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Foundation (Asimov series)

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

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mothman

Quote from: Pinball on October 29, 2021, 09:50:13 PM
I wonder whose legacy Apple will piss on next?
William Gibson's Neuromancer. It's been a bit of a holy grail, adaptation-wise, in its own right.

Or they'll do something really unheard-of, and adapt The Catcher In The Rye.

batwings

The emperor with all the clones is called Cleon? That's very on the noes.

mothman

I feel very dense for not spotting that. Though the emperor being called Cleon is from the books. I'd be willing to bet that "Hey guys, how about this - what if CLEON was a CLONE?" was something that was said in the writer's room.

Alberon

Probably where they got the idea from. This whole clone nonsense isn't in the books.

EDIT: Mothman had the same idea!

batwings

It's a smart way to keep the same actors over hundreds of years of story, I'll give them that.

mothman

But one that ignores not only the source material but its inspiration - the Galactic and Roman Empires' later periods were both marred by regular and frequent changes in rulers. Some lasted longer than others. I can't think of any examples of any empires which plodded along stagnantly with (effectively) the same person at the helm for prolonged periods. Apart from the U.K. after 1952.

Pinball

Oh dear. In the latest episode, Hari's protege revealed that she can magically predict the future i.e. has supernatural powers. She told Hari's temporary hologram this, and it means that Hari and psychohistory are no longer relevant to the story, also Hari's plan has been changed now, anyway, so ceases to be relevant.  So that's the end of Asimov's main plotline, then!

The other main plotline is Cleon vs the female religion planet, and I'm wondering if the protege 'Prophet' might link with the religion vs Cleon and the Empire? Swap a theocracy for a dictatorship.

Chairman Yang

You'd think that the ability to create software with human-like intelligence would kind of shit all over the premise of Foundation... and it does!

I also don't know how 'I always planned to be murdered by you and become a ghost, Son' doesn't make Hari an enormous arsehole. It's like the main irony of Psychohistory that once you invent it it becomes more or less useless but here it's just presented as Maths Faith that the writers got bored with before the end of the first series.

For. Fucks. Sake.

mothman

There were a few moments in this episode I found myself actually quite enjoying. The to-and-fro between Brother Day and the prophetess or whatever she is. Parts of the exploration of the Invictus. Even the bits with Jared Harris just standing there being an asshole hologram we're light years better than anything else the cast did and went to show how chronically underused, wasted even, he's been in this.

One thing seems to have slipped under the radar: Hari explicitly calls it the FIRST Foundation. And Gaal's precognitive ability shouldn't necessarily be unusual given the abilities of the SECOND Foundationers - but of all the abilities they manifested, control of mind, emotions, consciousness and memory, I don't think any of them ever displayed precognition. So it's a bit of a weird one, be nice to think there's a Plan but it all continues to feel slapdash.

And I'm getting really fed up of the Anacreon woman. She looks like Marco Inaros from The Expanse and has the same lack of any discernible acting ability.

Chollis

Quote from: mothman on November 04, 2021, 06:04:42 PM
She looks like Marco Inaros from The Expanse and has the same lack of any discernible acting ability.

yeah good shout, really hope she gets cunted into space soon

agree that there were better parts in this episode, I'm a sucker for centuries old abandoned planet-killing spaceships. i can't remember how much, if any of this was in the books, it's been so long since I read them that all I really remember is the beginning, Trantor, Terminus and Hari Seldon's hologram appearing at intervals through the years to warn folks about the next crisis. (is this what the obelisk thingy is on Terminus?)

mothman

Basically yes. But in the books they know about the Vault from the start and it's not some mysterious floating thing, it's an auditorium with chairs for spectators and a holotank in which Seldon appears.

There is an abandoned warship in one of the stories, but it's not an ancient one, just one from since the apparent fall of the Empire. One of the surrounding kingdoms - maybe even Anacreon - discovers it and asks the Foundation to restore it (fully intending to then use the warship to attack the Foundation).
Spoiler alert
But because the Foundation's method of controlling and influencing the surrounding kingdoms is via a made up technical religion, the onboard "high priest" (a Foundation agent) just curses the ship and the crew refuse to carry out the Anacreon leader's commands because to attack Terminus would be blasphemy.
[close]

mothman

Also, "Nonono, I only want to slaughter fifty billion blameless people because I saw my little brother get fricasseed" does not count as adequate character development, even belatedly.

