asimov's foundation


Television

The Exchange

HBO looking to game of thrones the hell out of it


I... oh, wow... I don't know how I feel.

I believe what I am feeling now is the very definition of ambivalent.


Te'Shen wrote:

I... oh, wow... I don't know how I feel.

I believe what I am feeling now is the very definition of ambivalent.

Meh.


Yeah, somehow I can't really see this being done well.

It could be really cool, but they'd really have to stay true to the source and not "game of thrones the hell out of it". No sex. Little violence. Most of the conflict being large waves of historical forces playing out.

Alternately they could start with the later written books focusing on Seldon's life. At least that way they wouldn't be screwing up a classic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't see how Foundation could appeal to SyFy's audience.. there's a definite lack of explosions, and boob babes in the story. It's like many of Asimov's stories it's a thinking person's story and thus of litle appeal to the modern sci-fi audience.


LazarX wrote:
I don't see how Foundation could appeal to SyFy's audience.. there's a definite lack of explosions, and boob babes in the story. It's like many of Asimov's stories it's a thinking person's story and thus of litle appeal to the modern sci-fi audience.

I'm not actually sure that's true. Or at least that "modern" makes a difference. It certainly doesn't appeal to what television executives tend to think there audience is, but that's a slightly different thing.

I fully expect the TV version to have plenty of explosions and boobs.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:

I'm not actually sure that's true.

After seeing how DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise boosted their ratings by putting a woman in a cat suit, I present all the proof needed.


Personally, I think that there's room for babes in the "Foundation" saga. Many characters in the earlier novellas could be made female and pretty without messing up the story at all. In fact, I always thought that the missionary in part 5 ("The Merchant Princes") SHOULD have been an attractive woman.

The Merchant Princes:
Then it would seem more shocking when Hober Mallow turned her in to the Korrellian authorities.
And of course, there's Bayta Darell and Arkady.

On the other hand, throwing in lots of battles will ruin the series. Oh, there's the wars in Anacreon in the second novella ("The Encyclopedists"), but a lot of focus on that stuff would detract from the story. The scene in part 3 ("The Mayors") where Wienis...

The Mayors:
...commits suicide...
...would be cool to see, but it's just one brief moment. (By the way, Weinis' name should be changed.) The final novella ("Search By the Foundation") has a space battle, but it's just not enough to carry a TV series.

Yeah, all the action that would have to be added to get audiences is going to kill this thing.

(EDIT: added spoiler tags)


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Could have been worse. How about Michael Bay?


I think the foundation series could be GREAT...and if HBO makes it, could be a sole reason for me subscribing.

Just like I love Black Sails. (Edit, which is NOT HBO...just in case anyone was suddenly wondering).

HOWEVER...I don't see Foundation doing well or going over well with me and what I would see as much of the core audience if they bombard it with sex and nudity ala Game of Thrones. GoT has stuff in the books already, whereas, Foundation...really isn't that type of series.

They might spice it up a little with action and romance, but they don't need to do a GoT treatment of it. No need for massive space battles and such...but maybe more intrigue and suspense type action (ala Sherlock Holmes or maybe Doctor Who...Torchwood at the worst...though that may be a tad much there).

However, if they keep it a PG-13 level...and somehow keep the spirit of it...I'm completely in with it!!

The Exchange

Mostly I feel that this is a demonstration of opportunity cost. Maybe they can make something good out of the Foundation series, but... aren't there a hundred other SF series that are more interesting AND would work better as TV adaptations?

Quote:
I don't see how Foundation could appeal to SyFy's audience..

Weird thing is, this isn't SyFy, this is HBO.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:

Mostly I feel that this is a demonstration of opportunity cost. Maybe they can make something good out of the Foundation series, but... aren't there a hundred other SF series that are more interesting AND would work better as TV adaptations?

Quote:
I don't see how Foundation could appeal to SyFy's audience..
Weird thing is, this isn't SyFy, this is HBO.

The SyFy channel's "thing" used to be as a gathering for scifi shows and fans. Then they became the Wrestling channel, then they changed their name to make it easier for people to text about the channel while they rammed their cars into folks crossing the street.

In the meantime other channels are taking the sci-fi flag while SyFy struggles to keep itself relevant. So it seems to me out of desperation they are grabbing titles designed to appeal to the old school greybeards like me while forgetting what it takes to keep a cable channel of any kind relevant, but especially a channel devoted to science fiction... breaking new ground with today's generation. There has to be better material more suited for the present age, than some rusty novels that hardly anyone reads any more.


LazarX wrote:
. . . There has to be better material more suited for the present age, than some rusty novels that hardly anyone reads any more.

