In the far future, the current emperors react after a mathematician predicts the downfall of the current Galactic Empire.
Spoiler Level: Mild--too complicated to be spoiled!
Foundation is based on the science fiction book series by Isaac Asimov. The stories take place in a shared universe with other Asimov books, like I, Robot and the complex interactions of characters span over thousands of years. I have not read these stories, so will not compare the television series to the source material.
The television show takes place far into the future, where the universe is ruled by the Galactic Empire, and has been for thousands of year. The rulers are the clone of a previous emperor at different stages of life. Referred as Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton), a young child, Brother Day (Lee Pace), a grown man and main ruler, and Brother Dusk (Terrance Mann), an older man. To maintain the peace, they rule with an iron fist and execute anyone that even hints at standing against them.
Gaal Dornick, a mathematical prodigy, travels to work with Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) a famous and brilliant professor at the university on the empires home planet of Trantor, who invented the field of “Psychohistory”. Psychohistory is the study of mathematics to predetermine the future of large populations. Gaal is asked by the empire to confirm Hari’s theory that the empire will end within the next 500 years and the universe will enter a period of darkness for 30,000 years. Hari has a plan though, build a foundation of information that the surviving population, after the fall, can use to build the new empire upon, which would shorten the dark period down to only 1000 years. The Empire, feeling threatened by Hari’s popularity and the loss of their power, sentence Gaal and Hari to death. Tune in to find out how they survive.
It is ambitious to take a book serious that is so prolific and complex and try to make it an understandable and interesting television series. The otherworldly visuals are stunning, with some truly beautiful imagery. Heightening the visual with the audible, Bear McCreary’s music is gorgeous and matches the tone and ambiance of the series. So often, television shows and movies have opted for pop songs or pre-composed work, and sometimes that is appropriate, but this series really needed something original, and Bear is just the guy to do that. Looking past the production value and into the performances. The cast is very well chosen. Jared Harris, as the brilliant Hari Seldon, exudes the type of knowledge and mystery that is needed for the role and Lou Llobell as the young Gaal Dornick, brought in a sense of wonder and excitement. Fan favorite, Lee Pace, delivers an outstanding performance as Brother Day. There is a confidence he brings to the role, that I imagine the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt would have. Someone who was created and raised with the belief that they are above all others and destined to rule over all of humanity. The dynamics between all the characters are well thought out and portrayed.
The script was well written, and the show’s rhythm was smooth, with scenes flowing well from one to the next. The storyline is a bit complicated and complex and we are only given the bare amount of exposition to pique our interest without giving us enough information. First episodes often cram too much exposition down your throat, making the dialogue seem forced. Foundation almost went the other direction, barely giving you enough to understand what is happening. Exposition is important, if an audience feels lost or uninformed for too long, then you run the risk of losing them. What we do get of Gaal’s back story is interesting. The relationship between Gaal, Hari and Raych (Alfred Enoch) feels genuine, and I am curious as to where the story goes next and how it all plays out. The social commentary on religion vs science and Gaal’s choice to leave her people is intriguing. Religion, in general, seems to play a big part in the plot. Both in how the Empire works, but also in how Hari is worshipped, and much of the imagery used throughout the first episode, has a fairly religious theme. I am a bit concerned that the plot is bit too complex and we really weren’t given much time to understand the dynamics of the universe the show takes place in.
Overall the show is well done with great original music and beautiful imagery. All of the actors are very well cast and the script is well written, but the storyline is a bit complex and we are not given enough information to truly understand what is happening and all the dynamics involved.
Foundation – The Sum of Human Knowledge
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 10/1010/10
- Production - 10/1010/10