The Apple TV+ series is an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series of novels. [credit:
A mathematical genius predicts the imminent collapse of a galactic empire, and he and his protege set plans in motion to preserve the foundational knowledge of their civilization in Foundation, Apple TV+’s adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s hugely influential series of science fiction novels. It’s a story that takes place across multiple planets over 1,000 years, with a huge cast of characters. That makes adapting it extremely difficult, particularly to film. But the streaming platform is betting that the series format will be better suited to bring Asimov’s futuristic vision to life. It’s certainly one of several hotly anticipated science fiction projects debuting this fall.
As I’ve written previously, Asimov’s original trilogy centered on a mathematician named Hari Seldon, who has developed a mathematical approach to sociology. Called “psychohistory,” it enables him to predict the future of large populations—like the Galactic Empire, which incorporates all inhabitants of the Milky Way. Unfortunately, Seldon’s theory predicts an imminent collapse of the empire. This will usher in a Dark Age lasting 30,000 years, after which a second empire will arise.
Seldon cannot stop the collapse, but he insists there is a way to limit those Dark Ages to just 1,000 years. He proposes creating a Foundation, a group of the most intelligent minds in the empire, charged with preserving all human knowledge in the Encyclopedia Galactica. Rather than executing Seldon, the committee decides to exile him to a remote world called Terminus, along with the members of the new Foundation, where they can begin compiling the encyclopedia.