There is another “three-body” adaptation. Is the public still interested?

Chinese sci-fi fans have seen several adaptations of the popular trilogy “The Three-Body Problem” in recent 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 Sunday on state-run China Central Television and streaming platforms Tencent Video and Migu Video. While viewership numbers have not been disclosed so far, the series has emerged as the most popular series online, according to Maoyan, an app that provides entertainment-related data.

Written by the famous Chinese writer Liu Cixin, the trilogy “The Three-Body Problem” is an apocalyptic space opera and has conquered readers all over the world: the first installation of the same name also won the Hugo Award in 2015, a year after its English translation published.

The popularity of the books has caused many entertainment companies to adapt the series into various formats such as animations, films, games and TV series, including one from the streaming giant Netflix. The author said he welcomed the adaptations as long as they are recognized by the public.

A poster for the Chinese TV series

A poster for the Chinese TV series “Three-Body”. From Douban

Just last month, a 15-part animated series titled “The Three-Body Animation” was released to praise fans. But within weeks of release, many viewers criticized the animation for plot changes and too many commercials.

The new series, which was released on Sunday, has received largely positive reviews from the audience 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.

“Authentic portrayals are 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 TV and film industries said adaptations come with their own challenges, especially when they’re larger-than-life films. However, they should be seen as a way to dip your toes in the water and an important step towards producing better movies in the future.

“Any true masterpiece is difficult to adapt since completely following the logic of the novel usually doesn’t fit the narrative structure of movies and TV dramas,” Gu Bei, president of the Shanghai Pudong Science Fiction Association, told national media.

Publisher: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header Image: A poster for the Chinese TV series “Three-Body”. From Douban)

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