3 Body Problem Review – A Few Bumps But Worth Your Time

Here is a small 3 Body Problem FAQ with No SPOILERS , because I think it is needed.

Well, here’s another 3 Body Problem review and overall I’d say despite a few bumps it’s a show worth your time. The concepts explored in this adaptation match the source novels, however there are also a heck of a lot of differences. For a start there’s a Westernisation of a story written surrounding Chinese characters. That was pretty obviously a change that made more sense for an adaptation trying to engage that western audience. However, it may not be to the taste of all fans of the books.

As for the characters themselves? There is a bit of squashing up across all three of the source novels. You can kinda relate each to a corresponding book character but from across all three books. Will for example is not introduced into the series until the third book, nor is Wade. Saul doesn’t appear until book 2 and there are a few other changes. However, I think this needed to be done for some continuity in the story. The source novels are… Well, they’re a tricky read. I was engaged in the ideas, but the actual writing style and characters I felt quite stale. The idea here is to introduce a core group of characters that we will follow as we get to Season 2 and beyond.

Well, here's another 3 Body Problem review and overall I'd say despite a few bumps it's a show worth your time.

RELATED: 3 Body Problem Ready For Season 2 But Waiting On Green Light

The downside of this rejigging, is that at times some of the angst borders on melodrama. The character of Auggie has been unpopular online, and I can see why. It’s not the actress, but the writing. Auggie has a moral crisis once or twice, which don’t get me wrong make sense. However, once the gravity of the situation is revealed to all, her continued moral outrages tend to feel off and illogical/almost pedantic. I think the writers just pushed that button one too many times to give her a reason to be there more than her initial story, which sort of fades after a key point in the series.

Then again, the show does some things better than the books in my opinion. By the end of book 1 you know a heck of a lot more about the Trisolarians (San-Ti here). However, I actually think the suspense is higher in the show by keeping a few things back for later. Fans watching the show will be eager to learn more about the San-Ti, and not just what happens when they get here.

Though, I also have to point out that this is not a fairytale story. It’s bleak, and at times rather depressing to explore the concepts of this story. Yet, that is also one of the things this adaptation does well. There may be a slight simplification of the science here, but in general they allow high level concepts to be understood by the characters who are capable. There’s no that dumb character who needs to have everything explained in hotdogs measured in football fields.


There are some criticisms I have as well.

This is a global phenomena, once the secret is out, it’s out. The books went quite into detail about how this effected different cultures. The problem with the show is it feels almost claustrophobic at times. I think we had one scene of rioting on the news. Our leads are taken away from everyone else and thus we only get to see the main cast react to this news. What about the religious implications, or political issues? Would all regimes stop war tomorrow, would they all wake up and offer their resources to survival? It seems to me, outside of those who welcome the invasion, there is some content to be explored in some differentiating reactions, based on cultures. We just needed to scope out and take stock after a certain point, and yet we get more scenes building some of those overly melodramatic moments.

Additionally, some of the CGI was a bit ropey and one scene in particular with a chimp could have been made much cheaper and looked better.

Convenient Hand Waving

If you know your science then you’ll have a few questions about certain events. However, I think being largely semi-realistic it comes easy to forget this is just a yarn and we don’t need to explain every detail. This was also true in the books, so it’s unavoidable. However, it is very convenient for this story that Human’s have successfully perfected cryogenics just in times for a story that will last 400 years with the same cast. Why would the San-Ti who are supressing all science not have stopped this development? To make this story work though, the tech is needed, so it exists. It may be unfair for me to say this is convenient hand waving when almost every high concept movie will do the same thing.

I also think fans of Season 1 who haven’t checked out the books, even a summary, may rather surprised by where things go in Season 2. Don’t expect this to be like the Halo Universe, where by the time the San-Ti get here we are suddenly capable of matching them with super soldiers. Instead, the solution, (or possible solution), is rather depressing, yet effective and the seeds have already been sown in Season 1.

The point is, that for those who would have never picked up the books, even in translated form, they have a chance to be engaged by this imaginative take. Just remember this won’t end in the destruction of some San-Ti Deathstar by a drunk guy flying a plane into an engine, or a computer virus. Be prepared for events to get dark and stay dark.

Overall, I’m glad they made 3 Body Problem and I find it more enjoyable than the books, thus far. I think 3 Body Problem is worth your time watching.


Let me know what you thought of my 3 Body Problem review and of course let us know what you thought of Season 1 below.

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