A trifecta of blockbuster Sci-Fi and fantasy shows are scheduled to be coming to your local streaming services this fall. They include adaptations of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation (September, Apple TV), Frank Herbert’s Dune (October, HBO) and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time (November, Amazon) famous books. All three projects will be serialized, allowing for a more in-depth treatment of each work’s original voluminous storylines. Apple is planning on some eighty episodes, to be produced over ten years for the Foundation series. Amazon has produced eight episodes for this season’s showing of the first Wheel of Time novel, Eye of the World. Jordan wrote twelve books in his series, so this project too could run for many years.
Dune, the one that has generated the most buzz of these three projects premiered at Cannes this week, to mixed reviews. It seems to have the highest production values and the most star-studded cast of the three and apparently is also serialized like the other ones. Although this fact wasn’t much heralded and this appears to be the source of most of the complaints. Cannes audience members sat down expecting a complete retelling of the book, but only got to see the first one of who knows how many episodes. They were left hanging after two and a half hours when the movie just stopped. Billed for months as the Dune movie, its onscreen title was Dune: Part One.
Dune has twice before made the leap from the printed page to the screen. David Lynch infamously tried and failed in his camp adaptation of the book. Later the Syfy network was more successful with its miniseries format that was closer to the source material, but never captured the grandeur of the novel. Part of the problem in adapting this work to the screen is the large and unwieldly source material of the book. Lots of introspection doesn’t help any either.
It seems clear to me that all three projects are vying to capture the magic that the Game of Thrones series once wielded. I came late to that series; however I had begun reading George R. R. Martin’s books before the TV series debuted. I actually met him once, when he came to a local Sci-Fi convention. I had become disenchanted with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after having read eleven of his twelve books. They all seemed to repeat the same plot and have similar endings. I’ve read Dune many times, but I have never read Foundation. I tried once or twice, but could never get into it. I already subscribe to all three streaming platforms and look forward to seeing their new offerings. It remains to be seen, if I will have the patience to follow any of them for ten years.