Set more than twenty thousand years in the future, the Foundation novels depict the fall of the Galactic Empire. After twelve millennia of rule, the Empire has become corrupt, decadent and ripe for collapse, a fact not fully appreciated by its rulers. Mathematician Hari Seldon has created a form of statistical analysis he calls "psychohistory," which can predict the future within remarkable degrees of accuracy. Seldon's discovery predicts the collapse of the Empire and thirty thousand years of barbarity. But Seldon believes the interregnum can be reduced to just one millennia if a repository of lore and scientific knowledge is created: a Foundation for the next era of human existence. Much of the tension in the early part of the story comes from those in the Empire who believe Seldon's predictions and want to help him, and those who believe that Seldon is a liar and doom-monger who is bringing about the very apocalypse he has merely predicted.
Asimov started writing the series as a short story sequence in 1942, collecting the original stories and novellas into three fixup novels: Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952) and Second Foundation (1953), collectively known as The Foundation Trilogy. The trilogy sold extremely well and became one of the biggest-selling science fiction series of the age, winning a special "Best Series" Hugo Award in 1966. Asimov only returned to the series with Foundation's Edge (1982) after a publisher offered him a staggering sum of money to do so. The story continued in Foundation and Earth (1986), the chronologically-final Foundation novel. It left the story unresolved, but did reveal that the Foundation universe was the same as the Robots universe, creating a much bigger shared universe spanning more than a dozen novels and twenty thousand years of future history. Asimov struggled to come up with a way of continuing the saga before instead choosing to rewrite a prequel duology about Hari Seldon, comprising Prelude to Foundation (1988) and Forward the Foundation (1993). Asimov died in 1992, shortly after completing Forward the Foundation. Other writers continued the Foundation saga in authorised prequels and sequels of varying quality.
Foundation has been hugely influential on later franchises such as Star Trek and Star Wars; the city-planet of Coruscant in the latter is a nod at the city-planet of Trantor in Foundation.
The Foundation TV series stars Jared Harris as Hari Seldon; Lee Pace as Brother Day, the Emperor of the Galaxy; Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick; Leah Harvey as Salvor Hardin; Laura Birn as Eto Demerzel; Cassian Bilton as Brother Dawn and Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk. The series has been executive produced by David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman and was shot in Limerick, Ireland. The first season will consist of ten episodes. The first season seems to draw on elements in Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation and Foundation, as well as some significant changes to the story (such as the ruling Emperor replacing himself through cloning).