Why You Should Watch: 3% on Netflix
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3% is a Brazilian Netflix original that transports us to a dystopian version of Brazil, where at the age of 20, citizens are offered the opportunity to go through “The Process” in order to be one of the lucky 3% of the population who get to live in “The Offshore” — a place of plenty, rather than the poverty-stricken world they grew up in.
Though a fairly standard YA novel concept, the originality with which it is executed makes for some truly gripping TV.
The system itself is run by a sufficiently shady council with varying factions and ulterior political motives, while the Process is overseen by the sinister Ezequiel (João Miguel). Unfortunately for him, he’s under inspection from the hard-to-read Aline (Vivane Porto).
Additionally, “The Cause,” branded a terrorist group, are trying to take down the system in order to redistribute wealth in a fairer manner. The whole concept rests on the idea of fairness — of one’s own merit earning a better life — and whether the arbitrary measures of merit that make the Process really mean anything at all.
The group of 20 year olds we are introduced to each has an episode dedicated to their backstory as they face challenge after challenge designed to test whether they are worthy of a better life. While some believe wholeheartedly in the Process, others are more cynical, and we’re shown a variety of viewpoints on all sides of the issue.
Amongst them are Michele (Bianca Comparato), our protagonist, who enters the Process with her friend Bruna (Lilian Regina). They quickly make friends with the determined Fernando (Michel Gomez), who refuses to let others underestimate him because of his wheelchair. Marco (Rafael Lozano) comes from a privileged family whose members always make it through the Process, while Joana (Vaneza Oliveira) is a hardened orphan from the streets, and Rafael (Rodolfo Valente) is a sly wildcard for whom survival is his only concern.
As we learn more about the group, we learn more about the Process, and how and why it was set up. As more and more of the candidates are eliminated, the tests push them all to their limits — physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Designed to reveal the best of humanity, the tests also bring out the worst, and it a fascinating exploration of human nature.
Left with some successful candidates making it through to the Offshore, and the eliminated ones returning home embittered, the first season has only left us wanting more. The second season promises to reveal all about the mysterious Offshore society, as well as increase tensions amongst the council as the Cause reaches further than ever before.
Now is the perfect time to catch up before the second season drops, so give yourself a study break and spend a day binge-watching 3% — if you think exams are bad, just be thankful you don’t have to go through some of these tests!
3%: Season 2 will be available to stream on Netflix from Friday 27th April.