Foundation (TV series)

Foundation is an American science fiction television series created by David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman for Apple TV+, loosely based on the Foundation series of stories by Isaac Asimov. It features an ensemble cast led by Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Lou Llobell and Leah Harvey.[2] The series premiered on September 24, 2021. In October 2021, the series was renewed for a second season, which premiered on July 14, 2023. In December 2023, the series was renewed for a third season.[3]

Created by
Based onFoundation
by Isaac Asimov
ComposerBear McCreary[a]
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes20
Executive producers
  • David S. Goyer
  • David Ellison
  • Dana Goldberg
  • Bill Bost
  • Robyn Asimov
  • Marcy Ross
  • Josh Friedman
  • Cameron Welsh
Running time45–69 minutes
Production companies
Budget$69 million (season 1)[1]
Original release
NetworkApple TV+
ReleaseSeptember 24, 2021 (2021-09-24) –
present (present)

The first season received some positive reviews, with praise aimed towards its performances (Pace and Harris in particular), epic scale, visual effects and score by Bear McCreary. However, the pacing, specifically of the time jumps, use of narration and complexity of plot were often criticized.[4]

The second season received more positive reviews from critics, with many agreeing that it was an improvement over its first season, emphasizing the more accessible pacing, better plot, improved interpersonal characterizations and overall satisfaction with the season's payoff.



In the far future, most of the known galaxy is despotically ruled by a revolving triumvirate of Emperor Cleon clones: Brother Day, a Cleon in his prime; Brother Dusk, a retired and aging Cleon who serves in an advisory role; and Brother Dawn, a young Cleon being trained to succeed Brother Day. This "genetic dynasty" has been surreptitiously administered for 400 years by the regal Lady Demerzel, the emperor's majordomo and secretly a unique, ageless humanoid robot. Young Gaal Dornick solves a complex mathematic proof and wins a galaxy-wide contest, devised by famed mathematician and psychologist Hari Seldon to find another mathematical genius who could understand his work. Arriving on the capital planet, Trantor, Gaal is thrust into the center of a conflict involving psychohistory, an algorithm created by Seldon which predicts the events and actions of large masses across vast timelines. Seldon has predicted the decay and imminent fall of the empire, which cannot be averted, but the consequences of which may be mitigated by the creation of Foundation preserving the knowledge of humanity. The Cleons, known collectively as Empire, are dismissive of Seldon, but ultimately allow him and his followers to establish the Foundation in exile on the remote planet Terminus. The series chronicles Empire's subsequent conflicts with the Foundation, and the characters which bridge the divide between them.

Cast and characters



  • Jared Harris as Hariton "Hari" Seldon, a mathematician and developer of psychohistory, an algorithmic science that allows him to predict the future in terms of probabilities
  • Lee Pace as Brother Day (Cleon I, XII, XIII and XVII), the middle-aged member of a series of genetic clones of Cleon I, who reigns as Emperor of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire; Pace also portrays Cleon I in his prime.[5]
  • Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick, Hari's protégée, a self-taught young woman from Synnax, a planet where the pursuit of knowledge is considered heresy. Teyarnie Galea portrays Gaal as a child.
  • Leah Harvey as Salvor Hardin, the Warden of Terminus 35 years after Seldon's trial, hero of the Foundation's first crisis and Gaal Dornick's daughter
  • Laura Birn as Demerzel, majordomo to the Emperors and one of the last surviving androids from the ancient Robot Wars
  • Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk (Cleon I, XI, XII and XVI), the eldest member of a series of genetic clones of Cleon I who retired from his duties as Emperor; Mann also portrays an elderly Cleon I.[5]
  • Cassian Bilton as Brother Dawn (Cleon I, XIV and XVIII), the youngest member of a series of genetic clones of Cleon I and the successor-in-training of Brother Day.[5]
  • Alexander Siddig as Dr. Ebling Mis (season 3), a self-taught psychohistorian and diehard fan of Hari Seldon.[6] Siddig also portrayed Advocate Xylas, the prosecutor in Seldon's trial, in the first season.[7]
  • Troy Kotsur as Preem Palver (season 3), the leader of a planet of psychics.[8]






SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast released
110September 24, 2021 (2021-09-24)November 19, 2021 (2021-11-19)
210July 14, 2023 (2023-07-14)September 15, 2023 (2023-09-15)

