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Subject: "The Three Body Problem (Benioff, Weiss, Woo, Netflix, 2024)" Previous topic | Next topic
stravinskian
Member since Feb 24th 2003
12698 posts
Sun Jun-18-23 12:39 PM

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"The Three Body Problem (Benioff, Weiss, Woo, Netflix, 2024)"


          

Releases January 2024 but the first trailer is out and ... wow!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lj99Uz1d50

I've been kinda blase about all this. For one thing I was never all that into Game of Thrones even when it was good, and D&D's idea for a Confederacy-based alternate history series was a catastrophe that we can all be glad never happened in this universe. But also, when you read The Three Body Problem and its two sequels, they scream out two things with nearly equal weight: this really needs to be filmed; and, this could never possibly be filmed.

It needs to be filmed because it's brimming with bonkers visual spectacles (I saw that ship in the trailer and I thought "Ohh, I know what's gonna happen to you!"), one after another after another. But it "couldn't possibly be filmed" because the scale of all this would require either a bajillion dollars or state-of-the-art AI-aided CGI or both. Turns out Netflix has both and I guess this might be their particular swansong to the era of peak streaming, because I doubt this will be a hit on a big enough scale to compensate for Netflix's outlay. I expect most viewers to say some variant of "They spent *that* much money on *this*?!

The story is *weird*, as bonkers as the visuals. That's not to say it doesn't have a conventional narrative structure. It absolutely does (though it doesn't look like it from the trailer), and it's not even particularly frenetic. If they take the time to spread it out and give it all enough time, the whole story marches along sensibly (if mysteriously) and somehow manages to bridge relatable human characters in our present world to a conflict of cosmic scale.

The story (at least in the books) more than lives up to the visuals. Good, deep, real (though sometimes scientifically sloppy) science fiction and retro-futurism; compelling period drama on the cultural revolution (with elements of ancient Chinese history sprinkled in, transferred to an otherworldly dreamscape because why the fuck not); noir mystery and police procedural; and a huge cadre of compelling characters, almost none of whom (gasp) are American or white. It is simply too good, too big, and too expensive for any rational studio to produce. Thank god Netflix had more money than sense.

I can't fucking wait.

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
Have you seen the Tencent version?
Jun 18th 2023
1
Huh, thanks for sharing
Jun 18th 2023
2
Wow, didn't know it was on YouTube.
Jun 18th 2023
3
YES!!!!
Jun 18th 2023
4
Damn this is good!
Jun 20th 2023
5
I also love that the European general has an American accent...
Jun 23rd 2023
8
      Yeah the non-Chinese casting struggles.
Jun 26th 2023
9
This looks super interesting.
Jun 22nd 2023
6
Get it! Highly recommended. And try to avoid spoilers.
Jun 22nd 2023
7
I really enjoyed this, though it took me a while to get there. (spoilers...
Mar 22nd 2024
10
Do you think we need 4 seasons?
Mar 23rd 2024
11
      Yeah, at the rate they're going it seems more like 3, or possibly even 2...
Mar 24th 2024
12
Loved the zippy pacing, wacky plotting
Mar 25th 2024
13
How did I not know about s9 ep9 of Bob's Burgers?
Mar 27th 2024
14
All in all I think it was pretty solid.
Mar 28th 2024
15
I watched, i enjoyed. I don't know the source material so i wish i had ...
Mar 29th 2024
16
This is WILD
Apr 03rd 2024
17
This man was fucking committed to that murder
Apr 03rd 2024
18
i really wish for threads that don't include the book readers
Apr 06th 2024
19
^^^^^^^ THIS
Apr 12th 2024
24
      yeah we should definitely do that here.
Apr 18th 2024
25
Four episodes in and I think it's already better than the book.
Apr 10th 2024
20
Yeah, it's a common complaint that Liu cares more about ideas than chara...
Apr 10th 2024
21
I grew up reading Asimov.
Apr 11th 2024
22
I’m on the fence between the two. But Dark Forest is fantastic
Apr 11th 2024
23

Nopayne
Member since Jan 03rd 2003
52628 posts
Sun Jun-18-23 04:13 PM

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1. "Have you seen the Tencent version?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

If you've read and enjoyed the books it's worth checking out. They stayed pretty close to the books. Probably too close for a casual fan.

All 30 episodes of the first season are up on Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMX26aiIvX5rFSYPXtcqda3tWd6pGVD5Q

The budget shows in a few places but I like how they handled VR compared to what I've seen from the Netflix trailer.