Chairman Yang

It's so crap.

Episode 4: Hello I'm Revenge Woman from the Murder Planet in Episode 2.
Episode 5: My stated goal is revenge against you for the murder of my brother.
Episode 8: I'll never forget the day my brother was murdered on Murder Planet where I (Revenge Woman) am from, as you already know.

The Terminus stuff is the thinnest fucking TV I've seen in ages, it's like... hours of footage of people stalling, stalling at the fence, stalling in the ship, stalling in the tower. All we've accomplished is killing off a bunch of jobbers and randomly warping the spaceship somewhere convenient.

It's going to turn up somewhere stupid like Gaal's homeworld, isnt it? It's going to turn out she precognitively aimed her pod right fucking at it.

Chairman Yang

Arsehole Hari continues to be the best/only character. Well up for him sticking around and ruining Gaal's life some more.

mothman

So was it Salvor and Yugo's plan that he'd "accidentally" fly off into space to get to a convenient phone booth and call for help? Because it wasn't made clear at all.

Starting to think this has been written by someone who read a rubbish Goodreads synopsis. "Oh, so the Second Foundation is at a place called Star's End. Ooh! Sounds mysterious. I know! How do stars end? By becoming black holes! Let's put the 2F in a black hole! ... What? Er, I mean NEAR a black hole..."

KennyMonster

Quote from: Pinball on October 09, 2021, 01:15:59 PM
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.

The Asian Dub spin off is much better too.

Marv Orange

Fuck me, this show has no faith in the viewers intelligence two scenes at the end of this episode telegraph visually what's going on, only to have a character explain what's happening or add another visual explanation of what's going on.


I also thought about what would I expect this show to be, and I imagined a a sci fi west wing with intelligent characters dealing with situations intelligently in a intelligent way while talking intelligently. No idea if this aligns with the books been decades since I read them.

mothman

Called it last page by the way:

Quote from: moiThough the Cleons wouldn't want a servant that followed any Law apart from "Do what we tell you but don't ever kill US."

This is possibly the greatest crime in all this: that they would knowingly choose to incorporate one of Asimov's robots in this - but choose to not just ignore but directly contravene his Laws of Robotics. To have Demerzel murder someone useing her/its magical untraceable poison sweat glands to indulge the whims of a despot. Even if you assume that Demerzel is Olivaw (and therefore responsible for shepherding the human race to this point and beyond) it's hard to see how any application or combination of Zeroth, First, Second or Third Laws applies to this situation. 

mothman

Taking longer and longer to get round to watching each new episode...

So they once had "robot wars." Fuck's sake. Throw out I, Robot (including the movie) and all that followed after, and replace it with some half-arsed mash-up of new Battlestar Galactica and Dune's Butlerian Jihad, why don't you?

So we all knew Dawn's love affair with the gardener (whatever her name was? Mellors? Mellorette?) was either some cunning plan by Day and/or Dusk, or an anti-imperial plot. Turns out it was both. They probably thought that was really clever.

And we're finally rid of useless archery lady. I'd celebrate but she'll probably appear in the next series of The Expanse, playing an ABC.[nb]Another Belter Cunt. Because I notice as of the last season, they've ALL turned into one-note twats.[/nb]

Alberon

I've given up even trying to watch this tripe.

I wouldn't mind that much that it was taking such a large shit on the source material if it was inventive and interesting. But it isn't.

Chairman Yang

What if we did Foundation, right, but for 9/11?

^ The one idea this show has.

Chairman Yang

David S. Goyer is so horny for 9/11. Has he just missed the last 20 years of sci-fi/superhero movies? Half of which he wrote?

Chairman Yang

November 19, 2021, 04:28:41 PM #82 Last Edit: November 19, 2021, 04:51:34 PM by Chairman Yang
"My mother used to tell me that going to sleep was a leap of faith..."

