Considering Foundation

Last night, I watched the final episode of Foundation’s second season on Apple TV+. It was a thrilling ride and the perfect close to an impressive season.

If you haven’t sampled the delights of Foundation yet, let me convince you. No, it doesn’t have space wizards or laser sword fights or cutesy little robots. It doesn’t have alien races with unpronounceable names.

But it does have the palace intrigue of Game of Thrones, combined with the galaxy-wide politics of Star Trek. It addresses fundamental themes of what it means to be a human and what freedom and power are. All while set in the most breath-taking sets you can imagine.

Yes, there are thrilling space battles (eventually), but there’s real character growth, plot developments that leave your mouth gaping, set design that will set your heart racing and an ongoing exploration of the messy grey zone between ‘good’ and ‘evil’.

The cast is wonderful.

Whether it’s the out and out menace and endless sexual charge coming from Lee Pace as Brother Day, or the cold and definitely unsettling presence of Laura Birn as Demerzel, virtually every character brings something to the screen. I found myself getting incredibly invested in their journeys - which is always a great sign when there are so many characters.

(By comparison, half-way through the final season of Game of Thrones, I wouldn’t have been moved if a dragon had eaten every single human pottering about King’s Landing.)

Foundation requires real attention. This isn’t something you can enjoy with one eye on your iPad or while preparing a meal. I found myself rewinding to catch crucial plot points (and not just the naked hand-to-hand fight scenes. Ahem.).

It’s not light, but it is up-lifting. It’s complex, but rewarding. There’s no magic. But there is a spiritual element. Any miracle you see is all technology plus the human spirit. And I enjoyed every minute.

Richard MacKinnon @TheMacPsych