Netflix Aims for Big Streaming Hit With Immersive ‘3 Body Problem’ Activation at CES 2024

LAS VEGAS — Is the new Netflix series “3 Body Problem” the next “Game of Thrones”?

The streamer certainly hopes so — and to better its chances, Netflix returned to the CES show floor for the first time in six years with a glitzy mirrored booth where guests are being given an immersive preview of the sci-fi drama series, which starts streaming on March 21 — and which happens to be the work of David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the creators of “Game of Thrones.”

Guests don a shiny silver gaming headset — modeled after the one in the series — and are taken on a wild cinematic ride rich with special effects.  “3 Body Problem” is an ambitious epic from Benioff and Weiss, along with Alexander Woo, that was adapted from Chinese author Liu Cixin’s Hugo Award-winning book trilogy. The eight-episode series is set in a fictional past, present and future in which Earth encounters an alien civilization from a nearby system of three stars that orbit one another, a nod to the three-body problem in orbital mechanics.

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The series is centered around a young woman living in 1960s China who accidentally contacts the aliens using high-powered radio waves. Scientists start dropping dead, prompting a group of survivors to join forces with an unorthodox detective to confront the greatest threat in humanity’s history. They use a gaming headset to transport themselves into an unknown world with what appears to be a very dark future.

“What we are hoping to do is to convey the experience — if not necessarily the exact details — of the novel onto the screen,” co-creator Woo said on the Netflix companion site  “What stayed, we hope, is the sense of wonderment and the sense of scope, of scale, where the problems are no longer just the problems of an individual or even a nation, but of an entire species.”

The series stars Jovan Adepo, John Bradley, Rosalind Chao, Liam Cunningham, Eiza González, Jess Hong, Marlo Kelly, Alex Sharp, Sea Shimooka, Zine Tseng, Saamer Usmani, Benedict Wong and Jonathan Pryce.

A new preview trailer also was released on Jan. 9, opening day for CES and the Netflix booth.

Netflix is looking for another streaming mega-hit on a scale with “Game of Thrones,” which was shown on HBO and what was then called HBO Max — and became something of a pop cultural phenomenon. Netflix led the way with hit original series such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black,” but as high-profile streamers proliferated, the competition for audiences has grown increasingly intense. Netflix has continued to pump out successful streaming series and movies, but nothing has become a pop cultural phenomenon quite like “Thrones.”

Well, almost nothing. Netflix’s “Squid Game” generated 2.1 billion hours viewed, worldwide, in the Korean series’ first month on the streamer.  Netflix said 142 million subscriber accounts watched part of the show during that same time frame.

Who’s Your Sugar Daddy? David Benioff, DB Weiss Exit Disney ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy for Netflix

It’s nice to be loved, but the subscription streaming wars are hitting the bottom line.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss who co-created HBO’s rating juggernaut “Game of Thrones,” have reportedly exited their participation in a new “Star Wars” trilogy series set for Disney’s branded subscription streaming service — for Netflix.


Benioff and Weiss over the summer inked a $200 million multiyear exclusive content deal with the SVOD pioneer — while also contractually linked to “Star Wars” — not uncommon in Hollywood.

With Netflix and Disney now competitors in SVOD, the bigger money apparently won out.

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“There are only so many hours in the day. We could not do justice to both ‘Star Wars’ and our Netflix projects,” Benioff and Weiss said diplomatically in statement first reported by Deadline. “So we are regretfully stepping away.”

So strong is the duo’s reputation, however, that Disney welcomes their return to the Magical Kingdom sometime in a future galaxy.

“David Benioff and Dan Weiss are incredible storytellers,” Kathleen Kennedy, president of Disney-owned Lucasfilm, said. “We hope to include them in the journey forward when they are able to step away from their busy schedule to focus on ‘Star Wars.’”

Game of Thrones: Season 8


$19.99 SD; $26.99 HD;
Not Rated.
Stars Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Liam Cunningham, Nathalie Emmanuel, Alfie Allen, John Bradley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Gwendoline Christie, Conleth Hill, Rory McCann, Jerome Flynn, Kristofer Hivju, Joe Dempsie, Jacob Anderson, Iain Glen.

The eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” is certainly its most divisive, setting off a wave of Internet debates as to whether the final run of episodes was worthy of the extensive storytelling that had been laid out before.

Much of the ire seems to be focused on the creative decisions made by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss in mapping out the final story arcs of the various characters once they no longer draw from the “Song of Ice and Fire” novels by George R.R. Martin, which formed the basis of the first five seasons.

A noticeable shift in the show’s pacing occurred in season six, once it was clear they had to create their own after reportedly receiving outlines from Martin about how he envisioned the saga more or less ending up. After season six, it was announced the show would wrap up in 13 episodes split into two seasons, with seven in season seven and six in season eight.

In hindsight, the argument goes, this timeline was insufficient in setting up the character development needed for the plot twists of the final episodes, leaving the final storylines feeling rushed while retroactively weakening the earlier seasons by both devaluing their story development and making it clear (particularly to readers of the novels) where the show missed opportunities to lay the foundation for the plot points the writers eventually decided to pursue.

The series has spent seven seasons seemingly maneuvering every character into two factions. One is the army gathering at Winterfell to fight the Night King and the White Walkers. This is the faction commanded by Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, who joined forces last season. However, their truce may be complicated by the lingering truth of Jon’s true heritage, which could present an obstacle to Dany’s claim to the Iron Throne.

Meanwhile. Queen Cersei has fortified her hold on King’s Landing through an alliance with Euron Greyjoy’s fleet and a mercenary army.

The first two episodes deal largely with various characters reuniting, setting the stage for the battle against the Night King, which takes place in the third episode. The final episodes involve the battle for King’s Landing and its aftermath.

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So, is the final season as problematic as the darkest corners of the Internet would make it out to be? Well, mostly no, but a little bit yes.

The ire seems to fall into two categories. The first, as mentioned, is the show rushing to get to the end. The second is the specific outcomes for some of the characters, which may have differed a bit from what some of the more entitled fans envisioned in their heads.

As to the second point, such is often the refrain of toxic fandom, and seems misguided. The character arcs themselves are fine and completely understandable, particularly when it comes to the most divisive of the individual stories, that of Queen Daenerys and her quest to reclaim the Iron Throne on behalf of her family.

The show has always been an examination of the dangers of tyranny and absolutism, even when the results of such governance may seem beneficial. The cycle of inherited power is itself the problem, not the potential for harm a new ruler may bring.

That being said, it’s hard to disagree that the final march to the end was a bit rushed, and perhaps could have used a few episodes to show events for the characters to experience that might reinforce their motivations in the final battles.

The final season is fine as it is, as easy as it is for fans to pick it apart, and will likely come to be better regarded once absorbed into the bulk of the show as fodder for binge viewing. While the asinine suggestion of fan petitions to “remake the season with competent writers” is beyond the realm of credibility, it’s hard not to at least entertain the idea of filming a few more episodes of material to expand on the character development, then re-editing them into the final couple of seasons (though, realistically, that ain’t happening either).

The show’s critics are also quick to overlook the many strengths of the final season, which offers some of the most stunning visuals of the series. This includes the purposefully dark and moody third episode, which uses its nighttime setting to great effect give viewers the same sense of unseen dread the characters would experience in fighting off wave after wave of undead armies.

There was some concern about the cinematography being too dark upon its initial airing, but this isn’t much of a problem with the digital HD presentation.

The other aspect of concern in fan circles were all the memes pointing out Starbucks cups and plastic water bottles left on the set for key scenes. The prominent coffee cup was subsequently digitally erased from episode four, but a few water bottles spotted under the chairs in the “Council of Lords” scene in the finale were still visible in the digital copy of the episode, at least within the first few days of its digital release. It will certainly be something to keep an eye out for in the eventual Blu-ray release that should arrive in a few months.

The digital package of the final season also includes a four-minute production featurette, a 17-minute profile of a key season from the third-episode battle, and The Last Watch, the feature-length documentary chronicling the making of the show’s final season that provides an enlightening look at the filmmakers and craftsman who brought it all together.