Foundation, adapted from Isaac Asimov’s famous novel of the same name, is Apple TV+’s biggest budget project to date. The series, based on a book by a distinguished writer like Isaac Asimov, has been eagerly awaited since its announcement. As someone who has never read or even heard of the book, it didn’t spark much curiosity for me, but I couldn’t miss out on such a massive-budget production. I want to make it clear from the outset that I don’t know the book, so all my criticisms will be related solely to the series. Why am I warning you? Because my critiques may not be very positive.
To briefly summarize the plot… In a future far, far ahead of our time, humans have colonized planets and live within a single empire called the Imperial. The Empire is controlled by the same names through its cloning system, and those who oppose it are eliminated. However, one day, psychohistory expert Hari Sheldon comes forward and declares that the Empire will collapse. When the future is calculated mathematically, life is approaching its end. His deduction disturbs the Empire, and the universe is divided into those who follow Hari Sheldon and those who remain loyal to the Emperor.
I would like to start with the good aspects of the series. I watch almost every project that includes Jared Harris. The mere presence of Jared Harris is a plus for any project. Secondly, the series sets the bar very high, especially in the first episode. The first episode, which progresses quite quickly, shows us a vast picture. Due to a mathematical reason, this boundless Empire that has been established will be destroyed. It’s a big claim, an enormous expectation. When the first episode ends, one really gets excited and caught up in great anticipation.
However, the series fails to sufficiently fill the grand picture it showed us in the first episode. Imagine a huge canvas. When you see it, you are filled with the expectation that “it will be amazing when it’s finished.” But as the episodes progress, the canvas remains unfilled, and the painting never becomes beautiful. The series keeps painting the canvas with small strokes, but the enormous canvas never fills up. Moreover, the series tells you to look at the small brushstrokes, not the blank spaces on the canvas that remain unfilled. Yet we had expectations that the canvas would be filled.
That’s precisely it. The series constantly tries to advance its powerful idea through the story of ordinary people. Watching ordinary dramas and petty fights of ordinary people after a grand claim like “the empire will collapse” was tedious as an audience member. As I mentioned, I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know the differences between the series and the book. But if the story is like this, I have to say that the story is bad. Because it is disappointing that the details that will end the Empire that rules an immense universe are so simple and, worse, disappointing.
The best episodes of the Foundation were always those in the imperial palace. I fell in love with Asimov’s cloning idea. The idea of four people being the same is awe-inspiring. The series also uses this idea well enough. The existential awakening within the palace was successful. However, whenever the series leaves the palace, the caliber of the story drops. There is a significant difference between the issues the group in the palace is concerned about and those that the outside community is concerned about. You may say that these petty fights were intentionally shown, and that they will eventually gather to see the big picture, and you would be right. But it doesn’t change the fact that I got bored.
In short… Foundation fails to escape the trap of filling its massive problem with cheap and simple stories. While Gaal and Lou Llobell shine, Demerzel and Laura Birn also stand out, and Lee Pace delivers an equally impressive performance as Brother Day. Particularly, I can say that Lou Llobell has a bright future. However, I cannot say good things about Apple TV+. Spending so much and producing such a dull series is truly remarkable. Invasion, which also premiered this year, is just as disappointing as Foundation. The fact that both science fiction series were unsuccessful in the same year is a big problem for Apple’s future.
Cast & Crew
creators: David S. Goyer, Josh Friedman
starring: Lou Llobel, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Leah Harvey
USA – IRELAND | 2021 | 10 EPISODES |