Netflix’s New Alien Invasion Sci-Fi Series Is a Huge, Global Success

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Published

Critics don’t universally love it, and audiences are mixed over their feelings about the show, but 3 Body Problem is absolutely being watched and talked around the world, for good or bad. If this doesn’t make the show a success, I don’t know what does. 

3 Body Problem Has High Critical Scores

3 Body Problem currently has a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes with an 82% average audience score. It’s got a 7.8/10 on IMDB and a 4/5 on Google reviews.

Mostly, critics of the show either don’t love how much it strays from the book (not too much), or they worry that it portrays China in a particularly harsh light, creating a geopolitical conflict we don’t need right now. 

Solid Praise

3 body problem

Those who love it rave over the sheer scope of this epic series. The Washington Post calls the show a “great drama” and says that it exceeds even the brilliance of Game of Thrones.

Thanks to its “exquisite character work” and “deeper philosophical questions,” 3 Body Problem looks to be the GoT hit for Netflix, with fans weighing in on plot points and critics preparing their pens (keyboards?) for breakdowns of each episode. 

One Of Netflix’s Most-Watched Series

3 body problem

Again, even for those who don’t love the show (read Giant Freakin Robot’s review), they’re certainly watching it.

Netflix has announced that 3 Body Problem is on the top 10 most-watched list in 93 countries. Even viewers in China, where Netflix is banned, are avidly following the show using VPNs.

And while the Chinese viewership specifically has taken some serious issues with the series, we can’t be too surprised. 

Bad Look For China?

After all, 3 Body Problem opens up with a physicist being beaten to death on a stage in front of his own daughter during the Chinese Cultural Revolution in 1966 by the Red Guard, a particularly harsh element of the Chinese Communist Party.

Many people in China have not even been educated fully on the period of time in China related in the show, often learning that the revolution under Mao Ze Dong was “not that bad.” 

Not A Political Statement?

3 body problem

Interestingly, the Chinese author of the books on which the series is based, Liu Cixin, says he never intended 3 Body Problem to be a political statement.

He was just seeking to write good science fiction. Indeed, as someone who lived through the Cultural Revolution himself and was sent to live in the country due to its outright violence, in writing this opening scene, he may have simply been remarking on the struggles of the time. 

Continued Success?

3 body problem

In any event, that opening scene clearly pulled viewers in. 3 Body Problem has commanded 81.70 millions hours watched by 11 million viewers who apparently keep coming back for more.

This show, which revolves around the mathematical three-body problem, which is the chaos that ensues when three or more planetary bodies interact in orbit in space, is clearly a hit. It’s one part detective show, one part alien invasion story, and one part deep look at humanity. 

And given that many of the readers of Cixin’s trilogy say the first book is actually the least likable, I think we can expect Netflix’s 3 Body Problem to see only continued success.