3 Body Problem: A new kind of alien invasion

The creators of "Game of Thrones", the most popular TV series in the world, made a new Netflix sci-fi series that has an amazing story

by Sededin Dedovic
3 Body Problem: A new kind of alien invasion
© Still Watching Netflix / YOutube channel

Netflix's 3 Body Problem brings to life the sprawling, successful Chinese novel rooted in science, outlining a new kind of alien invasion. The creators of this series are David Benioff and D.B. Weiss who are known for creating one of the best and most popular TV series of all time – Game of Thrones.

Just like Game of Thrones, 3 Body Problem was based on the book, that is, the celebrated trilogy by the Chinese author Cixin Liu. "We're doing everything we can to bring this story to life in the best, most impactful way possible.

But reading the books is not a prerequisite to understanding or enjoying the series," Weiss said. Although the series is too big for the main characters, the plot of the series "3 Body Problem" follows a group of five young scientists Jin, Saul, Auggie, Jack and Will, who find themselves at the center of strange world events.

However, the series is layered and has a long list of other interesting characters. Knowing the directors, no one is there by chance, all the characters are important and connected. The scenes of the series jump from the fictitious past, present and future, create new worlds and give dynamics to the somewhat slower action.

However, Netflix's most expensive series to date has arrived to critical acclaim.

The San-Ti explain their centuries-long plan of stopping scientific progression on earth to Jin Cheng (Jess Hong) and Thomas Wad© Still Watching Netflix / YOutube channel

The story begins in 1960s China when a young woman makes a decision that reverberates through time and space to the present day.

Then we meet a small group of scientists who must join forces with a detective to save humanity from a great threat because the laws of nature have been completely disrupted. So we actually follow several timelines across several continents.

We have the Cultural Revolution in China in the 60s, Oxford in England at the present time, and the United Nations in New York. 3 Body Problem is a real sci-fi drama with layered mysteries and plots and a story about human connection.

The Netflix series takes a long time to unravel the full scope of the story and answer these questions, which leads to the third problem here. It takes a while for the show's narrative to really gain momentum – it takes the first three episodes to get through.

The pace may not be a surprise, given that two of the series' three creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, former showrunners of HBO's Game of Thrones, which has occasionally struggled with narrative flow (the third creator is former True Blood writer/executive producer Alexander Woo).

Once the series finds its groove, the series turns into an epic sci-fi story with stunning special effects – the tragic destruction of a huge ship full of people is what stayed with me long after watching – and a timeline that stretches from the Chinese Cultural Revolution of 1960 - them to this day.

The San-Ti explain their centuries-long plan of stopping scientific progression on earth to Jin Cheng (Jess Hong) and Thomas Wad© Still Watching Netflix / YOutube channel

The key to the story is the astrophysicist Ye Wenjie, a woman so deeply tormented by our world that she decides to seek help from aliens.

During the 1960s during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, she witnessed the public assassination of her father, assisted by her own mother. Tortured physically in labor camps and mentally in cold cells, due to her scientific background, she is recruited into a secret radar base.

There, far from the world, the Chinese military is trying to make contact with extraterrestrial civilizations. When Wenjie finally gets a "signal from the other side" it's a friendly warning to stop contact, if Earth is dear to them Netflix's 3 Body Problem is based on the 2008 novel by Chinese engineer and science fiction writer Liu Cixin; the original novel became a series of books praised by big names like Barack Obama.

It pulled off the nifty trick of popularizing Chinese science fiction internationally while also providing compelling observations about the nature of humanity's social and technological progress, some of which actually found their way into the TV series.

The San-Ti explain their centuries-long plan of stopping scientific progression on earth to Jin Cheng (Jess Hong) and Thomas Wad© Still Watching Netflix / YOutube channel

It makes sense that a story like this — which crosses between Western and Chinese culture to tell the story of a planet under threat — would come to Netflix.

The streaming service has educated a generation of American users to appreciate smart, entertaining series from South Korea, Latin America, Europe and elsewhere around the world. With that, opening 3 Body Problem with a scene showing a young Chinese scientist watching an angry mob kill her father – who is also a scientist – during the purges of China's Cultural Revolution feels bold and completely on brand.

Later, this young scientist, driven by hatred and loss, will make a decision that puts the entire planet in danger, showing how disillusionment with humanity's missteps can lead to desperate, misguided decisions. Fans of the books will find some tweaks here for better television, amping up the thriller elements of the story to ask a compelling question: How do you fight an alien enemy targeting the world's scientific progress?