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Foundation

Foundation - First Two Episodes

The Apple TV production has an enormous budget and an even bigger ambition.

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As far as streaming services go, Apple TV Plus has been one of the most ambitious when it comes to its original content. There've been highly acclaimed comedy shows (we're looking at you Ted Lasso) and even promising dramas that have, if anything, been a little disappointing (cough, cough... The Morning Show). But success or flop, Apple isn't slowing down or even changing course, as today marks the premiere date for its exciting, and hugely ambitious science-fiction series Foundation.

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Based on the novel by Isaac Asimov, this series takes place in a distant future where the galaxy is ruled and kept in check by a powerful empire, an empire designed to rule for thousands of years without so much of a hiccup. This empire is broad and spanning, and reflects that of other galactic empires we've seen in other movies and shows, but unlike those empires, in Foundation, it's stretched to its limits, beginning to show cracks and weaknesses in its eternal design.

The storyline of the show revolves around the mathematicians Hari Seldon and Gaal Dornick, who have discovered (through an incredibly complex statistical formula) that the empire will fall, leading to 30,000 years of dark ages over the galaxy. With this knowledge in mind, the pair are looking to convince the empire that the fall can be mitigated, by creating a sort of databank of information known as the Foundation, which will reduce the dark ages to just a couple of thousands of years in length. But this information is taken as heresy, and the pair are almost executed for their findings.

You can probably get the gist of the sort of science-fiction tale that the show is putting forward. It's truly sci-fi and 'nerdy' and never looks to stray from the identity of what it is, and with this in mind, you get an interesting and unique portrayal that does well to capture the true enormity of the galaxy and the empire that rules it. This is massively helped by the series' huge budget of around $1 billion for the season (which makes it the most expensive TV series of all-time, until Amazon's The Lord of the Rings debuts next year), as the set design, the costume design, the CGI and everything else that pours in to make this sci-fi world what it is, is incredibly top notch and high quality, as you would hope.

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And yet despite having a mind-blowing budget, Foundation doesn't feature a stacked cast of actors. There are few big names, but for the most part, the cast are less well-known individuals, bringing their own unique take on the characters. The headliners are Jared Harris (who plays Seldon) and Lee Pace (who plays Brother Day, one of the three clones that make up the empire's leaders), but other than that there are few names that standout. But this isn't a bad thing, as the cast suit their roles and give charismatic and emotional performances, enough to make you interested in their unique narrative threads.

But, from what I've seen, which so far is the first two episodes, I don't think the show is perfect in any sense. Each episode is around an hour in length and at times seems to struggle with its pacing. The first episode for example starts off particularly slowly, introducing its cast gradually so you can get a good idea as to who they are, then right at the end of the episode hits you with a massive event that really gets you excited for the next one. But, then the second episode starts, and very little really happens over its duration, until right at the end once again.

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of narrative and interesting story conveyed, but alike the first season of Game of Thrones, Foundation seems to be really taking its time making sure it adapts the source material in a well-managed fashion, which does admittedly make for a little dull TV at times, even if in the future, or perhaps in just a few episodes time, the series should benefit from it.

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Apple

With all of this being said, I do believe that Foundation could end up being one of Apple TV's stronger original productions. From minute one, you get the high-quality impression that a lot of Apple's productions offer, and for that matter I'm interested to see where this ambitious series will take us. If you aren't a science-fiction fan, then this probably won't be the one for you (granted it's not quite as 'nerdy' as say Star Trek or Star Wars), but if you like the genre, Foundation is definitely worth a watch, especially since it doesn't look like it will be going away anytime soon.

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08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
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Foundation - Season 1

Foundation - Season 1

SERIES. Written by Ben Lyons

The first season of Apple's adaptation of Isaac Asimov's sci-fi epic has wrapped-up, setting the scene for its truly ambitious future.



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