Exciting The Three-Body Problem TV Adaptations

A Chinese TV adaptation of “The Three-Body Problem” is now on Peacock and an American adaptation will soon be on Netflix. Read on to learn about these series.

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Left image from "Three-Body" with woman wearing headphones sitting still. Right image from "3 Body Problem" with a woman centered in looking nervous.

In recent years, Americans have been gaining a larger interest in international media and stories. Now, Americans have access to a new international story, which they will soon be able to consume with multiple media. Last year, the popular Chinese sci-fi novel The Three-Body Problem was adapted into a television series entitled Three-Body. It was previously only available on Chinese television, but it was recently made available on Peacock, giving American viewers access to this series. In addition, the novel will be having an American television adaptation called 3 Body Problem, which will be released through Netflix this March. This story is now getting a lot of overseas attention, so here is everything you need to know about it.

SPOILERS AHEAD: We dissect the books a bit, so read on with caution.

What is The Three-Body Problem About?

The Three-Body Problem was originally published as a standalone book in 2008, written by Cixin Liu. In this novel, the Chinese military figures out a way to make contact with alien life. When that happens, the aliens decide that they are going to invade Earth, partially due to the problems on their own planet. When the public finds out about this predicament, there becomes a division in terms of how to react to the aliens. Some people believe that society should fight against the aliens to ensure no harm comes to humans. Other people believe that not only should the aliens be welcomed, but the humans should also help the aliens take over. The division creates chaos within society, as the aliens are soon to arrive, and the collective reaction could change life as everyone knows it.

"The Three-Body Problem" book covers with a pyramid underneath a futuristic looking sphere and a moon on  a blue background.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSHOP.ORG

This novel was originally going to be a standalone story, but it became the first novel of a sci-fi trilogy. This Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy is commonly known as the Three-Body trilogy. The second novel, The Dark Forest, is even closer to the impending alien invasion. While some problems were solved in the previous novel, new ones are cropping up, like aliens learning about Earth’s plan. A new project has to be formed, but will it be enough for the planet? Then, there’s the final book in the trilogy, Death’s End. Everyone has been through a lot in the previous novels, but finally, it looks like human and alien coexistence could be possible. The new science that has been developed could lead to a better life. However, new advancements and discoveries are made, which may disrupt this new harmony. More attacks and hostility could be just around the corner, which begs the question, what is the fate of humanity?

The Massive Popularity

The original novel was an instant hit. When the English translations came out a few years later, the popularity was able to grow even more. It was able to popularize Chinese science fiction, which included helping similar writers get big breaks. The Three-Body Problem was a nominee and winner of many awards, including the Hugo Award for Best Novel, one of the most prestigious awards for science fiction and fantasy novels.

The Hugo Award for Best novel with the transcription for "The Three-Body Problem" by Liu Cixin.
IMAGE VIA KCX36/WIKIMEDIA

This novel was the first Asian novel to win this award. It was also nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel, another prestigious award in the world of science fiction and fantasy. People like Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg publicly gushed over this book when the English translation came out. For a period of time, this novel took the science fiction genre by storm.

The Chinese Television Adaptation

In January 2023, The Three-Body Problem was adapted into a television series in China, following delays and many years of work. The series is simply called Three-Body. The series stars Zhang Luyi, Yu Hewei, Chen Jin, Wang Ziwen, Lin Youngjian, and more. Thirty episodes were released over the course of three weeks on CCTV (China Central Television). The series received universally positive reviews, with many people praising the quality of the production, as well as the faithfulness to the novel.

Still from the "Three-Body" series with a man with glasses staring forwards in a blue light.
IMAGE VIA CCTV

On February 10th, this Chinese series was made available for American streamers for the first time. Peacock added all 30 episodes to its platform for all of their subscribers. Now, American fans of the novel can have great access to this series. Compared to some other streaming platforms, Peacock has a wide selection of science fiction television series and movies, so it only makes sense for Three-Body to be on this platform. So far, American lovers of sci-fi and this novel are enjoying what this series has to offer. Only time will tell if the Netflix series outshines this adaptation.

The American Television Adaptation

In a month from now, Netflix will have an adaptation of The Three-Body Problem of its own. This adaptation is called the 3 Body Problem. This series has also been in the works for a few years, but the Chinese adaptation was just able to get out quicker. The Netflix adaptation was created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the two creators of the popular television series Game of Thrones. Stars of 3 Body Problem include Rosalind Chao, Benedict Wong, Jess Hong, Eiza Gonzalez, Jovan Edepo, Alex Sharp, Jonathan Pryce, and more.

Still from the "3 Body Problem" series with three people on a bridge staring up nervously.
IMAGE VIA NETFLIX

The series is set to come out on Netflix on March 21st, with eight episodes being released for the first season. An official trailer has already been released on YouTube, and it looks like it promises the action, special effects, and drama that people are hoping for. Furthermore, along with the intriguing new series, there will be a companion podcast coming out. Hosted by fan Jason Concepcion and scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock, the podcast will go behind the scenes of the series to dive deep into what it took for the series to be made and the thrilling science behind what happens.

The Three-Body Problem has built up many fans ever since its release, which was almost two decades ago. The fact that two television series have been made based on this novel demonstrates its notoriety and the excitement that is packed inside. 2024 is a big year for American fans of this novel. When March 21st rolls around, we are going to find out which of the two television adaptations is superior.


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