“3 Body Problem” Incites Chinese Backlash, Applauded by U.S. Conservatives

Netflix’s highly recognized new sci-fi production, 3 Body Problem, is sparking strong reactions from Chinese viewers due to its opening scene, which also garners favor among some conservative viewers in the U.S. The series, an ambitious adaptation of Liu Cixin’s prestigious 2008 Hugo Award-winning novel, delves into the narrative of humanity preparing for an alien invasion.

Opening Scene Sparks Controversy

The drama begins in 1966, showcasing a Chinese Cultural Revolution struggle session at a Beijing university. A physics professor is ruthlessly attacked by Red Guards for his defiance against conforming to government ideals before a mocking crowd. This sequence, derived directly from the novel, was conspicuously absent from the Chinese adaptation of the book by Tencent, launched on streaming services last year.

Diverse Reactions Mirror Political Spectrum

The depiction of this event in the opening of the series is currently a topic of heated discussion on Chinese social media. Some U.S. conservatives are also focusing on this scene, labeling it a rare insight into the consequences of extreme collectivist ideologies as portrayed by Hollywood. Despite Netflix being unavailable in China, some Chinese viewers have found ways to illicitly watch the popular show and their reactions range from shock to disapproval.

A Tale of Two Adaptations

Although officially inaccessible in China, 3 Body Problem trended on social media. The phrase “China version wins” also trended, referring to Tencent’s locally made version where “politically correct” changes to the story suspiciously exclude gruesome historical details. In contrast, the Netflix version presents a diverse international cast and relocates the narrative from China to London, which sparked mixed reactions.

U.S Conservatives Respond to Opening Scene

U.S conservatives acclaimed the opening scene which portrays an elderly professor refusing to capitulate to demands by young revolutionaries to change his beliefs. They likened the scene to recent social trends, pointing out parallels between the depicted authoritarianism and the current social attitudes towards freedom of speech, thought, and conformity.

Showrunners Talk About the Controversial Scene

David Benioff, co-showrunner of 3 Body Problem, rejected critics’ claims that the opening scene was a commentary on cancel culture. Instead, he drew attention to the historical cycle represented in the scene and the undeniable parallels with modern times. Actress Rosalind Chao, who plays Ye Wenjie in 3 Body Problem, concurred with Benioff, labeling the depiction of the Cultural Revolution and its horrors critical to the narrative and to global understanding of historical events.

A High-Profile Production

The Netflix adaptation of 3 Body Problem is lauded as one of the streaming platform’s major projects. The intellectual drama’s production budget reportedly exceeded $20 million per episode, making it Netflix’s most costly first season show ever. Despite critics’ mixed reviews, certain reviews have been outstanding, with some viewers hailing the show as one of the best sci-fi programs they’ve ever witnessed.

Wrapping Up

3 Body Problem, with its venture into human history and a possible alien invasion, is unquestionably establishing a considerable presence on the streaming platform. While stirring controversy with its depiction of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Netflix series also sparked a vital conversation about the importance of remembering and showcasing historical events. Don’t forget to check out more reviews and streaming updates on HitPlay.

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