Oh did she, aye? 'Cause it sounds like some hokey Hollywood patter to set up a lazy sequel bait ending.

So the whole thing about Foundation is that, initially at least, the giant tidal shifts of history proceed along their predictable courses. The Seldon Crises arise through familiar mechanisms and are resolved almost automatically by nobodies, via historical metaphor.

Hari Seldon then turns up at the end to take a bow. Figuratively. He's like... incredibly frail.

In 'modernising' the book, they've fired the show off on a completely different arc that doesn't fit the shape of the original story. Far from the credibly inevitable (credevitable?) events of the book, Seldon's plan here seems insanely contrived:

Knowing that the outer planets are burnt out nuclear husks with cultures that have hated each other for centuries, Hari believes that what will finally unite them, alongside Foundation, against Empire is a quirky historical detail. This is information that only he has and that nobody has any reason to believe. Also Hari is dead.

So to be clear, psychohistory - the application of statistics and social sciences to predict the behaviour of large numbers of people - told him that a magic spaceship would drive the Anacreons to attack the Foundation for a kamikaze revenge mission but then him specifically turning up and giving a lame speech would sort of stop all that for some reason.

"Setting aside hatred for strength...", a thing that has ever happened ever.

I'm trying to not be a dickhead about this but it just doesn't ring true, and I'm sure that season two's events won't flow particularly believably from the ending of this season. We've left the Foundation in a tenuous alliance with two broken kingdoms and a single point of failure in its massive... is it called the Invictus? the Erectus? that fucking Death Star. If we're following the 9/11 tangent outwards then what's more likely is that a fundamentalist militant faction will sweep the outer planets. Foundation is now ISIS. The plan is in full swing. Great job, Hari.

Also, just... the idea that Hari dies, fires his one-of-a-kind magic resurrection pod into space, transforms into a giant monolith, takes the long way round, and still arrives ahead the colonists is just shitty, shitty writing. You have to wave away so many narrative contrivances just to trick the audience into thinking something clever happened. Moffat-tier writing.

The Foundation don't even solve the fucking crisis! Hari turns up to do it for them.

I get what they're doing, they've shifted the premise of the story to that of a handful of time travelling special boys who have save to the galaxy from the evil Emperor. I mean, they've only had to throw out the entire fucking idea of Foundation to do it, but it's done. I can wash my hands of the whole thing.

Also a robot snaps a man's neck.

Chairman Yang

He doesn't half fucking go on a bit, that Chairman Yang. Twat.

notjosh

Quote from: Marv Orange on November 07, 2021, 02:42:33 PMI also thought about what would I expect this show to be, and I imagined a a sci fi west wing with intelligent characters dealing with situations intelligently in a intelligent way while talking intelligently. No idea if this aligns with the books been decades since I read them.

Having read the books somewhat recently, I think this is the right approach, and the BBC radio adaptation got it pretty spot on from what I remember.

I haven't bothered watching any of this thanks to this thread. Also my excitement about the series may be somewhat tainted from having more recently read all of the post-50s sequels, which lean way too much into hippy "what if we were like, all at one with the planet, man, like all one mind" bullshit and end with a boring speech off of a robot and a weird cliffhanger about a Charlie-X-type kid with some kind of magic boil on his neck (may be misremembering some of this). Much preferred the series when it was just about mathematicians and librarians.

mothman

So this ended. A week ago. And I'm forgetting what happened already. Nothing good, anyway. OK, I say that, there have been a few standout moments but they were so few and far between the stopped clock rule applies. I saw an article online called something like "Foundation was always considered unfilmable- and it still hasn't been." Can confirm.

Dex Sawash


Just a few more days until new Lost In Space

mothman

I've been working my way through Ted Lasso and once that's done, adios nearly-finished year's free AppleTV subs.

Dex Sawash

Quote from: mothman on November 27, 2021, 12:13:49 PMI've been working my way through Ted Lasso and once that's done, adios nearly-finished year's free AppleTV subs.

Did you watch For All Mankind? I thought that was alright. Probably best not to get spoiled before watching first ep.

mothman

Of course! But not planning to start paying for a subscription just for whenever season 3 appears.