Except you'd have to pay for those. If it's old enough, or if the family doesn't manage properties well enough, it's dirt cheap to use older properties.

You can also put your own spin on it with less people complaining... because it is old. It's possible a big chunk that would care are dead or don't remember it well anyway...


Te'Shen wrote:
LazarX wrote:
. . . There has to be better material more suited for the present age, than some rusty novels that hardly anyone reads any more.

Except you'd have to pay for those. If it's old enough, or if the family doesn't manage properties well enough, it's dirt cheap to use older properties.

You can also put your own spin on it with less people complaining... because it is old. It's possible a big chunk that would care are dead or don't remember it well anyway...

I don't think any of that applies to Foundation.

The Exchange

LazarX wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:

Mostly I feel that this is a demonstration of opportunity cost. Maybe they can make something good out of the Foundation series, but... aren't there a hundred other SF series that are more interesting AND would work better as TV adaptations?

Quote:
I don't see how Foundation could appeal to SyFy's audience..
Weird thing is, this isn't SyFy, this is HBO.

The SyFy channel's "thing" used to be as a gathering for scifi shows and fans. Then they became the Wrestling channel, then they changed their name to make it easier for people to text about the channel while they rammed their cars into folks crossing the street.

In the meantime other channels are taking the sci-fi flag while SyFy struggles to keep itself relevant. So it seems to me out of desperation they are grabbing titles designed to appeal to the old school greybeards like me while forgetting what it takes to keep a cable channel of any kind relevant, but especially a channel devoted to science fiction... breaking new ground with today's generation. There has to be better material more suited for the present age, than some rusty novels that hardly anyone reads any more.

Well, Syfy are on the highway to being an actual SF channel, and if they can pull off even half of the ambitious shows they have lined up for the next few years, no reasonable person will have much to complain about. Of course, this is all a speculation about the future based on the present, which I do find appropriate when discussing SF ;)

I do agree, however, that the Foundation does not seem to be a very good choice to base a TV series off.

Tangentially, I wonder if Foundation is one of those shows that George Martin helped HBO do in his role as a consultant . I mean, they did hire him, and we have yet to hear anything about that in a long time, so it seems to make sense.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:

I do agree, however, that the Foundation does not seem to be a very good choice to base a TV series off.

Tangentially, I wonder if Foundation is one of those shows that George Martin helped HBO do in his role as a consultant . I mean, they did hire him, and we have yet to hear anything about that in a long time, so it seems to make sense.

The fact that they chose Foundation seems to indicate that they took a bunch of famous book lists from one of those Book a Month club and threw darts to select a few.

And I can't see what George Martin would bring to such a production. Anyone who imagines that Foundation is ANYTHING like Throne Fight (which is what Game of Thrones is called in Hungary), truly does not know the material.


thejeff wrote:
Te'Shen wrote:
LazarX wrote:
. . . There has to be better material more suited for the present age, than some rusty novels that hardly anyone reads any more.

Except you'd have to pay for those. If it's old enough, or if the family doesn't manage properties well enough, it's dirt cheap to use older properties.

You can also put your own spin on it with less people complaining... because it is old. It's possible a big chunk that would care are dead or don't remember it well anyway...

I don't think any of that applies to Foundation.

*Ehhehmmm* (clears throat dramatically.)

This is a couple of dates for a few stories from the first list I found, and the compiler of the list admits some of the dates are off because of difference of completion and publication dates...

Foundation Gnome Press, 1951
Foundation and Empire Gnome Press, 1952
Second Foundation Gnome Press, 1953
The Caves of Steel Doubleday, 1954
The Naked Sun Doubleday, 1957

Combine that with...

Quote:

. . .

Effect of 1976 Act on Length of Subsisting Copyrights
The 1976 Copyright Act carried over the system in the 1909 Copyright Act for computing copyright duration for works protected by federal statute before January 1, 1978, with one major change: the length of the renewal term was increased to 47 years. The 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act increased the renewal term another 20 years to 67 years. Thus the maximum total term of copyright protection for works already protected by January 1, 1978, has been increased from 56 years (a first term of 28 years plus a renewal term of 28 years) to 95 years (a first term of 28 years plus a renewal term of 67 years). Applying these standards, all works published in the United States before January 1, 1923, are in the public domain. . . .

It would depend on if all the proper renewal procedures were followed. It would even be possible for Foundation to have lapsed in 1979 before some of the alterations to law went into effect, though I don't actually think that is the case here.

I'm not saying is necessarily but could... which when you think about all the scifi that's been made, I'm relatively certain that some of the work from around the same time period of Asimov isn't protected. Asimov got pretty savvy with publishing. Not everyone had his experience.

Edit: If I were wealthy and wanted to translate an old scifi book series to film, I'd probably jump on The Lensman series.


