3% is Netflix’s first venture into a Portuguese-language original series, and the second non-English show to grace their platform. The dystopian series enters a future where there is a strict separation between elite (those on the Offshore) and those who live in poverty (on the Inland). Every year, all 20 year olds from the Inland are recruited to join the Offshore in a competition that is known as the Process, where only 3% of candidates will succeed.
Right off the bat, many Netflix goers might assume that this wreaks of a Hunger Games ripoff. Those people couldn’t be more wrong. Though it can be compared to the former blockbuster franchise, the 8-episode Brazilian series takes morality to another level that doesn’t rely on the theatrics of an epic arena showdown.
Movies like The Maze Runner, Divergent, and The Matrix rely on theatrics, explosions, and breathtaking backgrounds to set the stage. 3% takes the concept of dystopia and turns it on its head by taking place in a regular building for the majority of the series. What makes the series so watchable is the morals that are at play with each character.
3% keeps you hooked episode after episode by showing how far someone will go to make their dreams a reality, in this case by reaching the Offshore. The show follows Michele Santana (played by Bianca Comparato), a girl determined to avenge the death of her brother during the Process.
While 3% centres around Michele, each character in the series is faced with their own inner demons, which gives watchers something to relate to. Ezequiel (played by João Miguel), the current head of the Process, is shrouded in mystery throughout most of the series until you find out what made him such a radical leader.
A wheelchair user, an orphan, and a wealthy boy are some of the few candidates who Michele is assigned to in her group to pass tests that examine teamwork, leadership, and fears. These characters, though vastly different, are relatable and bring a fresh perspective on dystopian franchises that always focus on the underdog.
With each episode a new obstacle has to be overcome before candidates can move onto the next round. As Ezequiel repeats in the series, “You create your own merit.” The true length to which the candidates will have to prove themselves worthy of the Offshore is unimaginable and reminds watchers that a similar future could be right around the corner.
Many Western Netflix goers won’t give this series a chance because it breaks off from the norm of an English-language series. Stop re-watching episodes of The Office, Friends, and How I Met Your Mother and give 3% a try. If you so choose, you can watch the series dubbed, but its in your best interest to go with the originally intended Portuguese.
Go binge this thought-provoking series in less than eight hours! It’ll be worth your time. Season 2 will be airing in 2018.
Aaron is a Broadcast and Online Journalism student who loves hiking and drinking bubble tea whenever he has a spare moment. He aspires to travel around the world and explore all cultures in a journalistic manner.