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Foundation (Asimov series)

Started by Dex Sawash, September 22, 2021, 10:25:33 AM

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Dex Sawash

This starts Friday on apple tv+, couldn't find an existing thread.
This'll be shit, I reckon or will be ok?


I reckon it looks pretty cool. I'm mildly optimistic. Looks like it must have cost a bomb


It's got Jared Harris, so I mean, I'm going to watch it.

Famous Mortimer

I read all the Asimov "future history" loose series of books that included the Foundation books (and "The End Of Eternity", which has had a few movie adaptations done) when I was a lad, so I'm looking forward to this.


I watched the trailer and it looks like a fuckton of money has been spent on it, but I'm already pretty sure that it's going to suffer from a mad discrepancy in acting ability.

It did remind me that I bought the first Foundation trilogy in Oxfam about a decade ago and only ever got around to reading the 1st one, so I'm going through Foundation and Empire now and am enjoying it immensely.


I really can't tell what they've done with the plot of this. It initially appears to be based on at least the first half of "Foundation" (the first novel, from 1951) - so the original stories "The Psychohistorians," "The Encyclopaedists" and "The Mayors" (Gaal Dornick and Salvor Hardin are characters in the show) plus uncertain amounts of prequels "Prelude To Foundation" and "Forward The Foundation."

And of course there's that fact that Asimov stories by and large tend towards the dry and sterile. Not much in the way of big emotional drama going on, Asimov's characters are logical sciencey types. But, while none of these stories were big on characterisation (the original trilogy especially, the prequel duology less so), it does mean that the character types can be changed from being (one might as well assume, it being the 1950s they were written in, after all - and at the behest of noted white supremacist, editor John W. Campbell, too) white men to a more diverse cast. The prequels did have more diversity at least...


Re-read the first three books not that long ago, and I was tickled by the way that the standard exclamation used in the book, where we would say "fucks sake" or "christ" is "space".


Started reading these a few years back and found them pretty enjoyable, got Foundations Edge waiting for me once I finish a couple of other things. Cannot fathom how it's going to work as a TV show without serious alteration. There is something of a thread to follow with the Mule stuff in books 2 and 3 I suppose. Seldon barely features as a character in those as well, I'm assuming there's more of him in the prequel books that they can draw from?


Yes, Seldon is the protagonist of Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation.


Fair enough, plenty Jared Harris for the fans then. He should do all his lines in that ropey Belter patois from The Expanse.

Mr Trumpet

Asimov doesn't really do interesting characters, so they'll need to put the work in to adapt it into something that will work on TV. Trailer is good though. Reece Shearsmith!


I was very much in the "What is point Lee Pace?" camp until I watched Halt And Catch Fire. My favourite binge show of last year.


Quote from: mothman on September 23, 2021, 09:17:55 PM
I was very much in the "What is point Lee Pace?" camp until I watched Halt And Catch Fire. My favourite binge show of last year.

If Lee Pace is in this I'm immediately interested. Halt And Catch Fire is a wonderful show that just gets better and better, with a terrific cast, that's been sadly ignored over the years.


Pace as the delusional leader of a dying empire is pretty great casting.

Y'know, watching the trailer again, it occurs to me that this could quite easily end up being the TV show with the largest death toll ever. I don't mean in an Oz / Game of Thrones style vast number of characters being killed off (though that might happen too) but in an abstract 'planets with billions of inhabitants being destroyed each week' kind of way. There's a lot of smouldering wreckage in the trailer.

Chairman Yang

You know, I thought this was alllllllllright. It did feel like watching a trailer for a new graphics card at points, but overall it was entertaining enough. I like Lee Pace in this as Nutter Man


Wife is watching it (she loves low-calibre sci fi for some mad reason - Babylon 5, Star Gate, the works).

She had it on last night and I got tremendous joy by spotting Reece Shearsmith and smugly announcing it, but otherwise it washed over me. It looked cheap as fuck to me, but that is probably because of my massively untrained sci fi eye.


Watched the first episode and there's some good and bad stuff. It's probably going to divert from the novels majorly (if it hasn't already, it's been thirty years since I worked my way through the novels). It's a bit tricky that in the original trilogy the only real main character is long dead for most of it.

No way to really tell yet if it's going to be any good to be honest. I did 'ooh' at the The Mule's namecheck though.


Yeah, likewise based on the first episode, it didn't feel very Asimovy. All the required plot elements of the first story, "The Psychohistorians," were there though. It's obvious that Prelude and Forward were used to help flesh out the world of Trantor in general and Hari Seldon in particular (and not just by adding Raych).

The fall of the orbital cable was possibly pinched from Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, though I'll note two points...

First, the "station" at the orbital terminus would need to be a lot bigger - the mechanics of how these towers work requires it to equal and therefore balance the weight of the cable itself; and it'd potentially spin out of orbit once the connection was severed, because of the speed it needed to be going to remain in geosynchronous orbit (I admit I'm a bit unclear on this part).

Second, the speed of the falling cable when it hit atmosphere would cause it to start burning as it re-entered, long before any part reached the ground. The planet would have been wrapped several times around by the mother of all burning tyre "necklaces".

Mr Trumpet

Is there really no way to watch this (legally) without subscribing to another new streaming service?


Apple were offering a year's free subscription with new devices purchased - at one point anyway (it's how I have mine). Sorry that's not much help but it's the only thing remotely close I can think of!


Mr Trumpet

Quote from: evilcommiedictator on September 26, 2021, 11:25:19 PM

We're not all stone cold outlaws mate

Also I don't want to get a virus on my nice new laptop

Head Gardener

Quote from: Povidone on September 23, 2021, 11:17:08 AM
plenty Jared Harris for the fans then.

Spoiler alert
looks like he died in episode 2


That's to be expected given the role he's playing. He'll still pop up a fair bit.

Ant Farm Keyboard

The first episode is actually free to stream even without a subscription to Apple TV+. You just need a browser or the Apple TV app, which works on a few non-Apple devices (Android, Android TV, PlayStation, etc.).


Despite my positive post earlier I've just realised I cannot be bothered to watch this. Just can't be arsed.


I've watched the first 2 episodes now. Some good bits of course as you'd expect from the high budget, but overall quite disappointing, certainly for Asimov fans. Seldon has little screen time and is killed off by episode 2. I'm sure 1-minute videos of him doing his crises will appear later, but a shame to lose by far the best actor and most interesting character, and to give him so little screen time. It's more about soap opera-level borgia action - sex, murder, betrayal, cruel emperor who likes executions - than the psycho-history elements, which is disappointing. D&I is over-done. Not much depth to the characters or story really, which is no mean feat for them to cock up given the available books.

Overall, engaging to the level of a B-movie, and pretty visuals, but to see Foundation represented like Babylon-5 is disappointing.


Chairman Yang

Oh my God, nobody is going to watch this.

Two-thirds of this episode is a time-jumping short story about the weirdo Emperor and the last third skips past the founding of the Foundation and resolving last week's cliffhanger to instead tell the story of a spooky dog.


I'm a big Asimov fan, but this is all a bit shit, sadly. God knows how much Apple spent on destroying Asimov's legacy with this. So sad, especially when you think how long we've being waiting for a Foundation TV series!

On the plus side, there are some excellent radio adaptations which do bother to use the source material, and don't ignore and kill off the main characters.