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Foundation (Season Two)

Blog Post #1000 (yay!)

Currently, it is said, filming a third, as yet uncommissioned season, the most complicated science-fiction show you're likely to come across is nearing the end of season two. With it's final episode airing next week, the end of the ten episode run has received more critical praise than the first, despite moving more obviously away from the original source material.

Still a nod to its creator, the great Isaac Asimov, creator of the three laws of robotics, this season still concentrates most of its runtime on the apparently inevitable demise of Empire, it still flits from the struggle of Foundation and the trials of Gaal Dornick, daughter Salvor Hardin and Foundation creator Hari Seldon. Additionally, this spreads itself a little more thinly to include Seldon's followers, in the form of a religious order.

It can't be denied by this reviewer at least, that the draw here is as much as it was previously, that of Dawn, Day and Dusk, three generations of Empire. To explain this much further would ruin the joy, but suffice to say, the story is much more of an onion, though its multitude of levels and unashamed complexity of imagination. Saying this, it is indeed more accessible than the first season, but you would have had to watch the first to make any sense of the second, so you could rightfully ask what the point of making it easier to understand is. The horse, as it were, has already bolted, due to its short attention span. Like explaining calculus to a chicken, perhaps, when it already has trouble with trigonometry.

A fair portion of this season is dedicated to the back story of Empire, and in particular, the mysterious and enigmatic Demerzel, major-domo to Empire , who has been knocking around for literally thousands of years and one of the last surviving androids from the ancient robot wars. This was a welcome storyline that padded out the questions left dangling from Season One. In the penultimate episode of Season Two, we really get the opportunity to understand who she is and what she may want.

To call this demanding is something of an understatement as it requires both a brain to understand and a curiosity to seek. There is literally nothing available in the genre you might hope to find unless in a book or a computer game and it makes no apologies for its challenging content. The performances are often great, even sometimes outstanding, but it is likely that what will bring you back to this every week will be the excellent portrayal of Day, played by Lee Pace and Jared Harris' take on Hari Seldon.

I absolutely loved it and whilst more user-friendly, this is still head and shoulders above most hard science fiction you will be likely to see on screen, until some bright spark finally commits Iain M Banks' Culture series to film. Highly recommended.

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