Season 1 (2021)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"The Emperor's Peace"Rupert SandersDavid S. Goyer & Josh FriedmanSeptember 24, 2021 (2021-09-24)
In the year 12,067 E.I. (Era Imperial), the prodigy Gaal Dornick travels from her academically repressive homeworld of Synnax to Trantor, capital of the Galactic Empire, to study under the famed Hari Seldon, the creator of the predictive mathematical subfield of psychohistory, as a reward for solving a complex conjecture. They are both arrested on charges of treason; Seldon because his model predicts the imminent collapse of the Empire due in part to the stagnation caused by four centuries of rule by clones of Emperor Cleon I, and Gaal because the Empire wants her to discredit psychohistory. Gaal instead confirms Seldon's model during his trial and condemns them both, but they are spared by Brother Day (Emperor Cleon XII) after the Star Bridge, Trantor's space elevator, is destroyed by apparent terrorists from the feuding Periphery kingdoms of Anacreon and Thespis. Brother Day exiles Seldon and Gaal to the Periphery world of Terminus, where they are to build the "Foundation", a repository of human knowledge that Seldon claims will shorten the dark age after the Empire's demise from thirty thousand years to a single millennium.
22"Preparing to Live"Andrew BernsteinJosh Friedman & David S. GoyerSeptember 24, 2021 (2021-09-24)
Seldon and his followers proceed to Terminus aboard a slow starship, the Deliverance, and prepare for their new lives on the barren world. A year into the trip (12,068 E.I.), Gaal reveals to her lover, Seldon's adopted son Raych, that the psychohistory model is incomplete, alarming him. Meanwhile, the Empire investigates the Star Bridge attack but is unable to identify its mastermind, or conclusively attribute it to Seldon or the governments of Anacreon and Thespis. Despite Brother Dusk (Cleon XI) urging that the detained delegations from the two kingdoms should be granted clemency, Brother Day opts for a public execution of all delegates except the two ambassadors, simultaneous with orbital bombardments of their homeworlds. On the ship, Gaal finds Raych fatally stabbing Seldon in his quarters. Raych then ushers the incredulous Gaal into an escape pod with the murder weapon and jettisons her from the ship.
33"The Mathematician's Ghost"Alex GravesOlivia PurnellOctober 1, 2021 (2021-10-01)
Nineteen years after the Star Bridge attack (12,086 E.I.), the genetic dynasty of Cleon I undertakes its traditional transfer of power: Cleon XIV is born as the new Brother Dawn, Cleon XIII is elevated as Brother Day, Cleon XII retires as Brother Dusk, and Cleon XI assumes the mantle of Brother Darkness before being euthanized. In 12,072 E.I., Seldon's followers arrive at Terminus and discover the Vault, an enigmatic artifact guarded by a "null field" that repels all life. In the present day (12,102 E.I.), the Foundation is well established and Salvor Hardin, a second-generation colonist, serves as Warden of Terminus. Salvor is troubled by the sudden expansion of the Vault's null field, but a larger crisis looms as corvettes from Anacreon appear in Terminus's skies in open violation of Imperial sanctions. In the hours before the ships' arrival, Salvor chases a child into the scuttled Deliverance and finds herself surrounded by an Anacreon landing party.
44"Barbarians at the Gate"Alex GravesLauren BelloOctober 8, 2021 (2021-10-08)
The Cleon lineage faces a threat to its legitimacy as Zephyr Halima Ifa, a leading candidate to become the next Proxima of the major religion of Luminism, revives an orthodox, pre-Imperial dogma that asserts clones of an individual do not possess souls. This religious issue and a violent "Sinker" insurrection in the still-ruined lower levels of Trantor fulfill two key portents of the Empire's decline that Hari Seldon related at his trial. Brother Day grows frustrated with Brother Dusk, feeling his elder seeded these problems decades ago by acting impulsively and refusing to heed Seldon's warnings. While Day departs Trantor to attend the Luminist Conclave and back Ifa's competitor, Dusk orders Commander Dorwin to visit the Foundation, which has fallen silent. On Terminus, Salvor outwits the Anacreons and captures their leader, Grand Huntress Phara Keaen, who claims to only want the colony ship's navigation computer so her people can find a new homeworld. Anacreon soldiers surround Terminus City's perimeter fence and assemble a flak cannon. The Vault also begins giving Salvor sporadic visions of a child in Trantor's Imperial Library, where Seldon worked. In deep space, a ship encounters Gaal's escape pod.
55"Upon Awakening"Alex GravesLeigh Dana JacksonOctober 15, 2021 (2021-10-15)
In the past, on Synnax, Gaal is forced to participate in the execution of her former teacher, who was caught salvaging books from a condemned university. Disillusioned with the Seer's Church, she educates herself in secret and enters a math competition. In the present, Gaal awakens after 34 years of cryosleep and finds herself aboard the fully automated starship Raven, which had been prepared by Raych. She learns that Raych was executed for murdering Hari, and the galaxy believes her to be an accomplice to the crime. After deducing that the Raven is bound for Hari's homeworld of Helicon, she stumbles across a wounded yet seemingly alive Hari. At Terminus, the Imperial ship Aegis carrying Commander Dorwin enters orbit and detects the Anacreon presence. Dorwin is informed of the captive Phara and demands to speak with her, causing the Foundation staff to bring her from her cell to Foundation Tower. Once inside, Phara disables Terminus City's fence and reveals her true purpose is to destroy the Foundation in revenge for the Empire's neutron bombing of Anacreon, which had killed her parents and brother. The Anacreon soldiers storm the city, and their flak cannon shoots down the Aegis.
66"Death and the Maiden"Jennifer PhangMarcus GardleyOctober 22, 2021 (2021-10-22)
Brother Day arrives at The Maiden, the holy moon at the center of the Luminist faith. He undermines Zephyr Halima by pledging to build a moon-wide desalination system in honor of the moderate Zephyr Gilat, but Halima gains the upper hand with a galvanizing eulogy of the late Proxima Opal that subtly criticizes Imperial cloning. On Trantor, Brother Dawn pursues a romance with Azura Odili, a palace gardener, and bares his deepest secret: he inexplicably has minor genetic traits, such as color blindness, that differentiate him from all previous Cleon clones. On Terminus, the Anacreons recover Dorwin from the wreckage of the Aegis and round up colonists with the skills necessary to repair and crew the Invictus, a long-lost Imperial warship that Phara's people rediscovered and plan to use to attack the Empire. Salvor escapes the city with the help of two children, and decides to take out the Anacreon corvettes to strand Phara. During the mission, Salvor is struck with a vision revealing the murder of Hari Seldon was part of Seldon's plan for the Foundation, but the escape pod Gaal took had been intended for Raych. In Salvor's absence, her father Abbas sacrifices himself to blow up the corvettes. Salvor and her lover, the Thespin trader Hugo, are later captured by Phara. Salvor is forced to pilot Hugo's ship, the Beggar, to the Anthor Belt with the captive colonists.
