Like many people I loved the books from long ago. When I began to watch the series I read some positive reviews that mentioned the negative reactions of purists who disdained the changes to the television version of the classic story. Oh well, I thought, one has to expect changes from the original, it’s just the way television works. I even reread the books, which hold up well enough but have a tattered aspect after all these decades. Very clever writing, sayings like “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent,” which became part of the landscape of science fiction in the 60s, because of Isaac Asimov’s enormous impact. The stories of Foundation, like the robot stories he wrote, are all aimed at proving the truth of his truisms in clever ways. But nevertheless it was entertaining fiction and when I was young it felt very profound and satisfying. Now, many millions of dollars later, here is this television series that gives us a glimpse of the Galactic Empire that we knew and loved. At first it was a bit enthralling. There was Hari Seldon talking about psychohistory. Right away the embellishments that were necessary to fill out the bare bones of Asimov’s books began to appear worrisome. Worst of these is the genetic dynasty and the silliness about clones being identical. Even identical twins don’t remain identical forever, and they certainly don’t see themselves as such. The idea that a clone can’t have a soul or change becomes important about midway through the first season. More silliness. From the first we hear that psychohistory can’t predict for individuals (Asimov’s doctrine, to which he remains faithful) but this becomes all muddled because it turns out Hari Seldon could foresee Gaal’s destiny and she has special powers and is a golden child (she was just Seldon’s biographer in the novels) and she has a daughter who is also a golden child and prescient and on like that. The child being Salvor Hardin, the origin of the “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent” saying (in the books), who in the television version stomps about carrying a big rifle and protecting everybody by pointing the rifle at things. Speaking of the saying, the “incompetent” appear to be television producers who cannot make television without constant resort to violence, guns, explosions, and the like. The first season is about the first crisis faced by the Foundation, which in the book is resolved by clever diplomacy but in the television series by many gunfights and killings and snarling villain(esse)s and hero(in)es. At the end of the season come emotional parting scenes as Salvor goes off to find her true mother Gaal, and after the actors have chewed each other’s shoulders for a while, Salvor sails off into the hugeness of the galaxy to the exact location were, a century later, her mother will also land in her little life pod, after chewing her own ration of scenery, and they Find Each Other At Last. In other words this is just Hollywood doing what Hollywood does, spending millions upon millions to rehash the same tripe from the last epic science fiction morass and all the previous ones. With cool space rifles. So I console myself that at least it was pretty and had some good special effects. Special effects being the true last refuge of the incompetent.