As you say, Asimov was pretty savvy. All his stuff is still in copyright. So it doesn't apply to Foundation.

It could apply to other works published around the same time, but it doesn't to the Foundation series.

Nor Lensman, I believe. Though that could make an awesome series if done well. You might have to file some of the 50's sexism off, which might be trickier than it sounds.

The Exchange

LazarX wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:

I do agree, however, that the Foundation does not seem to be a very good choice to base a TV series off.

Tangentially, I wonder if Foundation is one of those shows that George Martin helped HBO do in his role as a consultant . I mean, they did hire him, and we have yet to hear anything about that in a long time, so it seems to make sense.

The fact that they chose Foundation seems to indicate that they took a bunch of famous book lists from one of those Book a Month club and threw darts to select a few.

And I can't see what George Martin would bring to such a production. Anyone who imagines that Foundation is ANYTHING like Throne Fight (which is what Game of Thrones is called in Hungary), truly does not know the material.

I wonder if you know that other than writing A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin is also the author of several stand alone books and dozens of short stories, and that's before you start counting his work as an editor. He won all sorts of fancy awards long before he thought of the name John Snow, and many of them were SF. Martin knows his stuff about the genre, and I'm sure his advice could be very helpful in any SF/F or horror show.


thejeff wrote:

As you say, Asimov was pretty savvy. All his stuff is still in copyright. So it doesn't apply to Foundation.

It could apply to other works published around the same time, but it doesn't to the Foundation series.

Nor Lensman, I believe. Though that could make an awesome series if done well. You might have to file some of the 50's sexism off, which might be trickier than it sounds.

So many liberties were taken with the Lensman anime that the Smith estate has refused all adaptations since.


Grey Lensman wrote:
thejeff wrote:

As you say, Asimov was pretty savvy. All his stuff is still in copyright. So it doesn't apply to Foundation.

It could apply to other works published around the same time, but it doesn't to the Foundation series.

Nor Lensman, I believe. Though that could make an awesome series if done well. You might have to file some of the 50's sexism off, which might be trickier than it sounds.

So many liberties were taken with the Lensman anime that the Smith estate has refused all adaptations since.

That... that is depressing. At least I've seen some of the books in reprints recently.

Given what you can do with contractual agreements, I'm surprised they don't give it another shot and move aggressively for an advisory role with veto powers... then again, not everyone is willing to spend that much time defending Uncle/Cousin/Granddad's work.


I have mixed feelings about this. As a long time fan of Asimov's work, particularly the Foundation series, I hope it will be glorious and dread it will be the sort of utter disaster that comes through "adaptation"... Perhaps some things are better left untouched?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Almost 70 years after publication, the Foundation future setting has become quirky in some ways. We have already surpassed Foundation-tech in some areas (computers, for example) while other setting elements have turned from cool innovations to pedestrian SF tropes.

It occurs to me that embracing that cultural change through wardrobe, styling, and background -- giving the Foundation setting a deliberate Sputnik-era feel -- might be appropriate.


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Quote:
Could have been worse. How about Michael Bay?

No word of a lie, the person who was working on the project before HBO swooped in and bought the rights was Roland Emmerich (INDEPENDENCE DAY, 2012, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, the 1998 GODZILLA movie etc).

Quote:
Well, Syfy are on the highway to being an actual SF channel, and if they can pull off even half of the ambitious shows they have lined up for the next few years, no reasonable person will have much to complain about. Of course, this is all a speculation about the future based on the present, which I do find appropriate when discussing SF ;)

Some of those projects seem interestingly weird, like ASCENSION. THE EXPANSE looks really, really good and it helps that it much more readily adapts to TV than other SF book series. And CHILDHOOD'S END and RINGWORLD will work as long as they stick closer to the books and don't try to wreck everything.

Quote:
Tangentially, I wonder if Foundation is one of those shows that George Martin helped HBO do in his role as a consultant . I mean, they did hire him, and we have yet to hear anything about that in a long time, so it seems to make sense.

It's possible he might take a look at the scripts or something, but Martin is not a huge Asimov fan. Of the Big Three, his favourite was by far Heinlein, and then his next favourite SF author was Zelazny. Actually, his favourite author of all time was Jack Vance. So if Martin was going to throw some classic SF at HBO, it'd be more likely something like DYING EARTH, DEMON PRINCES, THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, STARSHIP TROOPERS (the rights have to have expired on that by now, right?), THE CHRONICLES OF AMBER or LORD OF LIGHT.