77"Mysteries and Martyrs"Jennifer PhangCaitlin SaundersOctober 29, 2021 (2021-10-29)
Salvor and Phara's party board and explore the 700-year-old ghost ship Invictus, but not without casualties; among others, Hugo drifts off during the spacewalk crossing from the Beggar, and Dorwin is killed by Phara after he unlocks the vessel. With the Invictus only hours away from making a random jump to a potentially lethal destination, the dwindling group of Anacreons and colonists proceeds to the bridge to take control. On The Maiden, Brother Day is agitated by his inability to rein in the defiant Halima, but decides he can upstage her by undertaking Luminism's most sacred pilgrimage. On Trantor, Azura asks Brother Dawn, who lives in constant fear of being replaced by another clone should his uniqueness be exposed, to consider running away with her. Aboard the Raven, the living Hari Seldon is revealed to be a digital copy of the deceased Hari's consciousness. The copy had been stored in the knife Raych used to kill him, and then was uploaded into the ship when Gaal was found. Hari explains that Gaal and Raych's unexpected relationship had disrupted his plans for the Foundation: Hari was to commit suicide to mythologize himself, Raych was to bring the knife to the Raven, and Gaal was to lead the Foundation through its first crisis on Terminus. Hari had persuaded Raych to murder him instead in order to force the couple's separation. Gaal's outrage at her mentor's manipulation is momentarily quelled by the revelation that she possesses a latent ability: prescience.
88"The Missing Piece"Roxann DawsonSarah NolenNovember 5, 2021 (2021-11-05)
The group on the Invictus finally reaches the bridge. Meanwhile, Hugo safely arrives at a comms relay and calls for help from his people. Just as the Thespins attack, and Phara and Salvor fight each other, the Invictus jumps into the unknown. On the Raven, Hari divulges his plan to establish a secret second Foundation on Helicon, nicknamed "Star's End" due its orbit around a black hole, but refuses to elaborate. Irate and impatient, Gaal forces Hari to let her leave in the escape pod, and she sets a course for Synnax that will take 138 years to elapse. Brother Day completes the Spiral, a torturous trek to a desert cave pool, and claims to have received a vision of a sacred flower from Luminism's triple-goddess. The Zephyrs interpret Day's vision as a divine pronouncement that he has a soul, rendering any further criticism of Imperial cloning by a Luminist to be sacrilege, and also guaranteeing Zephyr Gilat's elevation to Proxima. Day seals his victory by commanding his robot majordomo, Demerzel, to covertly assassinate Halima. Demerzel is a devout Luminist who respects Halima and is greatly distressed by the command, but she is compelled to obey by her programming. As they leave The Maiden behind, Day reflects on his experience in the cave, revealing he had no vision at all, after a tearful Demerzel made him understand that she was aware of the deception and disapproved.
99"The First Crisis"Roxann DawsonVictoria MorrowNovember 12, 2021 (2021-11-12)
The Invictus appears over Terminus due to the sacrifice of Foundation director Lewis Pirenne, who plugged himself into the ship's systems at the last second. Salvor joyfully reunites with Hugo, then descends to Terminus to deactivate the Vault, which has enveloped all of the planet in its null field. On Trantor, Brother Dawn realizes Brother Dusk knows his secret and escapes into Trantor's depths to find Azura, but he falls into the waiting hands of a conspiracy. All along, Azura was part of an anti-Empire group that had altered Dawn's DNA, giving him imperfections with the expectation he would one day choose to flee the palace. The purpose of this was to create an opportunity to extract Dawn's Imperial nanobots and implant them into a cooperative, perfect Cleon clone who would then assume Dawn's identity. As Dawn despairs, Dusk arrives with Imperial troops who dispatch the conspirators and their counterfeit Cleon. Dusk leaves Dawn's fate for the returning Brother Day to decide. On Terminus, Salvor solves the puzzle of the Vault, converting it into a portal. Before the gathered Anacreons, Thespins, and Termini, Salvor proposes harnessing the Invictus to give all three worlds leverage against the Empire. Phara tries to destroy the Vault, but is shot dead by Salvor. Before further violence can occur, Hari Seldon emerges from the portal.
1010"The Leap"David S. GoyerDavid S. GoyerNovember 19, 2021 (2021-11-19)
Hari, a second digital copy of the original, explains the Vault was his casket all along, which transformed after being jettisoned and reached Terminus before the colonists. He also reveals the Foundation's true purpose was not to safeguard knowledge, but to forge a new civilization assisted by Anacreon and Thespis, and suggests using the Invictus to fake a "megaflare" to make it appear Terminus had been purged of life; this would allow the Outer Reach to develop in secret from the Empire. As Hari returns to the Vault until the next crisis, he tells Salvor that her visions were not sent by him. Months later, Hugo is captain of the Invictus, and Salvor is running for mayor of Terminus. When Salvor learns she was conceived by Gaal and Raych and her embryo safeguarded on the Deliverance, before being carried to term by her mother Mari, she realizes her visions are her genetic parents' memories and leaves Terminus in search of Gaal. On Trantor, Brother Day tells Azura he has killed all of her relatives and everyone she has ever met, and that she will be shrouded for the rest of her life. Day decides to spare Dawn over Dusk's objections, but Demerzel kills Dawn anyway, affirming that her loyalty to the Cleon dynasty supersedes Day's wishes. Day is later informed that the anti-Empire conspiracy also altered the DNA of Cleon I's body long ago, affecting not only all extant replacement clones, but also Day himself and possibly his predecessors. In 12,240 E.I., Gaal lands on Synnax, and at the ruins of her hometown, she finds another pod underwater and awakens Salvor, who tells her she is Gaal's daughter. Salvor then gives her Hari Seldon's Prime Radiant.

