David Goyer adapting Asimov's Foundation books for Apple+ (Previously: Jonathan Nolan adapting Asimov's Foundation books for HBO)

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Ned Raggett, Monday, 10 November 2014 22:46 (seven years ago) link

hard to imagine any sci-fi classic that would be more boring to watch onscreen. these books are quite literally action-free.

Οὖτις, Monday, 10 November 2014 22:48 (seven years ago) link

aren't they mostly about math?

tylerw, Monday, 10 November 2014 22:49 (seven years ago) link

i actually read at least 4 or 5 of them when i was 10 or 11, but i can barely remember anything about them.

tylerw, Monday, 10 November 2014 22:49 (seven years ago) link

i love these books to a ridiculous degree but i don't think they would make particularly good movies.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 10 November 2014 22:51 (seven years ago) link

There's an amazing twist with the Mule at the end of book 2, if i recall, so definitely think this could be compelling.

sean gramophone, Monday, 10 November 2014 22:52 (seven years ago) link

Well, the original involves empires, and this is HBO, so no doubt they'll find ways to write in intrigue and boobs

Delbert Gravy (kingfish), Monday, 10 November 2014 22:53 (seven years ago) link

they span thousands (millions?) of years, have no central characters... this is a stupid idea


Οὖτις, Monday, 10 November 2014 22:54 (seven years ago) link

long (reallllly long) expository sections in place of characters interacting

Οὖτις, Monday, 10 November 2014 22:55 (seven years ago) link

they probably were just like "game of thrones in spaaaaaace" and HBO said go for it. (not that they are really similar, just "beloved book series")

tylerw, Monday, 10 November 2014 22:57 (seven years ago) link

"And what are your credentials?"

"I just cowrote a big space movie with my brother! With emotion! Which I will bring to this adaptation!"


Ned Raggett, Monday, 10 November 2014 22:58 (seven years ago) link

yeah i reread them last year and once the mule enters the picture the whole thing becomes way more gripping. the problem i've always had recommending them to people is that the first book is by far the worst, but asimov was like 21 when he started writing them so watching him gradually become a better writer is fascinating in and of itself. also some surprisingly strong and interesting female characters in the second and third books, along with some of the weirdest and most convoluted plots i can remember in any classic SF stuff.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 10 November 2014 22:58 (seven years ago) link

there is a lot of intrigue, but it's all so divorced from, like, actual humans - the Mule is good but so much of the series is this giant abstraction

Οὖτις, Monday, 10 November 2014 23:00 (seven years ago) link

the later foundation books are mostly really terrible but iirc the very last one asimov wrote right before he died, about the early life of hari seldon, is pretty good.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 10 November 2014 23:01 (seven years ago) link

j.d. otm that the first three books get better as they go

love love love second foundation so much

the late great, Tuesday, 11 November 2014 00:44 (seven years ago) link

don't think they would make good movies, though

the late great, Tuesday, 11 November 2014 00:44 (seven years ago) link

pretty much because of what was said upthread re: giant abstraction

the late great, Tuesday, 11 November 2014 00:46 (seven years ago) link

three years pass...

"Ars has confirmed not only that Foundation was in development, but it has now been given a full series order—meaning we're definitely going to see it." #AsimovFTW https://t.co/YnzcjTcQZx

— Ars Technica (@arstechnica) August 29, 2018

mookieproof, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 18:25 (three years ago) link

It’s probably going to look amazing and it’s definitely going to be better than that insipid Star Trek revive that was only watched by people who write nerd tv recaps for their side gig

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 18:41 (three years ago) link

Discovery was pretty good. Definitely wouldn't call it insipid.

groovypanda, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 18:58 (three years ago) link

It wasn’t. You should.

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 19:04 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Took forever but some actual news (also, on Apple+ TV now):


Lee Pace (Halt and Catch Fire) and Jared Harris (Chernobyl) have been tapped as leads in Foundation, Apple TV+’s upcoming drama series based on Isaac Asimov’s science fiction novel trilogy.

Harris as Seldon, Pace as the Emperor "Brother Day" which...what?

