Alright, so here's the deal with this TV series that I recently watched. First things first, I gotta warn you: spoilers ahead! So, if you're planning on watching it, maybe skip this review for now.
Now, let's get into it. The main issue with this series is its sci-fi plot, or should I say lack thereof? It's clear that the plot follows closely the book it's based on, which also suffers from being uneven and poorly constructed. The book and the series are packed with interesting...
ideas and scientific concepts, but the execution falls short. The author just couldn't properly develop their ideas and material, resulting in a flimsy plot that requires a ton of special effects and complicated explanations to make any sense.
The sci-fi part revolves around this imaginary planet called Trisolar, where the inhabitants have a non-linear civilization. Basically, their planet gets destroyed and reborn in a continuous cycle, which is actually a fascinating concept. However, everything else that happens in the story takes place on Earth and could have been explained in many different ways. We've got a cult that believes aliens are coming to invade, thanks to the ideas of a disturbed scientist. There are suicides, murders, and strange phenomena that mess with the scientists' minds. Plus, there's a badass cop trying to solve the mysterious deaths using unconventional methods. All these elements could have made for an engaging and suspenseful plot without relying on confusing pseudo-scientific explanations that jumble everything up. They throw in everything from alien life to environmental destruction to particle accelerators. It's a mishmash, really.
And here's the kicker. The whole Trisolar planet storyline turns out to be nothing more than assumptions made by the characters in the book, presented as a virtual reality (VR) game. There's no concrete support or realism to back it up. It all rests on the claims of a mentally unstable female scientist, who claims that just four messages are the basis for this messy plot. The messages go like this: Earth sends a message into space, hoping to make contact with other civilizations. The alien civilization replies with a threatening message, saying they're coming to conquer us. The disturbed scientist then responds, inviting them to conquer Earth because apparently, we can't solve our own problems. And finally, the aliens reply, saying they'll be here in a few Earth years, destroying our scientific progress along the way. Their reasoning? They see us as insignificant bugs. Yeah, don't ask me how both civilizations reached these conclusions because it's not explained. Nor is it explained how Earth managed to gather information about Trisolar or how the Trisolarians determined Earth was suitable for them based on this correspondence. It's all just a mess.
So, basically, the problem with this whole sci-fi plot is that there isn't really any sci-fi plot. It all boils down to some aliens coming to conquer Earth, and that's about it. The only redeeming qualities of this series are its high production value, some great acting, and a few touching scenes with the actress who plays Ye Wen Jie. There's also some light criticism thrown at the Chinese Cultural Revolution, although it feels quite tame, probably to avoid offending certain individuals (looking at you, Zi Xiping). I could go on and on about the plot holes and the disappointing final episodes, but honestly, it's just not worth it. The sci-fi plot is practically nonexistent, and the VR game we're forced to watch through the players' eyes is boring as hell and the CGI is subpar. This whole thing didn't convince me to invest in the equipment needed to play it. Overall, it's a big pass from me for this concept.