I'm looking forward to binging the Netflix version too.

---
Love,
Nopayne

  

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calminvasion
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Sun Jun-18-23 04:21 PM

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2. "Huh, thanks for sharing"
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

Loved the books; will check it out

  

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stravinskian
Member since Feb 24th 2003
12698 posts
Sun Jun-18-23 05:08 PM

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3. "Wow, didn't know it was on YouTube."
In response to Reply # 1


          


I'd assumed I'd have to play some VPN games to even see that version anytime soon. Thanks for the heads up.

There goes my next couple of weeks.

  

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Castro
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Sun Jun-18-23 06:45 PM

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4. "YES!!!!"
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

------------------
One Hundred.

  

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stravinskian
Member since Feb 24th 2003
12698 posts
Tue Jun-20-23 11:13 AM

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5. "Damn this is good!"
In response to Reply # 1


          

I sat down to give it a try and stood up to go to bed after episode 10.

I like Shi Qiang in this even more than I like him in the book.

And the incessant need for subtitles forces me to not pick up my phone every three minutes. First TV show I've really paid proper attention to in years.

As I think you're saying, it's probably a bit much for anyone who hasn't already obsessively read the books. But it'll definitely give me another thing to annoyingly and unfavorably compare the Netflix show to.

Now: do I get any work done today, or do I turn on episode 11? Considering that that work would be physics research, it's kind of a spooky question.

  

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stravinskian
Member since Feb 24th 2003
12698 posts
Fri Jun-23-23 01:04 AM

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8. "I also love that the European general has an American accent..."
In response to Reply # 1
Fri Jun-23-23 01:11 AM by stravinskian

          

... the American general has an Australian accent, the Australian general has a German accent, and the "South American" general has a Bulgarian accent.

All these Westerners sound basically the same.

  

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Nopayne
Member since Jan 03rd 2003
52628 posts
Mon Jun-26-23 11:15 AM

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9. "Yeah the non-Chinese casting struggles."
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

They just announced season two so I hope they figure it out before then.

---
Love,
Nopayne

  

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spades
Member since Mar 22nd 2006
44257 posts
Thu Jun-22-23 09:53 AM

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6. "This looks super interesting. "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I gotta check out this book.

********************************

Get Out The Room!
http://getouttheroom.podomatic.com
@fakewilliamkatt

"You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do!" - Olin Miller

  

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stravinskian
Member since Feb 24th 2003
12698 posts
Thu Jun-22-23 06:39 PM

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7. "Get it! Highly recommended. And try to avoid spoilers."
In response to Reply # 6


          

There's a reason people are so cryptic about what it's even about. Part of that is that the plot is so convoluted and crosses so many genres. But another reason is that he masterfully suspends the central mystery to make the reader feel like the characters feel. That feeling of mystery turns out to be centrally important to the story. So the less you know about what happen, the better.

As I'm extolling it, though, I should give a general warning to anyone thinking about getting into the books: imagine how nerdy such a story might be, and multiply that by pi to the seven-fourths power. As I watched the Chinese TV adaptation the other day, I was reminded that there's a whole chapter that defines how a computer works in painstaking detail, from the basic digital logic gates up to bootloaders and segmentation faults. But unlike most intro CS lectures he finds an opportunity to chop off some people's heads in the middle of it all, lol.

  

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stravinskian
Member since Feb 24th 2003
12698 posts
Fri Mar-22-24 01:27 PM

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10. "I really enjoyed this, though it took me a while to get there. (spoilers..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

They removed A LOT of material for the Netflix version, and much of it was the stuff that I enjoy most about the story. But I think much of what they did was necessary to keep a TV audience interested and I actually think they improved a bit on a few things (particularly the setup for the Wallfacer story, which is often considered a catastophic failure in the second book -- they won't get to those catastrophic elements until next season, fingers crossed, but the story they're setting up with Saul and Auggie looks much better than the "imaginary girlfriend turned real" from The Dark Forest).

By episodes 4 and 5 I was pretty pissed, and almost ready to give up on this version. They could have done a lot more with the Panama Canal story. Tencent did that very well, apart from the terrible "western" actors and the odd concession to censors to turn the crew into moustache-twirling superterrorists. (Funny how the Chinese censors would only let them cut supervillains to pieces, but Netflix was fine with doing it to children on a playground!)

