Should ‘3 Body Problem’ be a weekly show instead so it gets more buzz?

3 Body Problem is the new eight episode scifi series on Netflix from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Thankfully those two did not go through with their garbage plans for a series about an alternate reality where the confederacy won the civil war and slavery was still legal (they were really going to do this). This was instead their first post GoT show, and it’s based on a book by Liu Cixin, one of three in a series. I’ve watched all of 3 Body Problem, and like GoT there are some shocking moments and some baffling plot decisions. Some episode seem custom made for a weekly television show that will get us talking and waiting, only the entire season was released at once and it’s not getting that buzz online. Writer Alex Welch on Inverse wonders if this was a poor decision on Netflix’s part, and if GoT was the last big water cooler show. I’ve removed all the spoilers from the excerpt below, but the source article has some.

Despite the show’s high-profile nature, the popularity of its source material, and its considerable budget, 3 Body Problem hasn’t caused nearly the same stir as Benioff and Weiss’ previous show did every season. Is that because the new Netflix series hasn’t been a success so far? The streamer’s metrics are too unclear to say with any real certainty. However, one thing 3 Body Problem’s recent premiere does seem to confirm is that the age of event TV viewing is officially over.

3 Body Problem is no less ambitious than Game of Thrones. While it isn’t nearly as awe-inspiring as that HBO series managed to be, it is the kind of big-budget genre show designed to capture viewers’ attention and dominate cultural conversations.

As they did with Game of Thrones, Benioff and Weiss pack 3 Body Problem’s first season with jaw-dropping moments…

Season 1 of 3 Body Problem, for all of its flaws, had the potential to capture a similar level of attention. By dropping all of its episodes at once, though, Netflix has robbed the show’s biggest moments of their weight. It’s made the show something viewers can watch at their own pace, which has made the wider conversation around it frustratingly diffuse. That’s a far cry from the kind of engagement Game of Thrones not only cultivated but encouraged. The further away we get from it, the more it looks like Game of Thrones may have been television’s last true event show.

[From Inverse]

I don’t know if I agree with Welch’s idea that Game of Thrones is the last “event show,” but I’m not the right person to comment about that. I didn’t give a sh-t about Game of Thrones because it lost me a few seasons in and I stopped watching. Welch makes the point that content gets lost in this age of streamers, and this is definitely true. It’s my job to read entertainment news all day and I subscribe to just about every streamer. Most of the time I pick some dumb popular show on Netflix to watch. It’s like being confronted with a twenty page diner menu and ordering a burger and fries.

As for 3 Body Problem, there were some incredible scenes and performances, but the series didn’t add up to much. There were only two to three characters I cared about. Netflix could have released this season in two parts, as they’ve done with Stranger Things, The Crown and The Witcher. They only seem to make that business decision with established properties though. 3 Body Problem was entertaining but I hate watched the last couple of episodes. If it’s less popular due to the release schedule that means that Benioff and Weiss will get less opportunities to make huge budget shows. I’m fine with that. If they make a second season of this I’ll probably watch it, but I won’t feel good about it.

photos credit: Ed Miller/Netflix

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26 Responses to “Should ‘3 Body Problem’ be a weekly show instead so it gets more buzz?”

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  1. Danbury says:

    I have to say I really enjoyed it – the books are very complex (hard sci-fi), so it was difficult to translate that to the screen, and they did a good job. I’m looking forward to the second season though irritated that we’ll probably have to wait 3 years for it. I think they are right about the once a week thing though. We flew through it and I’m sad it’s done

    Edit: My fave in the series is Benedict Wong’s character – he had some excellent one liners

    • Flamingo says:

      Season 2 hasn’t been greenlit yet as far as I have read onine. Netflix has been more aggressive with one and done seasons lately. Without giving it a chance to grow and find new audiences.

      I am still salty they canceled Archive 81 on one season. And on a f’n cliffhanger!

      • Danbury says:

        Oh gosh that’s true. I hope they green light it. It’s not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it!!

    • ELX says:

      The Chinese dramatization came out last year and is on Prime now—highly recommend checking it out. The books are very complex. D&D reduced the that complexity and bowdlerized the book’s connection to the cultural revolution to create a decent sci-fi adventure that can be dubbed, subtitled and work in Netflix’s worldwide markets. That said, they also eliminated a lot of the dread, dramatic tension and emotional depth because so much of the situational references are gone. The Chinese series doesn’t have great CGI but it does have the dramatic tension needed to make an audience invest in a series, but it is very Chinese with an assumed knowledge of recent Chinese history and culture.

    • StarWonderful says:

      My husband and I are enjoying the series and are looking forward to more seasons. Was Octavia Butler’s novel KINDRED (about U.S. slavery) ever made for the screen? That would be something I’d watch, not a revisionist fantasy about the South winning the Civil War and continuing slavery.

      • NikkiK says:

        HULU did a limited series based off Kindred. It was released in 2022, I believe. But it kinda sucked and unnecessary changes were made. They should have stuck to the source material because that book is perfection.

  2. Ana Maria says:

    I gave up on episode 3; it was taking too long to tell me what is going on, or point me in the right direction

    • SussexWatcher says:

      You’re not missing anything. The ending was stupid and a horrible go-nowhere letdown.

      • Kokiri says:


        I thought the complete opposite. It’s perfect. Humanity is killing itself & will never change, never get it together, it’s all about power & money even when faced with annihilation. We aren’t trustworthy as a species at all. We destroy everything we come in contact with.

      • SussexWatcher says:

        But IMO it was the complete opposite of what you’re saying. The ending was basically saying that – in spite of what you’re saying about the awfulness of human beings – we will survive anyway, just like the insects.