Season 2 (2023)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
111"In Seldon's Shadow"Alex GravesDavid S. Goyer & Jane EspensonJuly 14, 2023 (2023-07-14)
A copy of Hari Seldon's consciousness within the Prime Radiant tries to find his way out with the help of what appears to be a manifestation of the radiant itself. On the ocean planet Synnax, Gaal and Salvor, after examining the Radiant and learning that Hari's plan is veering off course, work to reactivate Salvor's ship Beggar so they can return to Terminus. Brother Day (Cleon XVII) survives an assassination attempt by the Blind Angels while he is being intimate with Demerzel, and blames Brothers Dawn and Dusk of being complicit. He plans to wed Queen Sareth I of the Cloud Dominion to end the genetic dynasty and change the direction of the Empire, but she is not impressed with him and disparages his offer. Empire finds out that Terminus was not destroyed by a megaflare as they had presumed—the incident was concurrent with the discovery of the genetic dynasty's corruption therefore was never fully probed—but decides to investigate further before acting. After escaping the Radiant, Hari confronts Gaal and Salvor inside the Beggar.
122"A Glimpse of Darkness"David S. GoyerJane Espenson & David S. GoyerJuly 21, 2023 (2023-07-21)
Hari informs Salvor and Gaal that establishing a Second Foundation is crucial for the survival of the first and for his plan to work, but that was interrupted when Gaal fled the ship while en route to Helicon. Then with Hari's help they manage to jump-start the Beggar and leave Synnax just in time before huge storm waves hit them. Over dinner, Queen Sareth discusses with Empire the particulars of their impending union while tactfully delving into the assassination attempt. On planet Siwenna, Poly Verisof, High Claric of the Foundation and his junior, Novice Claric Brother Constant, while spreading the Foundation's mission learn that Seldon's vault has re-opened, and hastily jump back to Terminus to attend what will ensue. The Warden approaches Seldon's vault and gets incinerated before the name "Hober Mallow" appears written on the vault. Gaal peers 150 years into the future and is attacked by a telepath called the Mule who is the source of the impending darkness, just before she sees Salvor dead besides her. After the encounter, Gaal procures from her future self the location of the Second Foundation on the planet Ignis.
133"King and Commoner"David S. GoyerLeigh Dana Jackson & Jane EspensonJuly 28, 2023 (2023-07-28)
On behalf of Empire, Lady Demerzel recruits Bel Riose, a former general now imprisoned in the Lepsis penal colony, to investigate the dissident Foundation. Riose attends an audience with Empire where he is formally given the task and then is reunited with his husband Glawen Curr, before then leading a fleet to investigate the Outer Reach. Hari leads Gaal and Salvor to Oona's World, a desert and former mining planet, where after persuading Gaal to carry him to a chamber up in the mountains, his consciousness is transferred into an organic body by Kalle, whose real identity, apart from calling herself a friend of Hari's, remains elusive. Just when Gaal and Salvor are to make their ascent from the desert planet, autonomous mining machines reactivate and start attacking the Beggar. They successfully evade the attacking machines and leave the planet after retrieving Hari's unconscious body. Hober Mallow, a con man and master trader, steals the Eye of Korell by switching places with Commdor Argo using a teleportation device. His plan is foiled and he is captured and sentenced to death. But he deceives his captors again using the same technology and escapes Korell in the ship Poly and Constant had just arrived in to appeal for his release.
144"Where the Stars are Scattered Thinly"Mark TonderaiLeigh Dana Jackson & David S. GoyerAugust 4, 2023 (2023-08-04)
Sareth and Dawn walk the palace gardens while benignly questioning each other on their possible involvement in the assassination attempts on their respective families, and make a connection through their mutual honesty. Dusk and Rue reminisce about their tryst back when she was a concubine in Gossamer Court, and Dusk offers to show Rue recordings of their encounter as her memories of the event were wiped before leaving Trantor. Riose and Glawen infiltrate Siwenna to meet with the informant Ducem Barr, who reveals information about the 'Magicians', their advanced technology and their connection to the Foundation, though Riose remains skeptical. They escape after a local mob alerted by their presence tries to break in. Barr poisons himself to prevent getting tortured before Riose delivers a coup de grâce. Poly, Constant, and Hober arrive on Terminus, enter the Vault and meet with Hari Seldon, who instructs the clarics to begin peace talks with the Imperium to prevent a war, and gives Mallow a different set of instructions. Hober leaves in their ship with Constant's pet Beki onboard while Poly and Constant stay behind. Sareth employs the service of a palace claviger to inquire into her family's deaths.
155"The Sighted and the Seen"Alex GravesJoelle Garfinkel & Jane EspensonAugust 11, 2023 (2023-08-11)
Hari dreams of Raych, moments before he stabbed Hari on the Deliverance, and awakens aboard the Beggar facing an apparition of Raych, which dissipates after a brief confrontation. Hari, Gaal and Salvor discuss how his organic body came to be before the Beggar enters Ignis' atmosphere, where it is hit by negative ions and crash lands on the planet. Salvor leaves the ship to investigate a possible observer. On Trantor, Sareth manages to access Cleon's bed chamber to discern how he survived the assassination attempt, and during a heated argument with Brother Day, accepts his marriage proposal. Dusk and Rue spend more time reminiscing about their past. Dusk is disturbed by the knowledge of Day's authority to conduct memory audits on him and Dawn. He visits the Memorium with Dawn to inspect their memory hoards. Sareth and Rue while inspecting the memory audit of a caregiver in the Asclepieion, discover Demerzel's robotic nature. Salvor seemingly reunites with Hugo Crast on Ignis, alive despite being presumed dead. Hari though is skeptical of Hugo, who is subsequently revealed to be a telepath, who alongside other telepaths assault the Beggar and capture Salvor, Hari, and Gaal. The trio is brought before the telepaths' leader, Tellem Bond, who reveals Ignis to be a refuge for telepaths or Mentalics, and she already seems aware of their plans for a Second Foundation.
166"Why the Gods Made Wine"Alex GravesStory by : David S. Goyer
Teleplay by : Jane Espenson
August 18, 2023 (2023-08-18)
Salvor wakes up early and walks the beach where she meets a young Mentalic named Josiah, and learns through visions how Tellem saves Mentalics from persecution throughout the galaxy and brings them to Ignis. After Tellem verbalizes her opposition to establishing the Second Foundation on Ignis, Gaal shares her visions of precognition with Tellem, though she refuses to accept the knowledge of an inescapable future. Tellem offers to train Gaal, and offers leadership of the Mentalics after Tellem passes, but gives her the ultimatum of choosing between Hari and the Mentalics. Hari's distrust of Tellem grows. After an argument between Hari, Gaal and Tellem, Hari appears to leave the planet on the Beggar, but in actuality he was captured and restrained in a tidal pool where Tellem plans on killing him. As the water rises and he slowly drowns, Hari is taken back to his past and has visions of his childhood, his early research on Helicon, and his former life partner Yanna, who was carrying their child but died at the hands of the Empire, which was trying to obtain the prototype Radiant. Brother Day introduces his bride-to-be to the people of Trantor, but Sareth upstages him, wins the crowd and leaves Brother Day feeling unsettled. Hober Mallow arrives at the coordinates Hari had given him and finds the Spacer mothership and climbs onboard. Constant and Poly arrive on Trantor on behalf of the Foundation and are arrested shortly after.
