Are you hate-watching Foundation?

It’s not the worst scifi show ever made. It’s worse than that.

Damien Walter
2 min readJun 18, 2023

The argument about Apple TVs streaming adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation is really an argument about what you think science fiction tv shows are for.

If you think scifi shows are about an easy to digest distraction and idle amusement then you might think Foundation is ok. At its best it’s like a weak episode of Star Trek. At its worst its not as bad as Galactica 1980.

But even by the standards of bad scifi tv shows, Foundation is pretty bad.

If you think science fiction is about high concepts and huge storytelling that actually have something to say about our world, Foundation is an utter effing travesty. Imagine a pile of Asimov paperbacks being burned on tv to generate a minor share price boost for Apple corp.

You don’t have to imagine. That’s what Foundation is. It’s not the worst scifi show ever. It’s worse. Foundation is the corporate entertainment industry telling science fiction to stop having ideas and to get back to shaking its dumb ass on a streaming platform near you.

The hate-watch begins 16–07–23

I’m not 100% set on doing the Foundation hate-watch yet. Life is short and I may have better things to do. But assuming I don’t, the hate-watch will start on the Science Fiction channel the same day season 2 of Foundation airs. Subscribe to the channel to hate-watch along…



The makers of Foundation decided to patronize their audience. They decided Issac Asimov’s Foundation was too complex for you to understand, and too political for advertisers to support. So they decided to turn Foundation into a bland generic scifi show that could crank out season after meaningless season and give Apple it’s own corporate entertainment franchise. That bad motivation lead to two major mistakes:

  1. Not having the courage to tell a story that happens over centuries, with a new set of characters in every story arc.
  2. Rejecting the high concepts of Asimov in favor of standard issue adventure plotlines.

I take a deep dive into Asimov’s high concepts, and the beautiful idea of PSYCHOHISTORY in a feature essay on the Science Fiction channel.



Damien Walter

I tell stories about the future, technology and culture. Published by The Guardian, WIRED, BBC etc.