A science fiction novel called The Three-Body Problem was released in 2008 and English translation arrived in 2014. As Wikipedia says: “It won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel and was nominated for the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel.” so the book has some merits.
This year (2018) there were some news that said Amazon will make a TV show from it. This blog post contains my small notes about why the show will fail.
Definition of fail
- Won’t be faithful adaption of the book
- Will contain bad CGI
- Won’t convey ideas of the book correctly
The biggest problem: China
The second biggest theme in book is that China has had multiple massive failures in last 50 years. Since most of locations in book are happening in China, and most of characters are Chinese, proper TV version would honour this.
But I won’t believe that China wants to give support to TV show that portrays China as a bad place. It is not a first time China has meddled with media that does not “fit in”.
Also viewers in USA would most likely to see at least some English speaking actors on the screen since they don’t really like subtitles.
Problem is that you really cannot change the China to another country. Or much of the content will be lost in the process. Only viable location would be former USSR, but it would still require major rewrites and most likely would result quite a different story.
The second biggest problem: CGI
When writing a text only book, you don’t have to worry about visual side of the things. But that does not apply to a TV show. If the TV show will follow book in 1:1 fashion, there will be so many long CGI scenes that most people won’t like it. E.g. the game, alien planet (Trisolaris) and ship in Panama will all have to be made in CGI.
With major rewrites one could reduce numbers of game and Trisolaris scenes, but that would make pacing a lot different than in the book.
The third biggest problem: Science
Even the book lacks in explaining department. But average Sci-fi reader knows a thing or two about problems of space travel, galactic communications, etc. so readers can easily forgive things like that. But average Amazon Prime user will need more explaining about the science behind the book. So if they want to keeps thing coherent, they have to either add additional scenes to the TV show or change the formula.