177"A Necessary Death"Mark TonderaiEric Carrasco & David KobAugust 25, 2023 (2023-08-25)
Queen Sareth undergoes a mandatory medical inspection to verify her fertility. Due to Sareth's verbal provocations, after the procedure Demerzel insinuates the orchestration of her family's murder, and thus confirms her suspicion of Cleon XVII's involvement. Hober Mallow approaches Empire's navigators, the Spacers, with an offer to free them from their servitude to the Empire by giving them the synthesized micronutrient Opalesk which they are dependent on. After weighing the risks, however, the Spacers reject Hober's offer and turn him over to General Riose. With the help of Beki, Hober escapes from Riose and the Home Swarm on his whisper-ship, while demonstrating Foundation's jump technology. Bel Riose at the behest of his husband debates their options for turning against Empire, but ultimately declares any such action to be too great a risk. Sareth confronts Brother Day with his crimes against her family, and proposes to Dawn that he impregnate her instead of Day. Constant and Poly remain in custody and are finally granted an audience with Empire. Constant unwittingly carries an interface of Hari Seldon, who confronts Empire and unnerves Brother Day, causing him to order a blockade around Terminus. On Ignis, Salvor remains suspicious of the Mentalics' motives and Hari's sudden departure, but her suggestion of leaving Ignis is rejected by Gaal. She continues to investigate and discovers Hari's drowned body, only to get caught by Tellem who after saying that death is necessary at times, renders Salvor unconscious, floating face-down in a pool of seawater.
188"The Last Empress"Roxann DawsonLiz Phang, Addie Manis & Bob OltraSeptember 1, 2023 (2023-09-01)
On Trantor, Brother Dusk catches Enjoiner Rue poking around Demerzel's quarters, which leads to Rue revealing the Cloud Dominion's memory restoration capabilities. This knowledge makes Dusk suspect her possible involvement in the assassination attempt, which Rue promptly denies. Later, while Dusk and Rue are conversing by the Mural of Souls they notice an odd section on the mural but are interrupted by Captain Timandra informing them of the imminent execution of the clarics. Just when Brother Constant is about to die, Hober Mallow's whisper-ship violently appears on the palace platform. Taking advantage of the ensuing chaos, Hober manages to rescue Constant, although Poly is left behind; Brother Day is nearly killed by Beki before she is gunned down. In the immediate aftermath, despite Dusk and Demerzel's stern opposition, but with Sareth's unexpected support, Day decides to visit Terminus and the Foundation. Later, Rue admonishes Sareth over her reckless behavior pertaining to Brother Dawn. On Ignis, while being held captive, Salvor manages to link with Hari Seldon in the Vault via the radiant and he aids her in escaping. At the same time, Gaal is also being held captive by Tellum, who prepares for a ritual to transfer her psyche into Gaal's body, revealing that she has done this before. Constant and Hober (inside the whisper-ship) and Sareth and Dawn (in the heat sinks on Trantor) consummate their respective relationships, while Dusk and Rue discover a passageway behind the mural wall that leads to a hidden chamber, where they are greeted by Cleon I's projection, offering clues about Demerzel's origins.
199"Long Ago, Not Far Away"Roxann DawsonJane Espenson & Eric CarrascoSeptember 8, 2023 (2023-09-08)
Six hundred and ten years in the past, young prince Cleon of the Entung Dynasty stumbles upon a hidden hallway in the palace and arrives at a chamber where he encounters a partitioned Demerzel. She entices the youngster with tales of the robot wars, and over years of repeated visits, placates the adult Cleon's desires via stories. An elderly Cleon finally frees her from 5,000 years of captivity and at her moment of hesitation installs programming that compels her to serve Empire. In the present, after recounting the events of Demerzel's past, Cleon I traps brother Dusk and Rue in the same chamber. On Ignis, Tellem Bond forcibly attempts to transfer her psyche into Gaal, but is interrupted when Salvor rescues Gaal and they flee to the Beggar. On Terminus, Day meets Foundation leadership and proceeds to the Church of Seldon, where upon inspection he angrily proclaims the church to be an armory and orders the priests to be executed. While Riose was planning to board the Invictus, the ship becomes operational and a battle between the imperial fleet and the Foundation ensues. Day enters the vault and meets Seldon, demanding that he denounce psychohistory. When Seldon refuses, Day orders the Invictus to be brought down on the planet. Meanwhile, Hober Mallow and Brother Constant, imprisoned on Riose's ship, are brought to the bridge when Empire boards the vessel after returning from his visit to the surface of Terminus. On Ignis, Salvor fights with Tellum's enforcer Loron and manages to kill him by trapping him in an airlock and venting it. Inside the Beggar, Tellum appears and manages to subdue both Gaal and Salvor, but an unexpectedly still-alive Hari intervenes and kills Tellem. Demerzel abruptly leaves Day on the imperial flagship and heads back to Trantor while the singularity caused by the crashing Invictus destroys Terminus, while a grinning Emperor watches.
2010"Creation Myths"Alex GravesDavid S. Goyer & Liz PhangSeptember 15, 2023 (2023-09-15)
Brother Day orders the imperial fleet to jump to Foundation's allied worlds and destroy them. After Day relieves General Riose of his command when he refuses the order, She-Bends-Light, using a jump sequence smuggled onboard by Hober Mallow, sets the ships to jump into one another, which will inevitably consume the entire fleet and free the remaining Spacers from Empire. Riose throws himself between Day and Hober when Day tries to kill Hober after he reveals the ruse. Their fight ends after Day throws Riose out of an airlock, only to have Riose swap places with him at that moment using Hober's castling device. Knowing they are now trapped on a doomed vessel, after a tearful farewell, Hober puts Constant in a cleaning module and ejects her into space in hope that she'll be rescued. On Trantor, Demerzel returns and confronts the trapped Dusk and Rue. After realizing that their fates are sealed, Dusk unbeknown to Demerzel, marks her neck in green before she reluctantly kills them. After speaking with Demerzel, Dawn realizes what has been unfolding and manages to free the imprisoned Sareth, who is with child, before they escape from Trantor. With all three brothers either gone or dead, Demerzel decants a new one of each and activates the copy of the Prime Radiant given her by Seldon. Near Terminus, Hari's vault pulls Constant's pod inside, where she discovers that it is carrying the entire population of Terminus within (along with Glawen), reuniting her with Poly and her fathers. On Ignis, after Gaal recounts the events to Salvor of how she helped Hari escape from drowning, the trio finds out that up until now, Tellem has been bending all Mentalics to her will, and that her death has freed them. However, before dying, Tellem's psyche had fled into Josiah, who she forces to attempt to assassinate Gaal. Salvor foils the attempt and kills Josiah, but dies taking the shot meant for Gaal. Salvor's death gives Gaal and Hari hope and evidence that the future is not set. They agree to enter cryo-sleep, waking for a short time each year to teach and guide the Second Foundation and prepare them for the battle in the future. One hundred and fifty-two years in the future, a crazed Mule becomes aware of Gaal's presence.





