In fact, it’s not so easy to find a series similar to 3 Body Problem. This work consists of three parts, with references to classic “hard” science fiction, historical/political fiction, action, and even a bit of space opera. One could, of course, choose series like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5, or Battlestar Galactica, where galactic politics is a significant part of the plot, but these are, of course, mostly space operas. So we decided to choose only series based on science fiction books that are more serious than ordinary space operas with a procedural structure.

It should be understood that the creators of TV series significantly alter and change the plots of original works, some of which are slightly or even very outdated, some of which are a bit difficult to adapt. And although we usually think that a book is always better, in some cases TV show authors manage to create an original work that complements, modernizes, or expands the universe of books. So TV shows are just as good as books, they’re just different, but of course, we encourage you to read the original sources as well.

Let’s get started. The series are sorted alphabetically so that no one is offended.

Altered Carbon

Years 2018-2020
Channel/service Netflix
Number of seasons/episodes 2 seasons / 18 episodes

A series based on Richard Morgan’s trilogy about Takeshi Kovacs. The first season is based on the first novel Altered Carbon (2002), the second on the third, The Furies Awakened (2005). Altered Carbon is a bit of cyberpunk, a bit of a detective story, and a bit of a hardboiled action movie.

After the first season, in which Takeshi Kovacs played Ewel Kinnaman and which was filmed very close to the book, the series was praised. In the second season, where Kinnaman was replaced by Anthony Mackie (such a radical change of actor corresponds to the technologies described in the books), the authors moved far away from the original source, and in general it was much weaker. After that, the rather expensive series was canceled.

There was also a separate full-length anime Altered Carbon: Resleeved, but it’s even weaker and has little to do with Morgan’s novels.

Childhood’s End

Year 2015
Channel/service Syfy
Number of seasons/episodes 1 season / 3 episodes

The miniseries is based on Arthur C. Clarke’s early novel of the same name, published in 1953, which, in turn, is based on the short story “The Guardian Angel” (1947). It is a story about aliens and the evolution of humanity. Interestingly, Stanley Kubrick himself was going to film this work back in the early 1960s, but instead he made 2001: A Space Odyssey: A Space Odyssey, written with the same Clarke.

Let’s be honest, even the version of Childhood’s End updated in the 1980s is already outdated. The creators of the series updated the story, made the characters deeper, and added new storylines. This is exactly the case when the series is not only better, but successfully complements the novel. There are deviations from the plot, of course, but they are not critical. In general, this is a very good attempt to adapt a classic of science fiction.

Brave New World

Year 2020
Channel/service Peacock
Number of seasons/episodes 1 season / 9 episodes

This is the second series, and the fifth attempt to adapt the great dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley, published in 1932. Of course, after all the events of the twentieth century, Brave New World looks too outdated, although it is interesting from a historical and literary point of view, so the authors of the series have significantly modernized the work.

Brave New World is a story about a utopian society built on class inequality and drugs. The new adaptation is praised for its more modern take on the theme raised by Huxley, but criticized for its general toothlessness, inertia, and lack of truly interesting characters to sympathize with.

The series has a good cast – Alden Ehrenreich, Harry Lloyd, Demi Moore – but Brave New World was canceled immediately after the first season.


Years 2021-
Channel/service Apple TV+
Number of seasons/episodes 2 seasons / 20 episodes

Adaptation of a series of seven novels by Isaac Asimov, written between 1951 and 1993. Asimov was inspired by Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, its fall, and the Foundations that would replace it.

Of course, the original novels of the series, which are based on stories from 1942-50, look a bit primitive and straightforward today, so the authors of the series have modernized, expanded, and deepened many of the storylines. In fact, only the general idea, the names of the foundations, and the names of the characters remain from Asimov’s original novels, and everything else is an interpretation. But it is quite a good one.

The first and second seasons of Foundation had generally good reviews, and the second season finale impressed viewers, so Apple extended this expensive sci-fi show for a third season, which will be released only in 2025.


Years 2023-
Channel/service Apple TV+
Number of seasons/episodes 1 season / 10 episodes

Another expensive Apple adaptation, this time of Hugh Howey’s dystopian short story/novel series Wool (2011-2013). Silo / Wool is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth where the remnants of humanity are trying to survive in an underground city with 144 floors. The main role in the series is played by actress Rebecca Ferguson, known for her roles in the Mission: Impossible and Dune.

Hugh Howey’s works are fresh enough that no updates were needed, and the differences from the books are minor. The show has good ratings on IMDb and has even been nominated for some awards. So Silo was renewed for a second season, which has already been filmed. The premiere date has not yet been announced.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Years 2017-
Channel/service Hulu
Number of seasons/episodes 5 seasons / 56 episodes

An adaptation of the feminist dystopian novel by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, published in 1985. The novel won the Arthur C. Clarke Award (1987) and was nominated for the Nebula and the Booker Prize. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a story of the United States after an environmental disaster that affected fertility. Women who are able to give birth are literally made slaves.

The authors of The Handmaid’s Tale series went much further than the author of the novel, changing and continuing the story of the heroine. In fact, the events of the original novel cover only the first season of the show. In the wake of the attention to the series and the work, 80-year-old Margaret Atwood wrote and published a sequel novel, The Covenants, in 2019, which takes place 17 years after The Handmaid’s Tale.

