Disappointing Episode 6 Now Free to Watch


The disappointing The Three-Body Problem Episode 6 is free to stream on YouTube, the same day it premiered on Chinese broadcast television.

The disappointing sixth episode of The Three-Body Problem is now free to watch on Tencent’s YouTube Channel. Tencent unlocks an episode for free the same day it premieres on Chinese broadcast television, which makes sense when they want as many people to get to see it as possible. Subscribers to the streamer can watch new episodes four days in advance.

“The Three-Body Problem” poster art, Tencent

We said the episode was disappointing because of its lack of forward motion on the story and what felt like censorship that took the teeth out of the story. In US terms, it’s like a recap episode where homicide cop Shi Qiang (He Ye Wei) explains to his boss General Chang what happened in the last five episodes, which the viewer would already have seen. It was a lot of telling, not showing, the worst offense in screenwriting. But it was the censorship of a key story point that left a bad taste in the mouth. The story of Ye Wen Jie’s father’s persecution during the Cultural Revolution was whitewashed and watered down from the original version in the book, which ends up diluting Ye Wen Jie’s character in the show.

Since we ran our review, there’s been debate and speculation over whether the change in that flashback was imposed on the production and reshot or if they chose to censor it themselves from the start. Some of you might wonder why we’re covering a show that might be accused of being propaganda or compromised by censorship. The reason is The Three-Body Problem is a milestone in several ways: Liu Cixin‘s book is the most significant Science Fiction novel since Frank Herbert’s Dune that, put Chinese Science Fiction on the world map, and the TV series is the first major Science Fiction television series to come from China. That makes it worth looking at to see what China is doing in their TV shows and how they’re doing it, and how it differs from or resembles US and UK shows. Censored or not, it’s still a major piece of culture.

Now that a new free episode of The Three-Body Problem is unlocking every day, we’ll be going back to review them on the day they’re released with a link to the YouTube stream so readers can watch it either before or after reading our review. We recommend watching it first.

Posted in: TV | Tagged: chinese science fiction, dune, Liu Cixin, TenCent, The Three-Body Problem, three-body

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