Chinese sci-fi fans have seen multiple adaptations of the famed “The Three-Body Problem” trilogy over the past years, but a new series is keeping audiences hooked, indicating that their interest hasn’t waned after all.
The latest offering — “Three-Body” — is a 30-episode live-action series that aired on the state broadcaster China Central Television and streaming platforms Tencent Video and Migu Video on Sunday. Though viewership numbers haven’t been revealed so far, the series has emerged as the most popular series online, according to Maoyan, an app which provides entertainment-related data.
Written by famed Chinese writer Liu Cixin, the “The Three-Body Problem” trilogy is an apocalyptic space opera and has won readers globally — the first installation of the same name also won the Hugo Award in 2015, a year after its English translation was published.
The books’ popularity has lured many entertainment companies to adapt the series into various formats such as animations, films, games, and TV series, including one from streaming giant Netflix. The author has said that he welcomed the adaptations as long as they’re acknowledged by audiences.
A poster for Chinese TV series ‘Three-Body.’ From Douban
Just last month, a 15-part animated series titled “The Three-Body Animation” was released to praise from fans. But a few weeks into the release, many viewers criticized the animation for the changes to the plot and an excessive number of advertisements.
The new series, which was released Sunday, largely received positive reviews from audiences on microblogging platform Weibo. While many fans praised the series for being consistent with the original novel and were satisfied with the overall casting, some viewers said the plot was confusing, especially for those who hadn’t read the novel.
“The authentic representations come as a relief,” a sci-fi aficionado surnamed Wu told Sixth Tone, adding that it was still “too early” to come to a verdict.
But those in the television and film industry said that adaptations come with their own challenges, especially when they’re larger-than-life films. However, they should be seen as a way to dip one’s toes in the water and an important step to produce better movies in the future.
“Any real masterpiece is difficult to adapt since completely following the logic of the novel usually doesn’t fit the narrative structure of films and television dramas,” Gu Bei, president of the Shanghai Pudong Science Fiction Association, told domestic media.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: A poster for Chinese TV series ‘Three-Body.’ From Douban)