Julien Neaves, Editor
I have a question for you RedMangoReaders. That’s right. Pop quiz, suckers! Just kidding. Here’s the question: Have you ever had the experience where you’re watching a TV show and it is really great, but it seems like you’re the only one watching it? Well that was my experience for some time with excellent Netflix Korean period zombie drama Kingdom, until I finally started seeing a handful of people chatting about it on ye olde Facebook. But brilliant Brazilian dystopian drama 3%? Not a line. Not a word. Not a peep. I only started watching it because it popped up across my Netflix and I thought the poster looked interesting. And after watching a couple episodes I was like, “Dang. This show is really good.”
The series completed its fourth and final season this year (yes, this show has been running since 2016) and in lieu of a review I decided I would do a preview in the hopes that more people will check out this fantastic little series. So here we are. And these are Three Reasons You Need to Binge 3%:
Reason 1: Well-Developed World
The series is set sometime in the future where society has been separated into the bleak, poverty-stricken “Inland” and the idyllic “Offshore.” Only three per cent of those on the Inland get to go to the Offshore and that select group is chosen via a series of challenges for 20-year-olds called “The Process.” Now hearing the concept one may be tempted to write this show off as another Young Adult franchise like The Hunger Games or the Divergent series. But 3% shoos those shows to the kiddie table while it sits down to an exquisite five-course meal.
The series is a deep and nuanced interrogation of class struggle. Is it right for a few to enjoy the best in life while the rest suffer? And is it fair for people to live with the hope of a paradise-like existence when the odds of that happening are minuscule? And what happens if that hope is removed? Along the way the series also delves into issues such as religion, family, identity, truth, history and control. And both the worlds of the Inland and the Offshore (and another world later in the series) are brought to life with fantastic production design, top-tier effects and lots and lots of delicious bits of lore. This stratified, dynamic world feels very real and very possible, and viewers will enjoy every moment examining its beauties and its horrors.
Reason 2: Complex Characters
3% features some thrilling challenges in the Process and some life and death situations both inside and outside. But as exciting as these scenes are, if we didn’t care about the characters then it would have all fallen flat. Thankfully the writers (all 12 of them) take their time to craft interesting and three-dimensional people to populate this intriguing world. There is no black and white here, and your “heroes” do horrible things and your “villains” do heroic things.
There are characters you will start off liking, then grow to hate, and then like again. The characters feel like, well, people. And each of them, even the ones on the wrong side of this future history, are developed enough where you can understand why they do what they do.
Among this ensemble cast some of my personal favourites were João Miguel as the mysterious Process leader Ezequiel, Bianca Comparato as the cunning Michele, Michel Gomes as the driven, wheelchair-bound Fernando, Rodolfo Valente as the roguish Rafael, Vaneza Oliveira as street smart Joana, Thais Lago as the beautiful, caring doctor Elisa, and Laila Garin as no-nonsense military commander Marcela. These characters are wonderfully written and very well acted, and will keep you coming back episode to episode.
Reason 3: Superb Storytelling
The biggest reason to recommend 3% is the storytelling. It’s just dang good, and very intelligent and intense and gripping and twisty and funny, and…yeah, just dang good! Each season has a specific arc and then the next one builds upon it, expanding the world, the characters, and the lore. And all this leads to a pretty satisfying conclusion.
So if you like your dystopian Sci Fi mature, well-written and fascinating, and don’t mind the subtitles (it’s not that big a deal, people) then you should join the three per cent that have already enjoyed this masterpiece of a series.
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film, creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.
I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.