential.


From Black Mirror to Stranger Things, Netflix has a history of doing the sci-fi genre justice. With 3 Body Problem, they’ve assembled all the right ingredients to do it again! 

John Ashley is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow him on X.





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