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Apple's TV show based on Asimov's FOUNDATION, starring Jared Harris


Werthead
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On 11/23/2023 at 11:45 PM, Lady Anna said:

I'm 4 episodes into season 2 and I'm loving it. I really like the concepts and themes they're working with so even when the execution falters I still enjoy it. Episode 1 of this season was a bad omen because it felt like a parody version of the show but ever since episode 2 it's just gotten better. All the new actors are excellent and the scale feels larger. They definitely had a bigger budget this time.

@Ran Hober Mallow is the Han Solo-type character you mentioned, right? I see it :D He was even on a planet called Korell !!

I finished season 2. Maybe I spoke too soon when I made the above post because the very next episode was the worst of the show lol. It's the weird episode when the show suddenly turned comedic. I can't believe they actually did that, like no one thought it may have been bordering on jumping the shark? Cause I thought so.

Speaking of, Lee Pace's acting was so uneven, it's distracting. I've been told that apparently the show-runner wanted more funny (darkly funny?) scenes with him and that's why that horrible tonal shift happened. If so, then this show isn't in good hands. It also ruined Demerzel until the final episodes.

I think overall season 1 was better because it was more even. Season 2 was too inconsistent: the highest highs and the lowest lows. Maybe getting a bigger budget this time went to their heads. While the Empire-Trantor storyline was the highlight last season, this time it was just embarrassing until the very end.

The Gaal-Salvor-Seldon plotline started well with lots of potential but then devolved into an over-extended messy finish. At first, the Mentalics planet and Tellem were interesting but then the whole thing with telekinesis and mind hopping, and Tellem coming back at the very end, was incredibly silly to me and I can't believe that's how Salvor was written off. I feel so bad for the two actresses that play Gaal and Salvor because Llobell is stuck playing a role that's essentially a living plot device and Harvey was clearly being wasted in an equally thankless role. I get the sense the writers have NO idea what to do with Gaal and by extension that whole plotline.

The Clarics-Hober plotline was my favourite this season: it was interesting, consistent, fresh and well-executed. The actors were excellent, in particular Kulvinder Ghir as Poly. The Bel-Glawen storyline was also good but both these storylines suffered from a lack of screentime, which made their resolution lose a LOT of impact. We should have spent more time with these characters; they're new to this season and instead of giving us endless scenes of the same things in Trantor, they should have dedicated more time to them. Ben Daniels - who was acting circles around everyone - was ultimately wasted.

To go back to the whole Empire thing, the matrimony issue and Sareth were initially interesting as well but then... I don't know what happened but it just wasn't good. The first episode of the season was a bad omen after all in that sense. Even the actors' performances declined gradually as it went on, like it's visible. Only in the last two episodes did that story have a highlight with the Demerzel reveal. Laura Birn, wasted until those episodes, was so good and I actually teared up at her scenes. But too little, too late.

Edited by Lady Anna
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I finished Season 2. The first episode or so felt a bit like Season 1 redux, which was concerning, but there was a sharp and near-(Brother)-constant rise in quality which somehow persisted across almost the entire season. I wasn't expecting that.

The genetic dynasty stuff remains the best storyline, but Lee Pace as a now-shithead version of Brother Day is incredibly entertaining. The Dominion Queen was a great role, excellently played (though her advisor was even more compelling), and Demerzel's story was fantastic, and the season highlight. The Bel Riose stuff was also superb, and the Foundation storyline was helped by much more charismatic actors selling it. The Second Foundation stuff strained at the edges of tedium but stayed on the right side of interesting: Gaal achieved the diluted promise she showed in Season 1, and I'm both surprised but pleased they were able to get Jared Harris back in a much larger role (two roles!) than Season 1.

My favourite element was the dramatic increase in the quality of the dialogue. There's some really excellent lines and I strongly suspect this was down to Jane Espenson, who has always shown a good ear for poetic dialogue (hinted at in Buffy and Angel but more prevalent on Firefly and its curious diction). There's also some great setpiece moments (the jump into the Imperial Palace now makes me want to see somebody do The Reality Dysfunction and the wormhole-jump inside a space habitat to carry out a daring rescue operation).

