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Whatever this is, it’s not Foundation. If Foundation is what it’s supposed to be, then it’s a complete failure. It’s something entirely different from Foundation. Whatever the difference is supposed to be, it’s nothing new. After watching the first two episodes, I find myself angry, partly because it’s not Foundation and partly because it tries to schnooker us into liking it by recycling ingredients from Game of Thrones (but with space ships).

Critics who like it keep inviting us to compare it with Game of Thrones, which, no doubt, is also what Apple wants. I decline.

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books are very cerebral. There is hardly anything cinematic about the books, which no doubt is why several attempts to make a movie went nowhere. It was obvious, when we first learned in 2018 that Apple had commissioned a Foundation series, that some kind of creative reworking would be necessary to make the story cinematic. I was prepared for that. But I don’t like what I see. Those who have never read the books (I’ve read book one in the series at least three times over the years) will probably not be as critical as I am.

Asimov was not interested in romance. He didn’t bother much about setting scenes, let alone creating spectacle. Asimov was interested in ideas, politics, and the interactions between highly intelligent people. Asimov does that mostly with the intelligence of his dialogue, with very little action. This series has lots of action but some of the crudest dialogue I’ve heard in years. To show us that the Gaal Dornick character is highly intelligent, the screenwriters have her winning a math contest and “counting primes” when she’s stressed. But other than that, she behaves and talks like a not-too-bright teenager with reckless taste in boyfriends. As for politics, the Hari Seldon character comes across as a cold and arrogant smartass, up against emperors who are merely Game-of-Thrones cruel rather than near-matches for Hari Seldon’s political genius.

In short, Apple’s Foundation, after watching the first two episodes, looks to me like a dumbed-down derivative. I will watch the next episode, which will be released on October 1, hoping that, if I can get over that it isn’t Foundation, I might find something worthwhile in it. So far it looks like the screenwriters put a drop of Asimov into a food processor, added some scoops of Game of Thrones and The Rise of Skywalker, chopped it up, and spooned it out on Apple TV.

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