Apple lays Foundation for sci-fi series

LOS ANGELES • Apple hopes to get a big lift-off, launching Isaac Asimov's influential Foundation science-fiction novels - about the collapse and resurgence of a galactic empire - as a television drama series.

The move is the latest from the iPhone maker to acquire original programming as it seeks to rival established frontrunners such as Netflix, HBO and Amazon.

It is not known yet if Apple will distribute the show through its own iTunes Store, where it sells shows and films by other companies, or on another platform.

David Goyer, screenwriter of blockbusters The Dark Knight (2008) and Batman Begins (2005), and Josh Friedman, writer of Steven Spielberg's 2005 sci-fi adaptation War Of The Worlds, have been charged with bringing Asimov's work to the television screen.

Hollywood's attempts over the past two decades to bring the Russian-American author and scientist's saga of humans living on planets scattered throughout the Milky Way galaxy to either TV or the big screen have yet to come to fruition.

The Foundation series began as several short stories published between 1942 and 1950, and was later developed into a trilogy of novels published from 1951 to 1953.

It won a Hugo Award, the top prize for science fiction and fantasy writing, in 1966 as best all-time series.

Industry pundits said the Foundation stories have proven a nightmare to bring to the screen because the sprawling epic plays out in several different time periods, with the resulting problem of deciding on which characters to dwell on for maximum impact.

Asimov's stories are also male-centric and any adaptation today will have to take into account the current sentiments favouring diversity and gender fair play.

Apple, meanwhile, is not putting all its apples in one basket.

It has already ordered two seasons of a drama about a morning TV programme starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, as well as a remake of Spielberg's 1980 sci-fi anthology series Amazing Stories.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2018, with the headline 'Apple lays Foundation for sci-fi series'. Print Edition | Subscribe