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.
The first season of Apple TV's science-fiction epic, Foundation, has now come to a close. Taking us all over the galaxy and exploring a narrative of immeasurable scope, this season has served as an introduction to a bunch of its crucial characters, and how they all fit into this ambitious and spanning tale. With season one in the books, I've pulled together my thoughts on what was delivered over its ten-hour duration, and if it holds up to its epic and explosive beginning.
But, before I get into my thoughts, let me give you a quick refresher on what Foundation is. This is the adaptation of Isaac Asimov's epic sci-fi novel, and follows a variety of different individual's stories as they learn to live in a galaxy ruled by an unfaltering and ruthless empire. The main body of the narrative is framed around the talented mathematician Hari Seldon (played by Jared Harris) as he informs the emperors, Brothers Dawn, Day, and Dusk (with Day played by Lee Pace) about the incoming fall of the Empire and the tens of thousands of dark ages that follow. Needless to say, Seldon is marked as a heretic, but bargains his way into creating the Foundation - what is assumed to be a vault of knowledge - to lessen the effects of the inevitable collapse significantly.
The first season follows these events and also looks into the creation of the Foundation, but also explores the complex relationships that the many different subjects of the Empire have with one another. It's a sci-fi tale where its politics are just as important as its futuristic action when it comes to storytelling, and quite frankly it can be a little difficult to follow at times, but that is largely down to the massive scope that the show aims to cover.
The tale of Foundation doesn't span a few years, or decades, it's a story that is told is over centuries, and while the events of season one don't become too convoluted in a chronological sense, you can tell that this season is acting as an introduction for what comes next, for what happens 200 years later, for how the world will change when the collapse ultimately comes about. In this sense, it can be a little overwhelming following the series, because alike going back and rewatching Game of Thrones, you know that the events of the first season; Bran Stark falling from the Winterfell tower, Robert Baratheon being slayed by the boar, Jon Snow joining the Night's Watch, it's all just the beginning of a much larger, grander tale that will take years and years to reach its conclusion.
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In a similar sense to that first season of Game of Thrones, the first season of Foundation - while being an incredibly well created, acted, and shot piece of entertainment - lacks that level of gravity that leaves you on the edge of your seat. There are times throughout the first season, where something game changing happens, for example the destruction and falling of the Star Bridge, but for the most part these are fleeting, with the rest of the show's duration crammed with more refined tales that set the scene and ease you into the next chapter of the narrative.
While I won't deny certain narrative arcs left me a little bored, the tale centred around Brother Dawn as he learns about who he is and how he differs from Brother Day and Dusk (despite the three ruling figures all expected to be clones of the original emperor) I found to be particularly dull, even if you know that the events that unfold are crucial for what comes next, which just so happens to be a revolutionary moment that will change how the universe envisions the Empire entirely. In this sense, the creators of the show, Josh Friedman and David S. Goyer have done a great job at making a consistently engaging tale, where you don't really want to look away in case you miss something of vital importance later down the line.
At the end of the day, it's hard for this show to be anything less than good, anyway you look at it. Foundation has been created and supported by Apple to such a monumental degree that, like a Marvel movie, the sheer budget and time that has gone into this series elevates its level of quality massively. This is a blockbuster series that is too big to fail. Any fan of the sci-fi genre should find this show entertaining and engaging, even if it does have a few albeit quite minor flaws. The cast are fantastic in their roles, the set design and production quality is top-notch, and the end product, after post-production, is top of the line.
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While Foundation probably won't take the mantle as Apple TV's best production, Ted Lasso and Coda are still frontrunners in my eyes, this show has me hooked. I'll be watching this show for the years and years that Apple continues to support and tell its tale, because if season one is anything to go by, I can take solace in knowing that we'll get a show that is entertaining and produced to a level of quality that is of the highest calibre. For that reason, it's hard to see Foundation as anything less than one of the better science-fiction series available to watch today.