Psychohistory According To Apple - Foundation series

Everyone else is paying for the chance to make a big spectacle show. Apple wants in!

I’m setting my expectations at zero, so I can’t be disappointed!

Yeah, I don’t have a good feeling about this. But then I have a lot of affection for the Foundation books and a strong feeling that, like Dune, there’s no way this could be done visually to my satisfaction. I’ll probably just avoid it if it actually gets made.


Not Foundation…

This book made me feel insignificant in the cosmic scheme of things when I read it in grade 7.

Foundation “informed Star Wars” in what ways, exactly? 100% chance the author just picked the one “sci fi” thing they had readily to mind and slapped it into the copy when paraphrasing the press release email up on their other screen at the part where it says “seminal, genre defining science fiction” or words to that effect.

I wonder how visually stunning the production will be?

Foundation is a challenging adaptation, as the first two books are essentially a series of sequential short stories and the third two novellas. Each of those short stories would be a single episode of a TV show. Then the sequels to the original trilogy are all full-sized novels, each could be half a season or a whole season, if they stretch it out.

Every short story and novella would have a completely different cast, too. And that would work fine, lots of great shows did that, but then you have the transition into longer-form storytelling starting with Foundation’s Edge. Tough adaptation.

There is a lot of material about Seldons prime, his yourh, early years and late years. Foundation may not necessarily just stick with the first three books. What makes it difficukt, is that nothing really happens, as Asimov himself once said. It’s just a lot of people talking, mostly.

Yeah, I can only recall a handful of “action” sequences in the entire series.

The series was great, but I’m curious as to whether it’ll hold the attention of a broader audience, in TV form.

Creating compelling characters will be tough too. I love Asimov and Foundation, but he wasn’t known as a writer of particularly deep characters. The scope and historical sweep is the strongest part of Foundation.

But then again I enjoyed Decline and a Fall of the Roman Empire as a teen so I’m weird and I was primed to enjoy Foundation.


The other tough part is the generally flat characters. Asimov was always best at ideas, his dialogue and characters always the weakest parts of his stories, as they often exist to be plot devices more than people.

So there isn’t the ready made interpersonal drama that ‘prestige TV’ relies upon. Which makes it even more difficult to adapt. Would modern audiences be able to accept a show with no main character, where the actors change week to week? I don’t know that they would, and I don’t know you could maintain quality acting in that manner either.

That’s a very good point, throughout the first two books certainly, while lots of “stuff” happens, the protagonists aren’t actually involved in any of it as the scenarios all resolve themselves because Seldon saw them coming and set up the game so the Foundation would inevitably triumph. That’s kind of the point.

Lots of shows are about talking and very little real action. Seinfeld, The West Wing, etc. But they had great characters. Foundation doesn’t, other than R. Giskard and the Mule. You don’t see a lot of R. Giskard and the Mule spends most of a book acting like a twat. But at least he’s a character.

Nice way to put that without going into spoiler territory.

I wonder if the series will include anything from his last novels, where he brings the Foundation and Robot series together. Daneel Olivaw would be an interesting character.

Well it is a 70 year old book.

And while I found R. Daneel (you’re right, it wasn’t Giskard) to be a great revelation, people who haven’t read the robot books will have no clue who the heck he is. He’ll just literally be a deux ex machina.

Yeah, bringing the Robot series into the TV series would be meaningless. It was a great revelation for us in the books because we’d read the robot series too.

I think the series should stop with the original trilogy. All the ties into the robot series happen with Foundation’s Edge onward. The original trilogy can pretty much stand on its own. It would be a really non-flashy show that’s really heavy on dialog if it’s faithful to the books. I don’t see that being blockbuster material. I suppose the visuals can be pretty spectacular with old Trantor with its domes and then Terminus being settled as the center of a new civilization.

Yeah, other than the Mule and Hari Seldon, I don’t really recall any of the characters themselves from the series. I remember the roles they played, but I can’t recall their names at all.

Which, on a related note, makes me think “You know what would be good material for a movie/show?”

David Brinn’s “Uplift” series. That series had awesome characters.

Plus David Brin always seems to write as if he’s writing an action movie. He reminds me a lot of Michael Crighton that way. And yeah, he has much better characters than Asimov.

He’s also the master of the cliff hanger. Virtually all his books have chapters that all end in cliff hangers. It would be perfect material for a TV show which always has cliff hangers before going to commercials, or cliff hangers at the end of an episode.

Also, Brin’s books have some of the best endings in all of sci-fi… Just totally insane crescendos. Hell, in one book, literally every character in the entire story dies.

And the various alien species were all amazing, and would be a great opportunity to use modern visual effects. In the past, a lot of that stuff would have made it virtually impossible to actually depict visually, but we could do it now. The Traeki/Jophur, the G’Kek… All very unique species. Or the hydrogen breathers.

The characters though are what made the books so great. Characters like Fibben, or Jacob Demwah, really made the books cool.

TIL I need to read me some David Brin.

Sundiver is kind of an introduction to the universe, but separate from the main uplift series. Kind of like “The Hobbit” is to “Lord of the Rings”.

Then there are 5 more books. All of them are good, unlike a lot of series which kind of peter out eventually (like Foundation did, for me).