For her role in The Handmaid’s Tale, actress Elisabeth Moss won an Emmy Award and was nominated for 3 more times. The sixth and final season of The Handmaid’s Tale is due out in 2025.

The Expanse

Years 2015-2022
Channel/service Syfy (1–3), Amazon Prime Video (4-6)
Кількість сезонів/епізодів 6 seasons / 62 episodes

Adaptation of a series of novels by James S. A. Corey (pseudonym of writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank), published in 2011-2021. It is a space-political opera about the adventures of the crew of the Rosinant, which always finds itself in the most important point of space for the solar system and humanity.

The Expanse has survived closure and revival and lasted for 6 seasons, three of which were on Syfy and three on Amazon Prime Video. Unfortunately, the series does not cover the events of the last three novels in the series – The Rise of Persepolis (2017), The Fury of Tiamat (2019) and The Fall of Leviathan (2021).

The Expanse is a good, well-made space series with good actors who almost match the characters in the novel, but… the books are better.

The Man in the High Castle

Years 2015-2019
Channel/service Amazon Prime Video
Number of seasons/episodes 4 seasons / 40 episodes

The series is based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick’s alternative history novel of the same name. The book was published in 1962 and describes the world of 1962, in which Germany won the Second World War and, together with Japan, occupied the territory of the former United States.

The series took only the setting and general idea from Dick’s book, deviating significantly from the original source. The first season was good, but many people gave up watching after the much weaker second season. The third and fourth seasons seemed to be better, but the finale disappointed the audience. On the other hand, the ending of Dick’s original novel is also upsetting.

By the way, there is also a British TV series SS-GB based on the novel by Len Deighton, as well as a not very successful movie Fatherland based on a good novel by Robert Harris with Rutger Gauer in the title role.

The Peripheral

Year 2022
Channel/service Amazon Prime Video
Number of seasons/episodes 1 season / 8 episodes

A series from the creators of Westworld based on the novel of the same name by cyberpunk classic William Gibson (I didn’t even know the old man was still writing!).

The original work was published in 2014, so there’s nothing to update here, but as is often the case with Gibson’s multi-layered works, some things had to be simplified and many parallel storylines had to be abandoned.

The series was generally liked by the audience and was renewed for a second season. Unfortunately, it was buried by the strikes of the Hollywood actors’ union SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America. After almost a year’s delay in the start of production, Amazon decided to cancel The Peripheral. It’s a pity, Chloe Grace Moretz is a good actress, and the series itself is partly like a video game.

By the way, the second part of the book series, The Agency, was released in 2020. And now Gibson is working on the third book, Jackpot.

The Whispers

Year 2015
Channel/service ABC
Number of seasons/episodes 1 season / 13 episodes

The series is based on Ray Bradbury’s short story The Appointed Hour (1951), which has a surprising amount in common with The 3 Body Problem. But here, an unknown entity chooses young children as agents of influence.

The series received mixed reviews, primarily because of its excessive length. Indeed, it takes a lot of skill to stretch 10 pages of a story into 13 episodes. Plus, turning Bradbury’s chamber horror, which is primarily about the lack of communication between children and parents, into something like the X-Files is a wrong decision. Although The Whispers received generally good reviews, ABC canceled the show after the first season.

Tales from the Loop

Year 2020
Channel/service Amazon Prime Video
Number of seasons/episodes 1 season / 8 episodes

The basis for this series was not a novel or a short story, but a fantastic art book Tales from the Loop (2014) by the Swedish artist Simon Stolenhagen.

The artbook is a diary of memories of the protagonist’s childhood on an island with a particle accelerator that has a strange effect on the world around him. It is somewhat similar to Picnic by the Side of the Road from the point of view of a little boy. The artbook did not contain a complete story, but rather sketches with a certain mood, so the authors of the series created a separate story for it.

Tales from the Loop is a melancholic, unhurried, and strange story that will not appeal to everyone. The author of this selection likes it, and would love to see the adaptations of Simon Stolenhagen’s other art books – Things from the Flood (2016), The Electric State (2017), and The Labyrinth (2020). The cyberpunk-post-apocalyptic series based on The Electric State is supposed to be released on Netflix this year.

Under the Dome

Years 2013-2015
Channel/service CBS
Number of seasons/episodes 3 seasons / 39 episodes

The series based on Stephen King’s 2009 novel can, of course, be classified as horror, but it is still science fiction. In the story, a small town in Maine, the writer’s “favorite” state, is covered with a transparent dome that cuts it off from the outside world. Who said that this is plagiarism from Clifford Simak’s All Flesh is Grass (1965)?

The problem with Under the Dome is its length and its blurred ending. What takes King a little more than a week, in the series drags on for months. In addition, the authors have completely rethought the force that put the dome over the town.

The first season seemed to work for the audience, but the further it went, the worse the show got. But at least the first season is worth watching.

Other fantastic series based on books

Electric Dreams (2017–2018) – Channel 4 – 1 season, 10 episodes
Resident Alien (2021–) – Syfy – 3 seasons, 31 episodes
SS-GB (2017) – BBC One – 1 season, 5 episodes
The 100 (2014-2020) – The CW – 7 seasons, 100 episodes
The Man Who Fell to Earth (2022) – Showtime – 1 season, 10 episodes
The One (2021) – Netflix – 1 season, 8 episodes
War of the Worlds (2019-2022) – Fox, Star – 3 seasons, 24 episodes