Netflix's 3 Body Problem isn't a universal success, but its creators are already working on season 2

A still taken from the trailer of 3 Body Problem
(Image credit: Netflix)

3 Body Problem, the new Netflix series from the creators of Game of Thrones, is getting mixed reviews from viewers – but its creators are reportedly already preparing for a second season.

As we said in our review of the sci-fi series, Netflix is taking a big gamble with the show. The books by Liu Cixin that it's based on are famously brain-melting, it takes some time to hit its stride, and it's quite a hard sell to people who aren't familiar with the source material. But it's a show worth sticking with, and its creators say that things get better still in the as yet unconfirmed season two.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, showrunners David Benioff, Dan Weiss and Alexander Woo say that there's a scene in season two that will make the current season's jaw-dropper look like a wam-up: "there's one scene, if we get to it, we're golden – like when we got to the 'Red Wedding' on Thrones."

According to Benioff: "It’s something we’ve talked about with the Netflix guys, too... The second book is far better than the first, and the third book just completely blew my mind. The story just gets more and more ambitious as it goes, and it takes a huge leap in book two. So I feel like if we survive to the second season, we’re going to be in a good place.”

What are people saying about 3 Body Problem?

As the Hollywood Reporter points out, the biggest negative against the show is that it's really expensive to make. The show is believed to be the most expensive scripted series in Netflix's history, with a budget rumored to be around $20 million per episode. It also hasn't rocket straight to number one in the Netflix TV chart in the UK, coming in at number two instead.

In our 3 Body Problem review by Tom Power, we said that it's "a cleverly constructed and sweeping epic that, once it navigates its clunky embryonic stage, finds an impressive balance between its high-brow plot, intimate and character-driven storylines, and grounding in real science and history-defining events... It won’t have the same, industry-altering impact that Game of Thrones had in 2011, but it’s more than earned a spot – a potentially permanent one – in my best Netflix shows guide."

The show is currently sitting at 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, where many reviewers share Tom's view that it takes a while to find its stride. The Verge says that "by the finale, it becomes clear that these episodes are really just laying the groundwork for an even bigger, more deeply complicated narrative." Den of Geek agrees that the first half is a little slow but says that "the back half of the season is consistently compelling, and sometimes downright thrilling". But not every reviewer agrees that the show's worth sticking with. The Chicago Tribune says that "somehow 3 Body Problem does not, in any way, feel urgent", while The Independent says that "no book is really unadaptable; the problem is that rendering it on screen will simply be too dull, or confusing. 3 Body Problem is somehow both."

Netflix has a reputation for being driven by numbers, so even popular shows can get the bullet if they're not being watched quickly enough or if too many people skip town after watching only a little bit. But 3 Body Problem could turn out to be a halo show, the kind of show that encourages people to sign up for subscriptions and for showrunners to want to be on the network. Could 3 Body Problem be a three season show that rivals Apple TV Plus' sci-fi crown? We wouldn't bet against it.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.