On June 27, 2017, it was reported that Skydance Television was developing a television series adaptation of Isaac Asimov's science fiction book series Foundation with David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman serving as the production's writers. At the time of the report, the production company was in the midst of closing a deal with Asimov's estate for the rights to the book series.[11] On April 10, 2018, it was announced that Apple, through their Worldwide Video Unit, had bought the series and put it into development with the potential for a straight-to-series order. It was further announced that Goyer and Friedman were also expected to serve as executive producers and showrunners. Other executive producers announced included David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross.[12]

On August 23, 2018, it was announced that Apple had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. It was also announced that Asimov's daughter, Robyn Asimov, would serve as an executive producer.[13] On April 18, 2019, Josh Friedman left as co-writer and co-showrunner.[14] On July 28, 2019, it was announced that Troy Studios in Limerick, Ireland, would host production of the show.[15] According to Screen Ireland the series would create more than 500 production jobs at the studio.[16] Asimov's daughter, Robyn Asimov, provides familial assistance to the series.[17] Goyer pitched the series in one sentence: "It's a 1,000-year chess game between Hari Seldon and the Empire, and all the characters in between are the pawns, but some of the pawns over the course of this saga end up becoming kings and queens."[18] On October 7, 2021, Apple TV+ renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on July 14, 2023.[19][20]



