TV Series 2021– Genres: Drama | Sci-Fi Rating: TV-14 Seasons: 1 Episodes: 10
Average Episode Length: 60min IMDB Rating: 7.4/10
“Change is frightening. Especially to those in power.”
Far in the future, humanity has spread across the galaxy, inhabiting millions of planets and lightyears of space. Ruled over by the Empire, their power has kept peace between worlds for hundred of years.
But change is on the wind, and a reckoning is at hand far beyond anything the Empire has ever faced before. Hari Seldon, creator of psychohistory – mathematics capable of foreseeing the future – comes forward with a terrifying prediction: the Empire will soon collapse, and the galaxy will be plunged into an age of darkness that will last for thirty thousand years.
While the Empire desperately looks for a way to avoid this fate, Seldon sets out to create the Foundation: a project he believes will shorten the dark age to only a single millennia. Thus begins a centuries long game of chess between the Emperor’s forces, who seek to prevent Seldon’s prophecy, and the Foundation, who would defy the Empire in order to save humanity.
*VERY MILD SPOILERS FOR SEASON ONE AHEAD*
I’m going to admit right away that I haven’t read Isaac Asimov’s original series this show was based on (I’m sure it’s awesome but in my defense, it does not feature a single dragon).
With that said, while I can’t offer you a critique of this series based on it’s faithfulness to the original books, I can absolutely talk about the show itself based solely on my experience as a view. And without a doubt this show has been absolutely wild from start to finish. It’s the rollercoaster of space operas, with all the highs, lows, and insane twists and turns you’d expect. And a few more you never never see coming.
This show is absolutely gorgeous. I cannot say enough about how truly astounding, wonderous, and downright beautiful this show is, and the scenery is one of the major highlights that made this series a true joy to watch. I’m being terribly poetic here, but honestly one of this show’s greatest strengths is its visual design, and it’s worth then entire run time just to appreciate it. And all that’s before I even get to the characters.
There are some phenomenal actors here, putting it all into these roles and that effort absolutely pays off. The story takes place over a few decades (and that’s just the start of this saga) and generations, allowing the many individual characters and stories to really grow and unfold. In another show, this just wouldn’t have been possible, but when your timeline is measured in centuries rather than days, things tend to progress in a very different way.
For me, the spotlight is absolutely stolen by the three rulers of Empire – Brothers Dawn, Day, and Dusk. They are each clones of the original Emperor, Cleon I, and are meant to be perfectly identical, ruling the empire in a never-ending cycle. Seldon’s prediction of doom is perhaps the first real threat to their power and you can see the strain this puts on each incarnation, each trying desperately to stop the inevitable. Lee Pace, who plays Brother Day, is an absolute powerhouse in this role, giving Empire both a terrifying presence as well as a terrible loneliness that you can’t help but be drawn towards, and their story feels equal parts heartbreaking and horrifying.
With all that said, the overarching story of Foundation does have it’s flaws. This show absolutely loves keeping secrets and tossing out twist reveals like confetti. They’re fun, they’re interesting, and they do work well in the story, but too much of it just makes a mess.
The problem with keeping so much information hidden from the viewer is that it tends to get confusing, and even frustrating when they dangle a crucial bit of information just out of reach. The show’s tendency to leap backwards and forwards in time with little warning also doesn’t help. This didn’t affect my enjoyment of it too badly, but anyone going into this should be prepared to pay very close attention; take notes people.
If you’re looking to enjoy a gorgeous, sweeping, science-fiction epic with an incredible cast, astounding visuals, and a plot that’s only moderately brain-breaking in it’s complexity, then this Foundation may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Definitely a show I’ll be returning to, and one I highly recommend. But, from what I’ve heard, maybe don’t read the books first.
Watch it on Apple TV+
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