In September 2021, Apple TV+ made the bold move to bring Issac Asimov’s groundbreaking saga to our living room screens. The first season was surprisingly enjoyable, the challenge of bringing such a monumental work to TV, which had its basis on Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was no small feat. The pressure to write that script must have been through the roof.

I’ve had the opportunity to watch the first two seasons, the third has been renewed and hopefully they will complete all the seasons they have planned. The show loosely adapts the books, which might disappoint some diehard fans of the book series, but for me, I personally have enjoyed the adaptation and the changes have been welcomed. I never really enjoyed the Foundation books as much as I enjoyed the Dune books. Although there seems to have been some level of Asimov’s influence on Frank Herbert’s Dune Chronicles, they have differing opinions about the future of humanity. Asimov was insistent that there must be science in science fiction, which clashed with Herbert’s intentional removal of science from his science fiction epic works. This was the new wave of science fiction, and it eventually won out, seen also in other writer’s work such as Ursula K Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle.

But I’m not complaining, with the Dune films and Foundation series, we have what are probably some of the best space operas ever written brought to life in cinemas and home theaters. Both reaching new heights in cinematic spectacle.

The Foundation series follows a group of exiles who try to preserve the legacy of humanity as the Galactic Empire faces its inevitable collapse. Led by the mathematician Hari Seldon (played by Jared Harris), Seldom predicts that the Galactic Empire, which has ruled the galaxy for 12,000 years, will soon fall into a dark age that will last 30,000 years. Using his science of psychohistory, which can forecast the future based on statistical laws of mass action, Seldon devises a plan to reduce the duration of the dark age to 1,000 years by creating two Foundations, one at each end of the galaxy, that will preserve the knowledge and culture of humanity.

There’s no way a saga of this proportion will be lacking themes. And several interesting themes are explored, which are both relevant to science fiction and human history. The rise and fall of civilizations, with the depiction of the decline of the Galactic Empire, which is modeled after the Roman Empire, and the emergence of new powers and cultures in the galaxy. The role of religion and science. Exploring how science and religion can be used as tools of manipulation and propaganda, as well as sources of inspiration and hope. The nature of free will and determinism, questioning the extent to which human actions and events are predetermined by Seldon’s plan, and how much agency and choice the characters have in shaping their own destinies. It also examines the ethical and moral implications of Seldon’s plan, and whether it is justified to sacrifice individual lives and freedoms for the greater good of humanity. And there are more.

The promise of future seasons, as they happen, will span centuries and civilizations, and explore more themes of history, religion, science, and destiny. So far Foundation is proving to be a faithful and creative adaptation of the classic novels by Isaac Asimov, and a captivating and ambitious TV series that will appeal to both fans and newcomers of the genre. Though it can be a bit daunting for those unfamiliar with the books to begin with, I suggest you stick with it, and it will pay off as the story settles down, along with the characters and places. Rarely will you get the chance to watch something unfold like this on such a grand epic scale. Highly recommended.