In January 2021, Goyer stated "with Foundation we can tell the story, hopefully, over the course of eighty episodes; eighty hours, as opposed to trying to condense it all into two or three hours for a single film".[21] Goyer said that this format might not succeed, but if it did it would be unique.[18] David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman were set as the production's writers; however, Friedman left as co-writer in April 2019.[11][14] Goyer also noted that telling a story that took place over 1,000 years was something a film could not accomplish and would have been a harder story to tell in that format.[18]



Lee Pace and Jared Harris play Brother Day and Hari Seldon, respectively.[22] Lou Llobell stars as Gaal Dornick, a mathematical genius from a rural, repressed aquatic planet. Leah Harvey plays Salvor Hardin, the protective and intuitive warden of a remote outer planet. Laura Birn stars as Demerzel, the enigmatic android aide to the Emperor of the Galaxy. Terrence Mann stars as Brother Dusk, the eldest living member of the ruling family. Cassian Bilton plays Brother Dawn, the youngest living member of the ruling family and next in line to be Brother Day.[23] New characters Brother Day, Brother Dusk, and Brother Dawn are original characters created for the series. Each is a different-aged clone in the "genetic dynasty" of the Emperor Cleon I: the youngest clone is called Dawn, the middle clone and reigning emperor is called Day, and the emperor emeritus is called Dusk.[24] In a June 2021 trailer, Alfred Enoch was announced as part of the cast.[25]

For season two, Isabella Laughland was cast as Brother Constant, along with Sandra Yi Sencindiver, Ella-Rae Smith, Dimitri Leonidas, Ben Daniels, Holt McCallany, Mikael Persbrandt, Rachel House, and Nimrat Kaur.[26] For season three, Alexander Siddig and Troy Kotsur were cast in the roles of Dr. Ebling Mis, a self-taught psychohistorian, and Preem Palver, the leader of a planet of psychics, respectively. Siddig previously appeared in a season one guest role as a different character.[6][8] Additional season three series regulars include Pilou Asbæk (a recast of The Mule), Cherry Jones, Synnøve Karlsen, Cody Fern, Brandon P. Bell, Tómas Lemarquis, Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing and Leo Bill.[10]



On March 12, 2020, Apple suspended production of the show in Ireland due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[27] On October 6, filming was resumed.[28] On January 27, 2021, Goyer announced that after quarantining and receiving special waivers from the government of Malta, cast and crew members were allowed to start filming on the island. Goyer noted some filming was always planned to be conducted in Malta, however, due to new restrictions imposed in London, they moved significant portions of production to Malta.[21] Filming in Malta concluded in February 2021.[29] Filming in Tuineje, Fuerteventura (Canary Islands) was already wrapped by March 2021.[30] The production team worked in volcanic landscapes such as the Caldera de los Arrabales and Granja de Pozo Negro.[31] The production team then moved to Tenerife, where filming resumed on March 22, 2021.[32] Filming concluded in April 2021 after 19 months.[33]

The second season began filming in Prague, Czech Republic, on April 11, 2022.[34]

