First Look: Apple TV’s New Epic Sci-Fi Series ”Foundation”

Based on the award-winning novels by Isaac Asimov, Foundation chronicles a band of exiles on their monumental journey to save humanity and rebuild civilization amid the fall of the Galactic Empire.

Foundation stars SAG Award-winner and Emmy-nominee Jared Harris as Hari Seldon; Lee Pace as Brother Day; Lou Llobell as Gaal; Leah Harvey as Salvor; Laura Birn as Demerzel; Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk; and Cassian Bilton as play Brother Dawn.

Foundation is executive produced by Robyn Asimov, David S. Goyer, Josh Friedman, Cameron Welsh, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross. The series is produced for Apple by Skydance Television.

The premise of the stories is that, in the waning days of a future Galactic Empire, the mathematician Hari Seldon spends his life developing a theory of psychohistory, a new and effective mathematical sociology. Using statistical laws of mass action, it can predict the future of large populations. Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting 30,000 years before a second empire arises. Although the inertia of the Empire’s fall is too great to stop, Seldon devises a plan by which “the onrushing mass of events must be deflected just a little” to eventually limit this interregnum to just one thousand years. To implement his plan, Seldon creates the Foundations—two groups of scientists and engineers settled at opposite ends of the galaxy—to preserve the spirit of science and civilization, and thus become the cornerstones of the new galactic empire.

A key feature of Seldon’s theory, which has proved influential in real-world social science, is an uncertainty or incompleteness principle: if a population gains knowledge of its predicted behavior, its self-aware collective actions become unpredictable.

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