On the evening of January 15, a Chinese-made TV show adapted from “The Three Body Problem,” a popular sci-fi novel series that won its author Liu Cixin a Hugo Award in 2015, was broadcast on CCTV-8, Tencent Video and Migu Video, receiving widespread online praise.
The drama broke Tencent Video’s record in terms of the popularity generated by a drama on its debut day, according to the platform. One hour after the broadcast, the recommended value generated in Tencent Video reached 94.1%, and audiences on Douban and Maoyan, major Chinese media review platforms, were discussing it actively.
As of 0:00 on January 16, there were 115 trending topics about the drama, and seven topics ranked first, such as one hashtag reading “Three-Body TV drama wins by a lot.”
The cast includes Edward Zhang, Yu Hewei, Chen Jin, Ava Wang, Lin Yongjian, and Li Xiaoran. The producers of the TV series are Tencent‘s Penguin Pictures, Migu Culture, Linghe Media and The Three-Body Universe. Penguin Pictures is a film and television development company led by Tencent Video. The Three-Body Universe is an IP development team under Yoozoo Games, the copyright holder of the novel’s adaption, and Migu Culture is owned by China Mobile. Linghe Culture is shared by Ciwen Media, a listed company.
At present, restoring the original work will be the biggest highlight of the TV series. Up to now, four episodes have been broadcast, and the audience expressed satisfaction with the rhythm and plot of the opening. The performances of several leading actors have been recognized by the audience.
Many famous lines, theories and scenes in the original work were restored. For example, Shen Yufei’s “The whole universe will flash for you,” Ye Wenjie’s “Come here, I will help you get the world,” and Chang Weisi’s “The whole human world is accidental.”
In addition, when Ye Wenjie was young, she received a warning in the form of flashbacks. Abstract theoretical concepts such as particle collision experiments, shooters and farmers are presented with concise special effects and animation, which lowers the audience’s understanding threshold.
A practitioner who has been engaged in the film and television adaption of the novel told Jiemian News that restoring the original work is currently the best way to adapt, and the animated version is the result of the creator’s “self-righteousness” and over-adaptation of the original work.
After watching the first episode, one web user couldn’t help but comment, “It is very close to the original work. But the drama has the same problem as the original work, that is, the understanding threshold is very high, and people without reading the novel will be confused.” Another web user wrote, “The TV series seems to be specially shot for fans who have read the original work. The timeline is interspersed with various flashbacks, and people may feel mysterious when watching it.”
As the main producer and broadcast platform of this drama, Tencent Video set up a separate sub-channel page for it, a popular science interpretation program “Decoding Three Body,” and a page on which users can directly read the original work.
Before the official broadcast, Tencent Video released Liu Cixin’s speech again and started a countdown to the livestreaming at 20:00, inviting Ava Wang to interact with the audiences.
Tencent Video urgently needs a popular show to pull back its audience and boost performance. According to Tencent‘s latest third-quarter financial report, the number of paid members of Tencent Video decreased by 7% year-on-year to 120 million, showing negative annual growth for three consecutive quarters.