The raid in episode 4 was kinda dumb in both versions, but it would have been cool to include the dirty-bomb element in the Netflix show. Shi's cancer was kind of a throwaway plot point both in the Tencent show and in the book, but I feel like they could have done something with it in the Netflix show. Or maybe that would have been too much cancer in too little time.

My biggest complaint was how much they thinned out the Red Coast Base story, and Ye Wenjie's story more broadly. She's the richest character I can think of in any 21st-century story I've come across, and the Netflix show squashes her as flat as a two-dimensional proton (or the husk of a dehydrated Trisolaran). In the book they piled up so much trauma and fear onto her that I could actually understand why she would have immediately replied to the "do not respond" message and invited the end of the world. In the Tencent show they almost made it as plausible as the book. In this show it just doesn't make any sense and I think a lot of viewers will see it as an empty TV trope.

It's especially weird considering how triumphal Netflix has been about how this show includes the struggle session scene that Tencent left out. (Though I also think the Netflix show could have gone into a lot more detail about the struggle session as well.) I'm kinda guessing that someone decided American audiences in 2024 would be happy to see Chinese people as a bloodthirsty Maoist mob, but wouldn't have the energy or interest for long scenes of character development in Chinese with subtitles.

I also wish they'd shown us more of the VR world and the mystery of the chaotic eras, even though I've always found it extremely implausible that any physicist, no matter their specialty, would need that that much time to remember what's probably the most famous chaotic system in all of physics.

But still, everything came together for me by the end of the season. I saw a review that said this show gutted the sci-fi but strengthened the drama, and I think I agree (apart from dropping so much great Red Coast Base drama). I liked all the Oxford 5 characters, and it was interesting to sleuth out who would turn out to be whom. Liam Cunningham is always great to watch, even if his character is a lot less plausible than General Chang. Benedict Wong was fabulous as Clarence Shi, but for me Da Shi will always be Yu Hewei, who embodied his part better than any actor in either series.

I REALLY do hope they get the money they need to do season 2 (and 3 and 4 -- supposedly D&D said they'd want four seasons). I finished reading The Dark Forest a couple months ago. The Wallfacer story, for all its flaws, is a really great concept and I want to see what they do with it. And the Teardrop battle will be bigger and crazier than any dragon battle they gave us, if they can figure out how to frame it.

  

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Nopayne
Member since Jan 03rd 2003
52628 posts
Sat Mar-23-24 12:50 PM

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11. "Do you think we need 4 seasons?"
In response to Reply # 10


  

          

They moved through the first book and a half pretty quickly this season. I know there's a lot more to come but they would have to slow the pace down quite a bit to stretch out out for 21 more episodes.

I hope we get to see it though. Some of the future events are pretty crazy.

---
Love,
Nopayne

  

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stravinskian
Member since Feb 24th 2003
12698 posts
Sun Mar-24-24 10:06 AM

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12. "Yeah, at the rate they're going it seems more like 3, or possibly even 2..."
In response to Reply # 11


          


They might be rushing a bit defensively because they don't know how many times they'll get renewed.

They actually didn't get as far into the second book as I'd assumed from the reviews. The UN stuff was about 1/4 of the way through, but so far they've skipped most of the space force setup and Zhang Beihai (who I assume is gonna be Raj). That's the majority of that first quarter of the book.

What worries me is that so much of the story from here on out will require some presumably expensive special effects. I don't know if/when Tencent will have the resources to do this well. From what I've heard they haven't even started preproduction and might be working on their Shi Qiang spinoff series (which I assume is a prequel) until they figure out how to do futureworld. So Netflix might be the only option for a while.

  

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stylez dainty
Member since Nov 22nd 2004
6737 posts
Mon Mar-25-24 03:19 PM

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13. "Loved the zippy pacing, wacky plotting"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I have a feeling a lot of the "hard sci-fi" didn't really make it to the screen for this adaptation, but it was fun and compelling, and that's coming from someone who very rarely can make it through modern streaming sci fi series.

Only speaking for the Netflix show, a lot of the plot doesn't stand up to too much scrutiny, but is fun and unpredictable in the moment. Reminded me of the wackiness of the Watchmen series, but without the same emotional intelligence and smaller touches that made that series a classic. It sort of reminded me of Starship Troopers in some ways that I'm having a hard time putting my finger on, because this isn't satire or anything. Maybe the plucky group of friends saving the universe from a threat that despite all the humor and goofiness, is still pretty scary?