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 18:32 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

happy 100th, isaac

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 2 January 2020 20:26 (one year ago) link

Y'all saw that a black woman was cast as Salvor Hardin, right? The furious nerd tears are going to be so delicious.

Pete Swine Cave (Eliza D.), Thursday, 2 January 2020 20:27 (one year ago) link

after the racist "joke" Asimov aimed at Samuel Delaney when he won a slew of awards and the repeated, documented sexual harassment and assault Asimov was known to engage in.... good

babu frik fan account (mh), Thursday, 2 January 2020 21:14 (one year ago) link

Love Lee Pace, love Harris, and especially love the books but I can't see this series keeping the spirit of the books while staying watchable

Vinnie, Thursday, 2 January 2020 22:43 (one year ago) link

five months pass...

Well we got a sort-of trailer:


Hm hm hm, maybe. But per Eliza's post there a few back, all the better that the main figures aren't ALL white dudes...even with Goyer Goyering, though, so we'll see. If anything this seems more like a riff on the core story, and I'm not sure still what the whole 'Brother Day' thing is w/r/t the Empire, especially since there are two other characters called "Brother Dawn" and "Brother Dusk."

Ned Raggett, Monday, 22 June 2020 22:17 (one year ago) link

My thing is he is somehow the worse Nolan

k*r*n koltrane (Simon H.), Monday, 22 June 2020 22:17 (one year ago) link

Looks like that Nolan's not actually involved now, though, just Goyer and others. Should update the subject line.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 22 June 2020 22:19 (one year ago) link

It’d be nice if Goyer has figured out how to write a single woman by this point

solo scampito (mh), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 17:58 (one year ago) link

not as in uncoupled, but (1) character who is a woman

solo scampito (mh), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 17:59 (one year ago) link

seven months pass...

That's a claim:

"Foundation" writer and showrunner David Goyer is ambitiously hoping to tell Isaac Asimov's science-fiction story over the course of eighty hours.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 13 February 2021 19:55 (nine months ago) link

seven months pass...

Well, anyway, it's almost here. Goyer interview has this bit:

“The book series itself makes these massive leaps forward in time, and particularly the first book is very ontological,” Goyer said. “Very few characters continue from one story to the next. My very first meeting at Apple, I said to them, ‘Guys, time is a character. You’re just going to have to embrace that.’ We do time jumps. We’re going to jump forward. We’re going to jump backwards. Sometimes we’re going to tell two parallel storylines that are operating at different times. We just have to embrace it. It would be insanity not to embrace it. And fortunately, everyone embraced it.”

Which, honestly, I have no problem with -- would actually explain some of the trailers we've seen.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 20 September 2021 18:26 (two months ago) link

It’d be nice if Goyer has figured out how to write a single woman by this point

Annnnnnd maybe he hasn't but:

“In this case, because Asimov wasn’t alive, I was talking to his estate, to his daughter, and I said, I want to make sure that I’ve identified the core ingredients that make Foundation, Foundation. Fortunately, they said, yeah, we feel like you’ve zeroed in on the most important elements. And because we’re adapting it now, over 70 years after Asimov first wrote it—you know, it was a metaphorical story back in the post-World War II environment—some of the events, some of the things that we’re interrogating, we’re going to have to change because we’re speaking to an audience of today and not an audience post-World War II.”

The first big, important change: diversifying the characters. “Because there are virtually no female characters in the first book, I said to the Asimov estate, ‘How would you how would you feel if we gender-flipped a couple of the characters?’ And they said, ‘We love it. We think Asimov himself would have completely embraced that,’” Goyer said.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 20 September 2021 18:26 (two months ago) link

Not that that gets him automatic points for trying for any number of reasons, but I guess we'll see.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 20 September 2021 18:27 (two months ago) link

Asimov well known for completely embracing female convention goers

Ward Fowler, Monday, 20 September 2021 18:29 (two months ago) link


I, the Jukebox Jury (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 20 September 2021 18:45 (two months ago) link

Of the Big Three, I sort only have time for Arthur C. Clarke these days, but would watch this, especially for Jared Harris.