An absolutely outstanding rise in quality, meaning that Foundation is now Apple's lead SF show, above the past-its-best For All Mankind. I wouldn't have predicted saying that after Season 1.

Some sources are saying that Goyer and Apple have an agreement to develop two seasons at once, so assuming Season 3 doesn't insta-tank in the ratings, Season 4 is pretty likely as well, which will carry them to their planned halfway point of the story. At the moment the question is if the Mule is going to be the Season 3 and 4 threat, or just for Season 3. That makes me think the following arc will be Foundation's Edge/Foundation and Earth, which they're already hinting. That does make think that the show's final 1-2 seasons (assuming they get that far) will have to be wholly new material.

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On 12/7/2023 at 11:23 AM, Werthead said:

the jump into the Imperial Palace now makes me want to see somebody do The Reality Dysfunction and the wormhole-jump inside a space habitat to carry out a daring rescue operation

I hadn't thought of it in a while, but its really quite surprising no one has jumped on those rights yet, and that one at least should be able to do a fairly straight adaptation if I'm remembering right (which to be fair..its been a long time since I read it).

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6 hours ago, karaddin said:

I hadn't thought of it in a while, but its really quite surprising no one has jumped on those rights yet, and that one at least should be able to do a fairly straight adaptation if I'm remembering right (which to be fair.its been a long time since I read it).

My favourite PFH books. I'd love that. Would need a wild budget,


I just watched both Seasons in a week or two while sick. 

Agree with the general consensus here that Season 1 the Empire Storyline was by far the more compelling, I didn't dislike the Terminus stuff as much as others but maybe it's because I watched it all in the space of a few days? 
I'm excited for Season 3.

Now to watch For All Mankind with my free Apple TV Subscription before I have to pay!

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Yeah I think the Terminus stuff felt so... interminable (ba dum tish) because of the week to week waits. I doubt I'd have loved it in a binge but it wouldn't have felt so much of fresh a drag.

After a couple of months since the end of season 2 it's Demerzal that's really stuck with me which really just makes it two separate plot lines from the Empire side that are really landing.

40 minutes ago, lessthanluke said:

My favourite PFH books. I'd love that. Would need a wild budget,

Agreed on the budget side of things lol, I was only thinking in terms of the writing that makes it a more straight forward adaptation than say a faithful Foundation (just going off what people said of the books here).

You'd need to trim it down as well, but just normal adaptation things.

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  • 1 month later...

A bit of news, though it's not good: all the sudden Apple is saying the costs are too high just before production was about to star ton the 3rd season and have told actors and crew to return home while they figure things out. This sort of thing, with other studios, tends to be a prelude to them just cancelling the whole thing. Apple has very deep pockets, but even they might be feeling the inflation/interest rate pinch and could be having second thoughts.

Hopefully the third season goes forward despite this, if to allow closure if nothing else. I really think it'll be the last season, though.

Edited by Ran
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I’ve been catching up on this over Xmas break: season 2 drastically better than season one. Invented second foundation storyline is weak. But if they were all as good as episode four of season 2 it could have been great ( just watched that; focuses purely on Bel Riose and Hober Mallow storylines)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sounds like one of the cost-cutting measures was Goyer stepping down as director, with other, presumably cheaper directors being hired instead to cover the episodes he was working on.

Goyer is, despite a varied output (but when he's on form, he's really on form), a big name and I presume quite expensive, and his agent probably advised him not to agree to do the episodes for a cheaper rate than what he normally charges.

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On 2/18/2024 at 11:50 PM, Werthead said:

Sounds like one of the cost-cutting measures was Goyer stepping down as director,

More than that, in the end: he's no longer showrunner, either, after Skydance tried to rein in the budget even more I guess. He'll still "contribute scripts", but is no longer involved in production and will not be on set.

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