Why is an Isaac Asimov Foundation series television show a good idea?

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Answered by: Daniel, An Expert in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Category
The recent interest in interpreting Isaac Asimov’s Hugo Award winning Foundation novels for television is a natural step in the evolution of the TV medium. For years the industry has scoured the annals of human literature looking for the next hit show. The latest trend within this endless effort is to acquire alternate-universe stories. These are massive tales, told over several volumes, that encompass many individual stories consisting of various protagonists usually across distant lands, worlds and time frames. These storytelling techniques are certainly not new and are made up of mechanisms created by the earliest Greek novelists. However, Asimov was one of the first to apply a complicated collection of story arcs to a novel series spanning galaxies and multiple generations. His books were prime influences for the modern epics of alternate-universe storytelling. A Foundation series television show would provide the natural climax for this sky rocketing sub-genre.



The Star Wars and Star Trek franchises have garnered favorable ratings and acclaim for decades, yet fans of these collected tales remained a fringe demographic through the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, when they were so endearingly referred to as geeks. A decade and a half into this century and geeks have become the ruling class in the world of Pop-Culture. This audience craves the multidimensional storytelling inherent to the sub-genre, and exhibit fervent idolatry-esque worship for the multitude of colorful characters that bring it to life. Having been raised amongst the classics of science-fiction and the advent of the Marvel and DC universes has given those generations the ability to take seriously this brand of storytelling, which is often categorized by large stretches of the imagination and the intense complexity of its interwoven story arcs. The multimillion dollar alternate-universe franchises dominating the entertainment media these days like the Game of Thrones series and everything Marvel and DC owe homage to Isaac Asimov. Asimov’s work is literally part of the sturdy foundation this sub-genre stands upon. His influence on science-fiction and all of its derivatives penetrates down to their canons.

These novels boast an extensive cast of characters of various psychological capacities and often of different interstellar races. The six installments of the series take place across several thousand years and tell the story of a man, Hari Seldon, who has penetrated the inner workings of sentient societies to the point where he can predict and circumvent the cyclical dark ages he has discovered to be inevitable. Seldon creates a society, separate and distant from the ruling galactic empire, of scientists and artists who will be the torchbearers of knowledge and wisdom through times of ignorance. The stage is quickly set for generations of insightful and thought provoking characters who play a major factor in the grandest societal project imaginable. The studios would be crazy not to jump all over this epic of science and imagination.



A Foundation series television show would have enough story to last at least a half dozen seasons. It includes a constantly evolving cast of characters that could provide producers an opportunity to keep the show fresh and develop marketing buzz around a continuously changing cast of actors. The subject matter is eternally relevant to a world that is constantly battling to keep its societies from degrading into barbarism and the interstellar backdrop would create a visual aesthetic that virtually guarantees the elusive wow factor. Engaging characters, smart dialogue, a story with shocking plot twists and awe-inspiring visuals are the exact ingredients for a successful alternate-universe television show, and Isaac Asimov perfected all of these aspects with his genre defining Foundation series.

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