I, the Jukebox Jury (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 20 September 2021 18:46 (two months ago) link

Asimov’s son a piece of work too, but maybe shouldn’t go there.

I, the Jukebox Jury (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 20 September 2021 18:47 (two months ago) link

I remember reading something Fred Pohl said about Asimov’s behavior. Actually I met both of them and for some reason liked Pohl a lot better than Asimov.

I, the Jukebox Jury (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 20 September 2021 18:55 (two months ago) link

Lee Pace says things. Apparently the future is we're all dominated by endless Lee Pace clones, and I fail to see the problem.


Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 22 September 2021 16:43 (two months ago) link

i like this? not terribly fast-moving, but i'm okay with that. not sure i believe the lead actress is 26

lose the voiceovers tho

mookieproof, Saturday, 25 September 2021 08:16 (two months ago) link

Saw the first episode and was honestly most intrigued by how they were trying to solve the problem of 'things which everyone now knows from what's come after/ripped it off so how do we do it differently?' eg making Trantor not quite Coruscant, trying to figure out a new way to do faster than light speed, etc. Lee Pace perfectly cast of course.

I was amused by the entire imperial library being smaller than big city central libraries I've known. Though maybe the rest of it goes eight miles deep or something.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 25 September 2021 16:17 (two months ago) link

Enjoying this so far, I was wondering if the 80 hours idea is for real? I'm only two episodes in and they've gone quite a ways into Asimov's story already.

Maresn3st, Sunday, 26 September 2021 10:37 (two months ago) link

Well yes and no, in terms of the original stories they’ve essentially only done the very first, the rest is stuff drawn out from the prequels, most of which I’d forgotten about, or wholly invented.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 26 September 2021 12:55 (two months ago) link

So, at this rate, if the show gets canned at the end of S3 they'll probably have done most of the book series before they start making stuff up.

Maresn3st, Sunday, 26 September 2021 14:09 (two months ago) link

Perhaps? They're definitely tempting fate a bit with that initial voiceover going all in on naming Hober Mallow and the Mule. The fact that they're leaning into the robot stuff early, again not surprising given the prequel books, but also I think they figured there was more potential for actual drama beyond stories that mostly could be filmed as stage plays with people batting ideas back and forth.

Further elaborating a bit but again I am amused but not surprised at how thoroughly it's repurposing just about everything from a ton of filmed SF of recent years. Inevitable Galactica vibes on this colonist ship, the floating particle stuff reminds me of Krypton from Man of Steel, lots of anime vibes from spaceships in general, etc. etc. Arguably the basic story is just a gloss over the rest. That said, again given the plainness of that basic story stylistically, seeing them tackle questions of design, costume, etc. in particular is of interest since there's no real guide and I've kinda been pleasantly surprised -- it'll be interesting to contrast that against the designs in the new Dune.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 26 September 2021 14:36 (two months ago) link

i haven't read these books in well over 35 years so looking forward to watching this series without that baggage

akm, Sunday, 26 September 2021 20:38 (two months ago) link

Ha, same, pretty much.

I, the Jukebox Jury (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 26 September 2021 20:47 (two months ago) link

so [redacted] designed his own space coffin and then something happens at the end of this ep. That would be a good way of skipping a few boring decades on Terminus but not so good for his accomplice! Yeah I prefer the long boring bits to the action as well.

calzino, Friday, 15 October 2021 23:09 (one month ago) link

Agreed re trying to figure things out on a deserted ship.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 15 October 2021 23:37 (one month ago) link

less 'action' is fine (and that fight scene was terrible) but this whole sequence with the offworlders -- which is really pretty straight-forward? -- is now going to leak into a fourth episode

we long ago knew which defenders were righteous and which were lame; let us move on to the next stage already

mookieproof, Saturday, 16 October 2021 00:33 (one month ago) link

But the invaders have a plan and as we know in serial TV SF when it's stated there's a plan everything is plotted out to the last desire. Anyway there must be some kind of way out of here.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 16 October 2021 00:36 (one month ago) link

of course! but let's get to it. i don't need a flashback of anacreon being devastated for 20 minutes to establish motive.

btw am i alone in wishing that hari was not being pronounced 'harry'

i'm sure we can all look forward to my similar complaints whenever dune hits the torrentz and i manage to watch it! <3 <3

mookieproof, Saturday, 16 October 2021 02:25 (one month ago) link

"Say Captain there's some big gun pointed our direction."