I think what Martin was more involved in discussing with HBO (speculation only, no inside knowledge here) was his own projects. A TUF VOYAGING series was definitely discussed, but my personal guess is that HBO wants the WILD CARDS franchise. SyFy's option on it can't have much longer to run and then I'd be shocked if HBO didn't swoop on WILD CARDS like a bird of prey. Superheroes (remember that HBO's mission is to try something in every single genre), sex, messed-up and morally dubious characters and period piece flashbacks? HBO would be lunatics if they didn't grab it. It's right up their street.


I sort of wonder if there might not be a secretive bidding war going on for Wild Cards. With the popularity of Shared Universes right now, its obvious low hanging fruit for any studio wanting their own Superhero franchise, especially with DC and Marvel properties locked down tight.


Werthead wrote:


I think what Martin was more involved in discussing with HBO (speculation only, no inside knowledge here) was his own projects. A TUF VOYAGING series was definitely discussed

Wow. I'm not sure why I never realized that Martin also wrote one of my favorite SF series!

That IS one series I'd love to see.

The Exchange

Quote:
It's possible he might take a look at the scripts or something, but Martin is not a huge Asimov fan. Of the Big Three, his favourite was by far Heinlein, and then his next favourite SF author was Zelazny. Actually, his favourite author of all time was Jack Vance. So if Martin was going to throw some classic SF at HBO, it'd be more likely something like DYING EARTH, DEMON PRINCES, THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, STARSHIP TROOPERS (the rights have to have expired on that by now, right?), THE CHRONICLES OF AMBER or LORD OF LIGHT.

Well, didn't know all that about Martin, and for some reason I thought that the Wild Card rights are not opening up soon, so I assumed Martin was doing something else. I don't really see Tuf working in an HBO frame, but yeah Wild Cards will be great for them.


Studio Exec: "I don't understand it. People are all gaga over fantasy crap these days. Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings... we need one, right now -- and the longer it is, the better!"

Lawyer: "We might be able to get the rights to this guy Asimov's Foundation, whatever that is."

Gofer: "Um, that's science fiction, not fantasy."

Exec: "It's all geek crap. What the hell's the difference?"

Gofer: "Wizards vs. spaceships, dude."

Lawyer: "I understand the Battlestar Galactica franchise reboot was quite successful..."

Exec: "Exactly! All that geek crap. Get it!"


The follow up to that IS:

Exec: "So, our market research shows clearly that we need to keep our focus on sex, drugs, and violence. Make it so."


Sissyl wrote:

The follow up to that IS:

Exec: "So, our market research shows clearly that we need to keep our focus on sex, drugs, and violence. Make it so."

Commander William T. Riker: I wouldn't mind the assignment, sir.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Any particular reason?
Commander William T. Riker: Because nobody's ever done it [right] before.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:
Quote:
It's possible he might take a look at the scripts or something, but Martin is not a huge Asimov fan. Of the Big Three, his favourite was by far Heinlein, and then his next favourite SF author was Zelazny. Actually, his favourite author of all time was Jack Vance. So if Martin was going to throw some classic SF at HBO, it'd be more likely something like DYING EARTH, DEMON PRINCES, THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, STARSHIP TROOPERS (the rights have to have expired on that by now, right?), THE CHRONICLES OF AMBER or LORD OF LIGHT.
Well, didn't know all that about Martin, and for some reason I thought that the Wild Card rights are not opening up soon, so I assumed Martin was doing something else. I don't really see Tuf working in an HBO frame, but yeah Wild Cards will be great for them.

Wild Cards would be problematic do to the sheer number of authors you'd have to negotiate with rights from as well as the copyright status of the work itself.


Quote:
Wild Cards would be problematic do to the sheer number of authors you'd have to negotiate with rights from as well as the copyright status of the work itself.

Nope, it's all covered. Martin was working in Hollywood at the time so made sure the series could be adapted if necessary. The WILD CARDS Consortium (which consists of all the 20-odd authors who have written stories) jointly owns the work and the copyrights, and Martin and I believe Melinda Snodgrass have controlling votes in the Consortium.

The main deal is that I think authors' characters can only be used by other authors with their permission. Zelazny gave that before he passed away so his characters can still show up.

The rights to the series have been bought before and are now with SyFy, who I think are only a few months away from losing them. If they go, I fully 100% expect HBO to make a play for them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Grey Lensman wrote:
thejeff wrote:

As you say, Asimov was pretty savvy. All his stuff is still in copyright. So it doesn't apply to Foundation.

It could apply to other works published around the same time, but it doesn't to the Foundation series.

Nor Lensman, I believe. Though that could make an awesome series if done well. You might have to file some of the 50's sexism off, which might be trickier than it sounds.

So many liberties were taken with the Lensman anime that the Smith estate has refused all adaptations since.

By liberties, are they referring to the Japanese Anime, or Green Lantern?

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