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I read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation as a science fiction obsessed teenager, but I didn’t think I would be interested in seeing the show adaptation … until I saw the recently released trailer. And now we have to talk. Check it out i’m waiting!
The foundation trailer
Can we take a moment to say, “WOW !?”
If I’m being honest, most of my recent memories of reading the series focus on the moment when a character learns how to make soap from scratch because civilization obviously cannot survive without hygiene, but also how is it possible that making soap with urine is hygienic ?! The more you know I guess. I also remember being obsessed with psychological history as a possible real thing, and it is very likely that this obsession influenced my later BA in History and my current obsession with survivors. But enough reminiscing, let’s talk about some specifics.
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How faithful the Foundation TV show will be to the original remains to be seen; but in the trailer we can see that the initial premise is the same. A mathematician named Hari Seldon, using a theory he developed called Psychological History, predicts the end of the Galactic Empire and the collapse of civilization for thousands of years (30,000 in the books to be precise). The rulers of said empire are not interested in this One Bit theory, thank you very much, and Seldon and his followers become political outcasts at best, potential martyrs at worst. Seldon is assembling a team called the Foundation to try and save vital information about civilization in order to cut the time it takes humanity to recover from this galactic collapse.
As for characters, the trailer introduces us to Salvor Hardin, played by Leah Harvey (a gendered role for the show as the book character is male), who will clearly be central to saving the worlds. We meet Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) and take a look at the rulers of the Galactic Empire, especially Lee Pace, who plays a character called “Brother Day”. It seems like there are three, as opposed to the singular Emperor in the books, possibly because they really wanted to cast a creepy looking kid actor, possibly because it makes it a lot more Roman and who doesn’t love it? a good Caesar reference? (Asimov was actually influenced by Gibbons’ decline and fall of the Roman Empire.)
Otherwise, like trailers do, we jump around without learning too many other details. Delight to see lots of colored actors and look forward to their storylines (slash, cross your fingers). Other peculiarities of the books compared to this adaptation have to wait for the show to come out and for input from those who remember more than me. (Seriously! Soap !!) There are seven novels in the series, so there’s a lot to draw from if you want to make it a long-runner; I wouldn’t be surprised if sooner or later we saw an announcement about the extension of the season, considering how the gold mine of SF / F shows that are currently in development / broadcast is developing.
As for me, I’m perfectly positioned to enjoy the TV show – I have only vague memories, no undue commitment to the source material, and a reluctant Apple TV + subscription. The broadcast of the program begins on September 24th, 2021.
For those who haven’t read the Foundation series or a lot of Asimov, here’s a reading path to get you started!