"Eh whatever."

Wasn't the gun what they cloaked earlier in the episode?

groovypanda, Monday, 18 October 2021 21:42 (one month ago) link

Didn't seem clear it was still cloaked by the time it was just 1K away.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 18 October 2021 22:28 (one month ago) link

It probably makes a good point about decadent colonial powers on the wane. Just fly in there expecting an easy rout and then get taken out by one well aimed shot.

calzino, Monday, 18 October 2021 22:47 (one month ago) link

Oh it wasn't clear at all,. I just assumed it must be otherwise what was the point of the whole cloaking scene in the first place xp

groovypanda, Tuesday, 19 October 2021 05:55 (one month ago) link

Getting pretty Game of Thronesy here

Ned Raggett, Friday, 22 October 2021 23:22 (one month ago) link

gonna name my next cat 'empire'

mookieproof, Friday, 22 October 2021 23:40 (one month ago) link

A rotating trio of cat

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 23 October 2021 00:14 (one month ago) link

my biological father has had a series of (i think siamese) cats going back decades and named each of them 'mozart'

which is . . . fucking horrific, honestly. but would have certainly made better sense with 'empire'

mookieproof, Saturday, 23 October 2021 00:26 (one month ago) link

This show needs a cat emperor.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 23 October 2021 02:37 (one month ago) link

obviously he should have named the cats duncan idaho

mookieproof, Saturday, 23 October 2021 03:04 (one month ago) link

really enjoying the show but the lingering "ok, they've set up several events that are going to happen... maybe in the next episode?" feeling continues because apparently we have more things to go through

mh, Saturday, 23 October 2021 15:42 (one month ago) link

Hmm at the ending of this latest one. (I'm...assuming at this point the idea is that Hari set up both the Raven and the Vault so he can chill near Helicon and deliver live updates via the Vault or something. And Gaal like...hibernates in between crises? Guess we'll see!)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 29 October 2021 22:47 (one month ago) link

saddened that the phrase 'what's your ask' will still be in use 10,000 years from now

mookieproof, Saturday, 30 October 2021 00:57 (one month ago) link

On the other hand, good to know that Touch ID will still work after 700 years

stet, Friday, 5 November 2021 02:58 (three weeks ago) link

oh no my first law of robotics

mookieproof, Friday, 5 November 2021 12:35 (three weeks ago) link

When “Foundation” Gets the Blockbuster Treatment, Isaac Asimov’s Vision Gets Lost

some points, some misses imo

mookieproof, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 20:24 (three weeks ago) link

Two episodes in, I feel like it's a lot of telling rather than showing, just a lot of exposition and CGI backgrounds.

papal hotwife (milo z), Wednesday, 10 November 2021 20:53 (three weeks ago) link

Real 300/Zack Snyder's Owl Movie vibe.

papal hotwife (milo z), Wednesday, 10 November 2021 20:54 (three weeks ago) link

I feel like it's a lot of telling rather than showing

well this is true to Asimov's vision

Chappies banging dustbin lids together (President Keyes), Wednesday, 10 November 2021 21:14 (three weeks ago) link

haha otm

mookieproof, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 21:47 (three weeks ago) link


Exploding Plastic Bertrand (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 10 November 2021 23:34 (three weeks ago) link


Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 11 November 2021 00:23 (three weeks ago) link

Martin Skidmore to thread!

