The Brazilian Sci-Fi Drama You Didn't Know You Needed

I never thought I’d be saying that a Netflix Original sci-fi drama is one of my favorite shows, but here we are. 3% is honestly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and it makes me sad that many people haven’t heard about it. It’s just as good as, if not better than, every other Netflix Original. I almost didn’t watch it, but thanks to some convincing from my dad, I ended up watching the entire series in a few days. I’m so glad that I did.

The show 3% features an all too familiar future where the elite - the “three percent” - inhabit a paradise far away from the overcrowded inland slums. When a participant turns 20, they have the opportunity to take a test determining if they are worth joining the three percent or if they have to remain in poverty. The drama has many familiar features of the dystopian genre: government-enforced poverty, tests for the youth, high-tech and radical medicine, and a rebellion against it all. But, at the same time, it contains many new and refreshing takes on the typical and somewhat overdone elements of the genre, putting it on any must-watch list.

Unlike The Hunger Games, which 3% is often compared to, the show features a diverse cast. (Thank God!) It contains multiple people of color in its main and supporting cast. One character is a black woman who is arguably the most intelligent character in the show. Another black woman works as a spy with interesting motivations. I was never sure if I was supposed to like her or not, and I loved that conflict. Also present in the cast is a physically disabled black man. He uses a wheelchair, but his story doesn't fall into the trap of finding a “cure.” Season 2 also has its share of diverse characters including a transwoman and a polyamorous couple.

On top of its diverse and stellar cast, the show is incredibly well-written. Every character, including the “villains,” has clear and justified motivations for their actions. I’m a sucker for anything that’s well-written, but especially some well-written villains. The audience is torn between who to support at each moment. Each character has deep backstories that are revealed slowly throughout the series and as the characters develop. Nothing is fed directly to the audience, but it's all there to be pieced together, and it's extremely entertaining to watch each character try their hardest for what they want.

Since the show is a Brazilian drama the actors speak Portuguese. This shouldn’t turn English-speaking audiences away, however. The acting is phenomenal, and it transcends languages. The actors all have incredible skill and control over their voices, enough so that when I began to watch Season 2, I had forgotten that it was in Portuguese and that I needed to turn on the subtitles. I had simply adjusted to it within moments of emerging into the world of the show. With just a glance or nod, the actors allow the audience to know what the characters are thinking, further pulling them into the fantastic show.

3% has been confirmed for a third season which will likely release in the spring of 2019. This show is a gem among sci-fi dramas. While making audiences think about themselves, their morality, and the society in which they live, it’s also widely entertaining. 3% is an amazing show, and everyone should be talking about it.