There's one flaw I doubt was carried over from the books, which I haven't read. They talk a lot about how in control the aliens are and how much they can do to disrupt science and eliminate their opposition, but in the show their offense is pretty underwhelming/quickly abandoned. The whole breaking science part isn't really evident outside of the hadron collider stuff. Maybe they just meant they destroyed our ability to do research? Either way, it was not paid off very well in this season.

Hoping for more seasons, but will probably spoil the whole book series plot for myself online in the next few days.

----
I check for: Serengeti, Zeroh, Open Mike Eagle, Jeremiah Jae, Moka Only.

  

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stravinskian
Member since Feb 24th 2003
12698 posts
Wed Mar-27-24 07:10 PM

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14. "How did I not know about s9 ep9 of Bob's Burgers?"
In response to Reply # 0


          


Probably the third best adaptation of book 1 that I've seen, but super fun!

Tina is an Adventist!

  

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Nopayne
Member since Jan 03rd 2003
52628 posts
Thu Mar-28-24 05:37 PM

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15. "All in all I think it was pretty solid."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I kinda wish they had done it over 10 episodes to help with world building but that's probably too much to ask. Based on the reviews I've seen, people aren't really getting hooked until episode 5. Kinda makes sense because that's the big hook at the end of book 1 iirc.








Mild Spoiler:
Fleshing out the ETO was the main bit of world building that I wanted to see. There are a couple of factions with different goals and I think all of the infighting was pretty realistic and ties in with the themes of the story well. It's not too late so maybe this will come up in season 2.

---
Love,
Nopayne

  

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josephmurf2384
Member since Nov 21st 2005
5289 posts
Fri Mar-29-24 09:47 PM

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16. "I watched, i enjoyed. I don't know the source material so i wish i had ..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

just saw this on twitter:

Crazy story of the week:

The tragic incident surrounding the Netflix adaptation of the "Three Body Problem" series is not widely known among its fans. Lin Qi, a visionary and brilliant young billionaire, acquired the rights to the "Three Body Problem" with the ambition of creating various products from it. He enlisted the expertise of Xu Yao, a distinguished lawyer, appointing him CEO to spearhead the business operations, including securing a deal with Netflix—a feat for which Lin compensated Xu with a salary of nearly $3 million. However, Xu's performance did not meet expectations beyond the Netflix agreement, leading Lin to reduce his salary to $750,000 and bring in additional executives to enhance business operations. Xu, retaining his CEO title, was reportedly infuriated by this demotion and further aggravated by not being credited as a producer on the Netflix project.

Driven by revenge and inspired by the TV show "Breaking Bad," Xu meticulously planned Lin's murder. He purchased 160 phones and established a company in Japan to acquire the necessary chemicals for his scheme, testing them on animals. Xu then poisoned Lin and his colleagues, disguising the lethal substances as an advanced probiotic. Lin unsuspectingly consumed it and soon after was hospitalized, where it was immediately apparent he had been poisoned, though the specific toxins were unknown. The police quickly suspected Xu, who, had he disclosed the nature of the poisons (later found to have included exotic substances such as pufferfish poison and mercury and at least three other poisons), could have saved Lin's life. However, he chose not to, ensuring Lin's demise. Just a few days ago, as the show was premiering globally, Xu was finally sentenced to death for the murder of Lin and attempted murder of two other colleagues, who survived but with lifelong injuries.

Lin Qi, credited as an executive producer on the Netflix project posthumously, passed away at the age of 39. RIP 🕯️

  

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soulfunk
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Wed Apr-03-24 03:00 PM

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17. "This is WILD"
In response to Reply # 16


  

          

  

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Hitokiri
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Wed Apr-03-24 04:23 PM

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18. "This man was fucking committed to that murder"
In response to Reply # 16


  

          

He established a whole company?! Researched and acquired poisons, and tricked his opp into taking it, and then was like "nah, not telling yall what it is"

Goddddddamn.

--

"You can't beat white people. You can only knock them out."

  

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Damali
Member since Sep 12th 2002
35863 posts
Sat Apr-06-24 02:21 PM

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19. "i really wish for threads that don't include the book readers"
In response to Reply # 0


          

cuz y'all really make it un-fun to discuss shows...constantly comparing it to the books..ugh

d

"i do more for both our communities than you'll ever know." - Heinz
"But rest assured, in my luxurious house built on the backs of people darker than me, I am sipping fine scotch and scoffing at how stupid you are." - bshelly

  

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soulfunk
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Fri Apr-12-24 07:55 AM

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24. "^^^^^^^ THIS"
In response to Reply # 19


  

          

Between story spoilers and the complaints that compare to the source material which is in a different genre I can’t take it.

