Foundationis the masterpiece of Isaac Asimov, who according to the Clarke-Asimov Treaty is considered the second-best science fiction author. For many it was a story considered unfilmable, and after two episodes of the new Apple TV+ series, it still is.
- Foundation and Brave New World – Two classics from Science Fiction will become series
Now go: Foundation, by Isaac Asimov is Apple’s newest exclusive series
- Asimov is da King (Credit: Internet Reproduction)
Foundation started with some loose stories published in the 1940s that Asimov decided to unify into a cohesive narrative. In 1951 he released the book Fundação, composed of these stories and some unpublished material. The result was a story of (literally) extremely ambitious galactic proportions, involving thousands of years and hundreds of characters. books, the last one, Forward the Foundation was released posthumously, in 1993.
While for most people Science Fiction was Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, Asimov created an extremely cerebral story, running away from the clichés that plagued Science Fiction since its beginning. Foundation for a long time was considered the best Science Fiction story series of all time.
OK, after all what is it Foundation?
The premise of the story is that Humanity founded a Galactic Empire, around the Year 10000, which for 12 thousand expanded its borders, reaching more than 25 million planets, and quadrillions of inhabitants.
Hari Seldon, a famous mathematician, develops a new branch of mathematics called Psychohistory. Through esoteric formulas and other scientific gimmicks that are never explained in detail, he is able to predict the fate of large population groups, such as planets or even the Galactic Empire.
Hari discovers that the Empire only has 500 years to live, it will crumble and give way to 30,000 years of civil war, a total dark age, with all of humanity’s accumulated knowledge lost. Of course the Empire doesn’t like the idea of a famous scientist spreading the word that the Emperor is going to fall.
Really so grudgingly the Empire accepts that Hari may be right, and understands that his proposal, to create a Foundation to aggregate all the Empire’s Knowledge and share it can work.
According to Hari’s calculations, with the Foundation Chaos can be reduced to just a thousand years. He is then exiled to a remote planet with other scientists, to proceed with the plan.
Amidst all this we have palace intrigues, negotiations, mathematics, loosely connected parallel stories. I know it doesn’t sound like the epic story it is, but I’m trying to describe a castle in Austria looking at a shard of tile.
- Space Elevator in Trantor (Credit: Apple TV+)
In Foundation Hari Seldon is not the protagonist, the main character is Psychohistory and the Foundation itself. As the books advance, characters change, locations change, stories change. It’s like you’re going to watch Loki and he only appeared in the first episode.
Foundation looks and is written like a History book, and is the opposite of everything a TV series or movie has to be.
How Did You Resolve Foundation?
David S Goyer, who has written much of everything you’ve watched, took this heap of material and… added content. The big thing was to focus a lot on the Emperor, played by the excellent Lee Pace, who you know as Ronan the Accuser, from Guardians of the Galaxy.
In the Apple TV+ version the Empire is commanded by a Triumvirate, all clones. An elderly, a child and an adult, the character of Lee Pace. Even with the passage of years in history, we have a consistent villain, and children, what a villain. In two episodes, the Emperor is already listed for the Great Villains Gallery. Palpatine boots in slippers.
The story begins with Gaal Dornick, a young girl and brilliant mathematician born on Synnax, an extremely backward, deeply religious planet that went so far as to criminalize science. Kind of like Alabama. She won a contest and won the prize of becoming a pupil of Hari Seldon.
Gaal goes to Trantor, the Capital of the Empire, a planet with 40 billion inhabitants, with the entire surface covered by a single gigantic city. If that reminds you of Coruscant, George Lucas has also read Asimov.
Barely arriving, Gaal discovers that Hari is about to be arrested for subversion, and so is she. Hari assures her that she is safe as she is the only person who can prove his math wrong.
- Gaal, math and gas station business owner (Credit: Apple TV+)
After a public hearing where Gaal confirms that the Empire will fall , the emperor wants to kill them both, but beforehand a terrorist attack blows up the Trantor Space Elevator, killing 50 million people. Thinking that Hari is behind the explosion, the Emperor summons the two, but Gaal bluffs that if Hari is killed the Emperor will die within a year. two will be exiled to Terminus, Empire Acre, where they will work to build the Foundation, delay the Fall of the Empire and reduce the period of chaos.
Fundação is the most beautiful series I’ve ever seen, and that includes Luciana Vendramini’s Instagram Stories. They managed to create a unique look, the series stands out from everything that has been done, and look what space science fiction series is found by bunch at the fair.
The visuals are impressive even when compared with recent series like The Expanse, Lost in Space or Star Trek : Picard. The landscapes are grand, the costumes are more diverse than the cast (Apple series, right?) and the visual identity is detailed, each culture is its own, from gestures to hairstyles.
It almost makes up for the virgin Asimov viewer to feel a bit bored trying to follow the story, but that’s inevitable. It’s a lot that needs to be explained quickly in a first episode, you’re trying to assimilate an entire Universe, from a work that is 100% cover to cover explanation of this Universe. There is no such thing as “Here is Middle-earth, let’s go to the hobbits.” Foundation is the History of Middle Earth.
Foundation with pewpewpew navinha?
Yes, to the horror of asimophiles, David Goyer has sent space battles, gunfights and knife fights into Foundation. I know, I know, there’s none of that in the original but TV is a visual medium, it can’t be turned into a Kevin Smith movie. The action and romance scenes (yes, there is romance, accept that it hurts less) also serve to help the viewer to like the characters.
In the books the characters are very shallow, they they only serve to advance the story, but in a series, it’s complicated to trap the viewer with characters he doesn’t care about.
Goyer said it will stretch the beginning of the first book a lot, that will make up the 1st season. He already has 8 planned. Apparently we’re going to see a lot of Gaal Dornick during these ten episodes, which is cool. Lou Liobell is giving a good version of the character, and the text treats Gaal as a prodigy but not as a Mary Sue. She’s not Rey. Phew.
Space of Thrones
Apple dumped a truckload of money in Foundation, she wants a hit for her streaming service, ideally the next Game of Thrones. On paper (no pun intended) Foundation don’t buy this (dsclp) paper, but adaptation has potential. By moving away from the colder and more cerebral narrative, and telling a more visceral story, Foundation can gain a good audience.
After the puddle that was
the latest version of Brave New World, I was taken aback with adaptations of classics, but I recognize that this version of Foundation for the present day is excellent, without being paternalistic, without having a moral lesson and without calling the spectator an ass, “I’ll simplify this for you” .
Foundation is like a mosaic of images. From a distance, we see Isaac Asimov, up close, can be done with images of James Cameron. The two are fundamentally different, but equally good in their fields. Apple understood that it was impossible to transpose Foundation to TV, so they did the closest thing: Kept the spirit and built a new body around it.
Where to watch:
Foundation passes on Apple TV+.
5/ 5 Kylon Rens, who is a kind of Emperor Cleon I, without testosterone.
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