3 Body Problem is an absolute must for fans of hardcore sci-fi, but something of an intellectual challenge for everyone else.

Those who once praised David Benioff and DB Weiss for not failing the seemingly impossible mission of adapting George Martin’s novels into the Game of Thrones could not have imagined its dismal conclusion, nor could they have expected the two screenwriters to succeed in adapting such a monumental science fiction work to TV.

Available on Netflix since March 21, the eight-episode 3 Body Problem is based on the first book of Liu Cixin’s trilogy, Remembrance of Earth’s Past and the impressive result of a laborious process of reworking, rewriting and adapting a complicated plot, featuring a myriad of complex characters, as well as philosophical reflections.

Viewers will have to brush up on their knowledge of physics, maths, engineering and biology to enjoy the mind-bending opus.

The series unfolds across multiple timelines, moving between various locations around the world – and beyond – to depict the initial contact between human scientists and an alien civilisation struggling to assess our elusive species.

Weiss and Benioff make a monumental effort to translate the literary source into something accessible to the television audience, particularly the Western one, adding and removing characters, merging them together, reassigning their genders, experiences and nationalities in a slightly unfaithful adaptation that captures the essence of Cixin’s work.

The vast majority of Chinese characters from her novels swap passports to produce a more heterogeneous mix, but the core of the narrative, most importantly astrophysicist Ye Wenjie, wonderfully played by Rosalind Chao, remains. Surviving the Chinese Cultural Revolution and employed in a secret project researching extraterrestrial life, she is the one who, in the 1960s, stumbles upon the first message from space.

Fast forward to our times, and a group of young scientists who studied together at Oxford under Dr Wenjie, their mentor, discover the consequences of that interception. The alien population that has discovered the existence of our planet and its inhabitants is on its way to Earth, but its presence is already palpable.

To say more would spoil the series, but, if you love cerebral, complicated and slightly unsettling TV, 3 Body Problem is definitely one for you.