On Reddit subs for shows like this they will typically have separate posts for those who have read source material and those who haven’t. I love that.

  

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Damali
Member since Sep 12th 2002
35863 posts
Thu Apr-18-24 02:16 PM

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25. "yeah we should definitely do that here."
In response to Reply # 24


          


"i do more for both our communities than you'll ever know." - Heinz
"But rest assured, in my luxurious house built on the backs of people darker than me, I am sipping fine scotch and scoffing at how stupid you are." - bshelly

  

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Buddy_Gilapagos
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Wed Apr-10-24 02:35 PM

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20. "Four episodes in and I think it's already better than the book. "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I've had the book laying around the house for a while and only decided to read it and finish it because of the show (or because of this thread in particular).

TBH, I don't think I would have finished the book if it weren't for the hype surrounding it for the series.

The book is GREAT at exploring Big Ideas. Or maybe even exploring one Big Idea. But I had never heard of the idea of the 3 Body Problem until this book/series and its an interesting enough idea and definitely some form of genuis to craft the idea of a story around that Big Idea.

However the execution of the storytelling in the book just wasn't that good to me. You have this one great character in Ye Wenjie with an incredible story arc but everyone else was kinda stock.

I almost put down the book a couple of times because I found the game segments too ridiculous and thought it would be impossible to pull off on screen. However, the series does it. The series in general smooves out a lot of the storytelling elements. Rounding out characters, discarding parts of the story that weren't essential adding detail where needed.

I think the series so far is far superior storytelling than the book. Now of course, there would be no series without the book and I guess I might read the additional two books, but the series is a mainstream offering that just about anyone could enjoy. I loved the Cultural Revolution stuff in the book but almost ditched it when they started talking about dehydrating people. The book spent pages on pages explaining the unfolding of protons between dimensions that I couldn't imagine anyone enjoying except the geekiest of geeks.




**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson

"what's a leader if he isn't reluctant"

  

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stravinskian
Member since Feb 24th 2003
12698 posts
Wed Apr-10-24 03:40 PM

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21. "Yeah, it's a common complaint that Liu cares more about ideas than chara..."
In response to Reply # 20


          


I think it's an aspie thing. It doesn't bother me because I care more about the ideas than the people too.

But the writing does get a lot more polished in books 2 and 3, particularly with regard to character development. He was still basically an amateur when he wrote the first book, and people say The Dark Forest is where he first started to fill out his characters.

Glad you're getting into it! The next episode in your queue is a doozie.

  

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Buddy_Gilapagos
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Thu Apr-11-24 10:13 AM

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22. "I grew up reading Asimov."
In response to Reply # 21


  

          

Foundation was my favorite book series for years. As an adult I picked it up and was surprised how unsophisticated and cliche the writing was. But the big ideas in them still kick ass.

Now I guess you have forced me to read the other books.


**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson

"what's a leader if he isn't reluctant"

  

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Cold Truth
Member since Jan 28th 2004
44831 posts
Thu Apr-11-24 03:28 PM

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23. "I’m on the fence between the two. But Dark Forest is fantastic"
In response to Reply # 20


  

          

The game bores me to tears in both mediums. It’s a check out element for me.

A common element I’ve seen with the book is that most people I talk to either read it in pieces and cite similar issues as you, or wind up going through it a second time because of the show.

I read it years ago and didn’t touch Dark Forest for years until about a month before the show dropped.

I wish I hadn’t waited because Dark Forest is fantastic and is already among my favorite scifi books. There are some serious WTF IS HAPPENING moments and I can’t wait to see them on screen. There are a few threads that seemingly go nowhere or are anticlimactic, but then it also makes it feel more real- or the payoff comes down the road.

I’m about a fifth through Death’s End, and one thing I love about this series is everything has consequences- serious consequences.

One thing the show did well was merge elements of all three books, which I think results in a streamlined story.

As far l as the sophon unfolding, I hear you. But the Sophons themselves were an amazing concept. The show didn’t really do them justice IMO, but who knows what they do with them in S2.

All in all it’s an incredible story that we’re fortunate to see on screen, though I still have serious reservations about Dan and Dave helming the thing.

-Sig-

“Why didn’t you do this in your own god damn country?"

-All Stah's view on undocumented immigrants wanting to be treated like human beings.

  

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