The third season began filming in late May 2023 in Prague.[35] Filming was halted on July 14, 2023, due to the 2023 Hollywood labor disputes.[36] Production on the third season was expected to resume in Prague in February 2024, but was disbanded once again due to budgetary issues.[37] It was eventually set to resume production by March 6, 2024 in Prague and Poland.[38]


Critical response of Foundation
SeasonRotten TomatoesMetacritic
172% (89 reviews)[39]62 (25 reviews)[40]
2100% (26 reviews)[41]79 (6 reviews)[42]

Season 1


The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 72% approval rating with an average rating of 7.1/10, based on 89 reviews for the first season. The website's critical consensus reads, "Foundation's big-budget production and impressive performances are a sight to behold, but it struggles to wrangle the behemoth that is its source material into a fully satisfying series."[39] Metacritic gave the first season a weighted average score of 62 out of 100 based on 25 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[40]

Nick Allen of considers Foundation to be "the type of sci-fi series that truly warrants being called an event", a "grandiose sci-fi with limits". He writes that the show is "huge in numerous senses", praising its world building as "always impressive with its grandeur that's both practical and also created with IMAX-worthy special effects". He also praised Bear McCreary's score as "essential and so effective in making certain story developments seem larger than life". Allen highlighted Lee Pace's performance as "magnetic". He concludes that the show has a potential to "become another landmark series for Apple TV+", and that its best feature actually is that "it's not for everyone" because "it's fairly set in its pacing that favors heady, dense character building" that will favor subscribers "hungry to enter new sci-fi worlds not just for the action".[43]

Film reviewer Rob Bricken of Gizmodo was less impressed with the series, suggesting that it could be much better, and stating "Honestly, after most of the second episode, the show and the books are pretty much unrecognizable", as well as that the original source material of Foundation may not be filmable after all.[44][45] Judy Berman of Time called the series "gorgeous, expensive, potential-packed but initially quite confusing" and noted "how beautiful every single frame is."[46]

The Verge's Chaim Gartenberg and Andrew Webster weighed in at the end of Season 1, with Gartenberg opining "the 'genetic dynasty' of a succession of Lee Pace's ruling the crumbling empire with an iron fist is the show's highlight, thanks in no small part to Pace's dynamic performances as the cloned Brother Day. And Salvor Hardin's cat-and-mouse game on Terminus with the Anacreons is enjoyable sci-fi fare, too. Meanwhile, the third leg of the story, the prolonged drama of Gaal's shuttling in cryo from place to place as the show hints at her mysterious powers, is... less compelling" and Webster stating that "once all of the initial worldbuilding and discussion of future-predicting math was out of the way in the first few episodes, Foundation really picked up in a lot of ways. The worldbuilding remains incredible throughout. All of the many cultures and planets have a depth to them that is quite frankly astounding."[47]

Season 2


On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 8/10, based on 26 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "With its complicated bedrock now established, Foundation spreads its wings in an improved sophomore season that rewards viewers' patience with a brainy sci-fi epic of genuine grandeur."[41] On Metacritic, it has a weighted score of 79 out of 100 based on 6 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[42]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Art Directors Guild Awards March 5, 2022 Excellence in Production Design for a One-Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Series Rory Cheyne (for "The Emperor's Peace") Nominated [48]
Visual Effects Society Awards March 8, 2022 Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode Chris MacLean, Addie Manis, Mike Enriquez, Chris Keller, Paul Byrne (for "The Emperor's Peace") Won [49][50]
Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project Samuel Simanjuntak, Melaina Mace, Benjamin Ruiz, Alessandro Vastalegna (for Trantor Cityscape) Nominated
Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project Giovanni Casadei, Mikel Zuloaga, Steven Moor, Louis Manjarres (for Collapse of the Galactic Empire) Won
Golden Reel Awards March 13, 2022 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Series 1 Hour – Comedy or Drama – Dialogue and ADR Tyler Whitham, Paul Germann, Dave Rose, Steve Baine (for "The Emperor's Peace") Nominated [51]
American Society of Cinematographers Awards March 20, 2022 Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Motion Picture, Limited Series, or Pilot Made for Television Stevie Annis (for "The Emperor's Peace") Nominated [52]
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards September 3–4, 2022 Outstanding Main Title Design Ronnie Koff, Zach Kilroy, Danil Krivoruchko, James Gardner, Brandon Savoy Nominated [53]
Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Season or a Movie Chris MacLean, Addie Manis, Mike Enriquez, Victoria Keeling, Chris Keller, Jess Brown, Nicholas Hernandez, Richard Clegg Nominated



On June 22, 2020, as part of its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple released a teaser trailer for the series.[54] In February 2021, it was reported that the series would premiere in late 2021.[55] In June 2021, Apple announced that Foundation would premiere in September 2021.[56] Later that month, Apple released a second official trailer and confirmed the premiere date as September 24, 2021. The series premiered with a two-episode release,[57] with the remaining eight episodes scheduled to be released weekly.[58]

The second season premiered on July 14, 2023.[20]



A mobile game based on the series titled, Foundation: Galactic Frontier, is in development from FunPlus and Skydance Interactive.[59]


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  1. ^ Additionally credited as "Sparks & Shadows" during the opening sequence of season two