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Apple TV+'s New Foundation Series Trailer Feels a Tiny Bit Desperate

"There's more to the adaptation of Isaac Asimov's sci-fi classic than just space math! Promise!"

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A space station explodes in Apple's Foundation TV series
The Trade Federation finally gets what’s coming to them.
Screenshot: Apple TV

Isaac Asimov’s original Foundation trilogy has received countless awards and praise since it was completed in 1953, even winning the Hugo for “Best All-Time Series.” But what’s drawn nerds to the classic sci-fi series over the decades is its vision, scope, and imagination, not particularly its whiz-bang action sequences. It’s a story about civilization, politics, and science, after all. It seems like Apple’s Foundation TV series might think differently.

Hardcore sci-fi fans probably needn’t worry; as this new trailer shows, it’s still very clearly about Hari Seldon, creator of psychohistory, a science that can predict the future of civilization (in broad strokes, at least)—specifically, the destruction of the galactic empire, which will throw humanity into a new dark age spanning 30,000 years. Fortunately, Hari has a plan to reduce that number to 1,000; unfortunately, the Emperors aren’t happy with anything that threatens their rule, even facts.

But that’s all stuff we knew before. What seems to make this Foundation trailer unique is how much it emphasizes the empire’s decline—the fighting, the revolution, and the wars that throw the galaxy into chaos—which, of course, means a great deal of gunfighting and spaceships exploding. This trailer makes it abundantly clear there are battles that erupt on several planets, although whether these fights are against the empire or if populations of planets are simply fighting each other as civilization falls apart isn’t clear. I’d say a mix of the two.

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I don’t begrudge Apple trying to convince people who are not sci-fi fans (or sci-fans who haven’t read 70-year-old classics of the genre) that Foundation is worth checking out by promising them the laser blasts and space explosions that they’d expect from a modern series. I just worry a little about how much they might keep the science of this science fiction story out of the show’s spotlight.


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