Foundation is “a 1,000-year chess game between Hari Seldon and the Empire, and all the characters in between are the pawns, but some of the pawns over the course of this saga end up becoming kings and queens.” So says its primary producer. Originally written as a trilogy by Isaac Asimov, he later added two sequels and two prequels. Now, with the blessing of AppleTV+ and the acceptance of viewers like you and me, the producers hope to bring this story to us in 80 episodes over 80 hours of programming. The first three episodes are now available; the next seven weekly on Fridays thru November 19. Call me impressed.
The Galactic Empire brought peace for the last 12,000 years. Who is this heretic, Hari Seldon, to predict that it will be gone in 500 years, followed by chaos for 30,000 years? The clones of Emperor Cleon I want to muzzle this charlatan. First Minister Eto Demerzel advises “martyring dissidents is a risky enterprise.” Brother Dusk, Brother Day, and Brother Dawn know “peace across the generations is the promise of Cleon I and each Cleon thereafter.” Any hint of disruption threatens their very existence. The bombing of the Starbridge at the capital of Trantor, killing 100 million souls, signals the beginning of a rebellion. But, who is responsible? Brother Day demands “someone’s going to hang for this. I’d like it to be the guilty party.” Are you hooked yet? I give Foundation 4.0 Gavels and it receives a 70% Rotten Tomatoes rating with a 7.7/10 IMDb score.
From the planet Synnax, young math prodigy Gaal Dornick thinks she comes to Trantor to study under the tutelage of Dr. Hari Seldon. He teaches psychohistory, a mathematical model which predicts the future of large populations. In reality, Gaal is to dispute Seldon’s findings as an excuse for him to hang. Seldon convinces her that the building of the Foundation, an encyclopedic collection of Galactic learning, could reduce the chaos to 1,000 years. Unimpressed, Brother Day exiles both to Terminus, a forlorn and violent planet some 50,000 light years away. Meanwhile, did agents of Anacreon and Thespis, two rival planets from the Outer Reaches, plot to destroy the Starbridge? Will the bombardment of their planets restore faith in the Imperium?
Jared Harris (Chernobyl) plays the enigmatic Hari Seldon. Is he secretive because “if a population gains knowledge of its predicted behavior, its self-aware collective actions become unpredictable?” From Halt and Catch Fire, Lee Pace jumps to Brother Day, the adult clone of Cleon I. Is he interested in Galactic peace, or merely in saving the dynasty? Lou Llobell fills the role of Gal Dornick, a pawn of the highest order. Caught in a power play, will she end up a queen, or just cast off into the great unknown?
Gorgeously created new worlds define Foundation. The CGI appears first rate, no expense spared. Math teachers should love the series with the motto “Math in the wrong hands is a weapon. Math in the right hands is deliverance.” For all his “expertise,” Hari Seldon “predicts trends, not individual actions.” Does he know what is about to befall him? So, now The Plan is in place, exile always the goal, far away from the prying eyes of the Empire. Bring on the bishop’s claw!
“Packed with massive starships, sprawling vistas, slick technology, and incredibly imaginative costumes, it’s a big — and clearly big-budget — affair that could easily stand up against any silver-screen sci-fi epic.” Common Sense Media
“While it delivers in both scope and spectacle, Foundation is not for the faint-hearted. This is a slice of rock-hard sci-fi that tickles the intellect with concepts both philosophical and profound.” Empire Magazine
Most complaints center around the difficulty for Foundation to grasp the sheer breadth of the Asimov novels. Only two episodes in, I think that’s understandable. I like See, and I think this is even better.