        ETA – I agree with what you’re saying about the reality of humankind but I didn’t think the ending lived up to that storyline. I also didn’t think the aliens “coming to save us” were any better. I also didn’t appreciate that that one woman who made original contact felt she could make the decision on behalf of every single person on the planet. And also the whole thing with the people (including children) on the ship seemed like a huge cult and I couldn’t really get behind that.

      • Kokiri says:

        I didn’t think the aliens were coming to save us tho.
        In episode one they say that they will come to take the planet & live alongside us.
        The alien who makes first contact plainly says they are a pacifist & not to reply or they will come. That’s a threat, really.
        She was right to hit send to tell them to come, she saw the reality.

        Insects or not, once the aliens arrived we’d be wiped out, but everyone wins tes to try even tho we just keep destroying ourselves.

        I doubt there will be a season 2, so I think the ending is what it is: there can be no conclusion or winning any war.

  3. JanetDR says:

    I haven’t watched this yet but probably will. I’m just here to plug for The Tourist on Netflix! What a ride!

  4. Aimee says:

    I’m watching with my partner but once a week works for us because that’s all we have time for. Watched episode 2 yesterday. We’re a little baffled but enjoying it so far.

  5. Leah says:

    There’s a Chinese version available on Peacock. I haven’t watched it, but I’m more likely to than the Netflix, just because I don’t trust these showrunners at all.
    As for losing event shows, I do think streaming makes it harder. There’s so much choice, that of course we’re not all watching the same thing. 🤷🏼‍♀️

  6. Kokiri says:

    This show is just so excellent on so many levels.

    It doesn’t need to be weekly, but it did need more hype from Netflix. They always do this: fantastic show, no promotion, they cancel to low viewership.
    But gosh, we need multiple seasons of “is it cake?”

  7. Doodle says:

    I LOVED this show. My husband loved the books and was very excited for the show, and impressed with how they translated it to the screen. It’s pretty physics heavy and you have to pay attention so I can see how in our attention deficit world some people wouldn’t like it. We binged it – two episodes a night – and got through it in a week. If it was once a week I think a lot of small details important to the plot may have been lost. And I cared about every character and hard cried in one episode. I’m in a streaming group and this show got a lot of love. You have to be in the right mind set for it, but I looooooved it.

    • Kokiri says:

      Same. We binge it, loved it.
      It’s not a basic kind of show, you have to pay attention to all the details.
      Like Severance, it’s plot/detail heavy.

    • Danbury says:

      Me three! As I said above, loved it! I really hope they continue

  8. A says:

    I’m not surprised it flopped. They were touting it as the next Game of Thrones, it’s always a bad sign when something is labelled the next so and so before it has even premiered.

  9. VilleRose says:

    Haven’t watched this yet but probably will. I’m mostly here to give a shout to a show I recently binged on Netflix called Resident Alien, which I believe is in the same genre as 3 Body Problem in it’s a sci fi show about aliens taking over Earth (I’m just assuming that’s what 3 Body Problem is about too based on what I’ve heard). However Resident Alien is a SyFy show and doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Cheesy special effects and CGI and the show is SO funny. My entire family has watched it and we all love it. The third season is currently airing on SyFy and I hope it ends up on Netflix soon. Alan Tudyk plays the main alien character and I can’t praise his acting enough in that role. Also love the little boy who is the only one in the town who can see the alien in his true shape and the ridiculous sheriff lol. If you need a light-hearted comedy about aliens, this will be your jam. It’s kind of like a Hallmark show but with aliens is a good way to describe it.

    • I read the book and it’s a hard read. It’s pretty hardcore scifi. It’s very interesting but I did need to read spoilers and wiki pages to really have a grasp on what I was reading cause I was very confused while reading it.

      D&B took game of thrones and stripped out a lot of the magical and fantasy elements to make it marketable to more audiences. I have no doubt they wouldn’t do the same with a hardcore scifi novel…

  10. Fergus says:

    I can see people being confused by the show if they haven’t read the books (and maybe that’s a sign the show isn’t doing a good job if you need book knowledge, but the books are complicated and I think the series needed a couple more episodes). Anyway, no spoiler here, but the story is intense–existential dread. It’s basically the authors solution to Fermi’s paradox (given the age and size of the universe, there must be tons of intelligent life, how come we don’t have any contact?), which he calls the Dark Forest theory…that I won’t get into but it’s based on game theory, is very plausible, and the whole thing is very horrible. So, so very good and so, so very anxiety inducing.

  11. Elsa says:

    I tried to read the books because I love SciFi. However, I hate fatalistic types of of the genre so this one did not work for me. Plus it’s not easy reading.

    I liked the show, but I don’t l love it. It’s fairly well done I think? The part that I like best was the scary scene when the Alien pacifists replied.

    We have only made it through episode 2 so far.

  12. Kkat says:

    I haven’t watched it yet, but I read the books
    I HIGHLY recommend them.
    Excellent hard sci Fi, and there is a lot in that series.
    It is one of those book series I doubt they can do justice to.

  13. Abbie says:

    No, it’s just not a great show. I’m seriously dumbfounded why every news and entertainment site is desperately trying to make this show happen – is it because of the creators? It doesn’t deserve a buzz. Unlike Shogun on FX which is a phenomenal show that deserves all the buzz that it can get.
    Netflix definitely has had hits that everyone talked about, despite dropping all episodes at once (Wednesday? Squid Game?) so this is just a BS excuse on their part. They didn’t make a great show, they should accept that.

  14. TRex says:

    I’m going to start watching this just because of this article. If there’s no buzz, it’s because of marketing, not content.