Exploding Plastic Bertrand (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 11 November 2021 00:41 (three weeks ago) link

idk man

mookieproof, Saturday, 13 November 2021 17:55 (two weeks ago) link

Mm. It's definitely heading towards a 'huh' season ender at this rate.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 13 November 2021 18:15 (two weeks ago) link

i haven't been bored (except by the narration), so that's cool. just seems like we're still more or less in the same place we were six episodes ago

mookieproof, Saturday, 13 November 2021 18:27 (two weeks ago) link

Meantime we got this


Ned Raggett, Sunday, 14 November 2021 17:48 (two weeks ago) link

How does a robot have a religious belief!?

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 15 November 2021 00:32 (two weeks ago) link

I like this show, but I think I'm glad I never read the books.

Visually, I keep thinking of what someone could do with an Earthsea adaptation (yeah again, I know), with the right casting finally, and stuff like Ged finding the floating city in the ocean and etc.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 15 November 2021 00:33 (two weeks ago) link

I'm enjoying this as well. Sometimes some half decent sci-fi shit is just what you need and best avoiding the plethora of hottakes!

calzino, Monday, 15 November 2021 00:44 (two weeks ago) link

well. sucks to be azura

mookieproof, Saturday, 20 November 2021 21:13 (one week ago) link

We were saying she'd be better off just jumping into the pond than what lay ahead.

Also, did not see what Demerzel did coming. But maybe its because she too is beginning to go against her nature (same as brother dawn and day seem to have)? I mean shes a robot so that shouldnt be possible, but ...

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Saturday, 20 November 2021 22:57 (one week ago) link

hmm tried to be vague but is that too spoilery?

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Saturday, 20 November 2021 22:58 (one week ago) link

appreciated that brother dusk angrily flung the stuff at his painting with his *left* hand, and wonder whether that was done on purpose

anyway, solid finale with some unexpected things -- i look forward to the next season whenever that is

mookieproof, Saturday, 20 November 2021 23:22 (one week ago) link

Yeah it's definitely not Asimov's story anymore, broadest of outlines aside. Still, I'll watch. Wondering if the time jump means going straight to Hober Mallow (and thus skipping the thoroughly cynical view of religion in the intervening Seldon crisis).

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 20 November 2021 23:33 (one week ago) link


well spotted there [what was posted in hidden text] probably was on purpose.

calzino, Saturday, 20 November 2021 23:40 (one week ago) link

Yes, I missed that!

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Sunday, 21 November 2021 00:44 (one week ago) link

I'm a little confused by the continued presence of somebody I thought Hugo had missed the landing on the Invictus and floated off into space.
I thought it odd when they came back out of the warp over Terminus and he reappeared. Did I see one character in a spacesuit do that and think it was him or was there a further plan being enacted.

Quite enjoying this and wondering how much of it I read. I think I got several of the series from my uncle's collection when he died. Definitely think I got some Dune from him as well as Ed Sanders The Family. Definitely thinking I did get into a few of them at one point. But it is decades ago.

Stevolende, Sunday, 21 November 2021 11:59 (one week ago) link

I think Hugo faked his miss/death so he could go for reinforcements

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Sunday, 21 November 2021 12:38 (one week ago) link

He did. He deliberately flew off so he could sneak back in.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 22 November 2021 00:34 (one week ago) link

(but yes, all those bits flying about in spacesuits and nothing else and somehow succeeding were redic implausible but I'm bad at willing suspension of disbelief)

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 22 November 2021 00:35 (one week ago) link

i was more bitter about the anacreons surviving the naked jump and then somehow being allowed to take over ships again

fuckin figure it out, thespins

mookieproof, Monday, 22 November 2021 01:26 (one week ago) link

Man, this show. It seems like it has some pretty obvious flaws - lot of telling instead of showing, unevenly paced, some so-so acting - but I loved these 10 episodes. I do think it kind of lacks the spirit of the Asimov books (was very weird to see a robot kill someone!) but keeps the scope and the interesting ideas, and the writers somehow turned that into something very compelling and visually gorgeous. So glad that it's getting another season!

Vinnie, Monday, 22 November 2021 15:30 (one week ago) link

Ya good point about the robot

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 22 November 2021 21:35 (one week ago) link

Tbf, the robot laws never made a lot of sense

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Monday, 22 November 2021 22:53 (one week ago) link

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