Apple filmed the Isaac Asimov Foundation. Is the new Game of Thrones starting? (review)

Apple did not spare on the series. Still, the first parts are a bit boring.

Isaac Asimov is one of the most famous authors of science fiction novels of the last century, many of which have been translated in our country. Asimov is known for formulating the three laws of robotics in the collection I, Robot. In addition, he was probably most famous for the Foundation series. One of her copies, for example, is currently traveling in Musková Tesla’s solar system.

The Foundation’s seven books were published gradually between 1951 and 1993 (the last one was published a year after Asimov’s death), and the works taking place in this universe were also created by other authors. Unlike the Ja, Robot collection, a foundation characterized by a branched, elaborate university, it is one of the few classic literary sci-fi works of the 20th century that (despite several attempts) have remained unclimated to this day.


Asimov originally uses the name Foundation. It refers to an institution whose aim is to gather the knowledge of an existing civilization and provide it as a basis for a new civilization that will emerge after it. Thus, the new civilization will not have to rediscover much knowledge, and its onset will be faster as a result. In English, the word foundation means both the basis and the type of institution – the foundation, so the title of the work expresses both of these meanings. There is no such word in Slovak and Asim’s work is translated as the Foundation in our country, even though it sounds a bit strange. The Foundation also chose the translation in the localized version of Apple TV +, which is why we also use it in our review.

It’s only changing now. Apple gave the green filming of the cult series to include it as exclusive content in its Apple TV + streaming service. The creators are Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds or Snowpiercer) and David S. Goyer (screenplays for the trilogues Blade and Black Knight or the comic books Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice).

We also talked about the Foundation series in the 25th part of the SHARE_talks podcast:

Goyer was offered to film the Foundation while working with John Cameron on the latest Terminator. For the BBC later described his first impressions: “I remember James Cameron just looked at me and said, ‘It’s going to be hard.’ If the director of epic films like Intruders, Terminator, Titanic or Avatar tells you that a project is difficult, you need to stop and think. ”

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They set about it

In the end, however, he embarked on it and the result – the 10th episode series – can be seen from Friday on the Apple TV + service, also available in Slovakia. There is a decent offer of dubbing, but Slovak and Czech are missing. However, there are at least Slovak subtitles on offer. So far, the first two parts are out. Apple will gradually add one new episode per week.

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Originally a male character, Gaal Dornick is played in the series by the Spanish Lou Llobell. She was selected from more than 500 candidates.

Source: Apple TV +

Asimov was fascinated by historical works investigating the fall of great civilizations, so he decided to describe one fall of a fictional civilization himself. The central character of his work is the mathematician and psychologist Hari Seldon (played by Jared Harris in the series), who develops a scientific discipline called “psychohistory”. Although this discipline is not effective for individuals, for large groups of the population it can use predictive mathematical models with high accuracy to predict their further development.

Seldon predicts that the galactic empire will soon disintegrate, followed by 30,000 years of “dark ages.” Such a long time will be needed for a new great civilization to form again. At the same time, however, the scientist predicts that this time can be reduced to only about 1,000 years if the rise of the new empire is “helped” a little. He will propose the creation of a Foundation – an initiative that gathers knowledge of the old world and mediates it to the empire that will follow it.

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Mathematician and psychologist Hari Seldon, whose prediction the whole galaxy is on the lookout for.

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Source: Apple TV +

Seldon’s findings provoke a great response, and the galactic government decides to test his theory. The only one who can be known to prove this is the young but extremely talented mathematician Gaal Dornick.

Here is the first difference between Asim’s masterpiece and the series. While in the book Dornick is a man, in the series he is a woman (although she has the same name) portrayed by the Spanish actress Lou Llobell. The female character is also a new Salvor Hardin (played by Leah Harvey), a rover and later a mayor on the planet Terminus. The creators also changed the type of government. In the series, they introduced the concept of a kind of genetic succession – three clones of the same person, each at a different age, always rule together.

Spectacular and boring

Of course, the ten episodes cover only a fraction of the extensive book. Goyer told the BBC that he proposed Apple to make 8 series and adapted the script accordingly. The complexity and branching of the story makes for a comparison with works such as Game of Thrones. However, whether it will succeed in the end will depend on many factors, the key of which will be the success of the first series – for critics, but especially for the audience.

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In the series, the galactic empire is ruled by three different ancient clones of the same person. When the oldest dies, he is replaced by a new child clone, so that three always rule.

Source: Apple TV +

However, the first episodes do not yet give much hope that it will succeed. It is felt that the creators create the impression of a big film and Apple is willing to pay them. The actors are excellent (Lou Llobell was chosen from about 500 candidates), the music and visuals are also great. The filmmakers were not afraid of big scenes full of futuristic elements and high-quality, faithful-looking computer animation.

For the time being, however, the whole effort is wasted on what attracts viewers to similarly ambitious series in particular – a scenario that keeps them constantly tense and forces them to watch further. A scenario where something is still happening and even though the viewer knows that he will regret it in the morning, he will start another episode instead of sleeping, because he just has to know what will happen.

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The foundation looks nice, sounds nice, and looks at the actors well, but even after two parts, we didn’t form a relationship with the characters, and we don’t count the days until the next part comes out, just to know what will happen.

One might say that the escalation of tension is hindered by form, as the story of Gaal Dornick and Salvor Hardin unfolds in parallel, each at a different time and place. But even such a Wizard from Netflix production started with separate stories and for the interest of the audience he cannot complain.

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In the book, practically all important figures were male. They balanced it a bit in the series. For example, Salvor Hardin is now a woman.

Source: Apple TV +

New Game of Thrones?

The creators of the series Foundation let it be heard that they themselves are fans of the book. The work is clearly understood, and a series with several series is probably better than filming such an extensive universe. However, even a sufficient budget, quality actors and well-prepared screenwriters may not be a guarantee that the work will succeed. A recent example is the netflix series based on the book Shadow and Bone. His screenwriter also announced grand plans, but although Netflix has already confirmed the release of the second series, the first has not yet caused much uproar.

It is still premature to assess the fate of the Foundation. If we looked at the first two parts of the Game of Thrones today, we probably wouldn’t be able to guess from them alone that it would become such a successful series. However, if Apple wants to succeed with the new work, the next parts will have to bring much more than we’ve seen so far.

Now in cinemas:

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