Fallout Season One Review


Fallout Season One

Platform: Amazon Prime
Release Date: 04.10.2024


Adaptations of video games often get a bad rap, generally because they don’t represent what fans like about a property or the property is taken in a direction that doesn’t suit it. A lot could have gone wrong with Amazon Prime’s adaptation of the Fallout series, but it’s abundantly clear that the showrunners put a lot of thought and care into what they have presented to fans of the series. With all eight episodes available to stream, Fallout is a bingeable experience that gets the world and its aesthetic right, and does it with tons of appropriately dark humour.

Taking place two hundred years after the Great War of 2077, and after the events of any of the games, viewers are given a glimpse into an apocalyptic world where many humans took safety in fallout bunkers, known as Vaults. Others, who weren’t so lucky, either died, mutated, or somehow survived the hostile aftermath. Viewers meet Lucy, a vault dweller from Vault 33 who gets married to a resident of Vault 32, only to find that the residents of Vault 32 were slaughtered and taken over by a raider gang and that her husband-to-be is one of them. Lucy’s father is kidnapped during the attack, while the surviving residents of 33 are left to struggle with its aftermath. It’s then that Lucy decides to leave the Vault to find her father, but upon leaving the safety net for the vast wasteland, she ends up with more than she bargained for and must learn to survive on her own. Along her travels, she meets a Ghoul with a mysterious past, and a member of the Brotherhood of Steel who is at a mental crossroads.

Walton Goggins steals the show as The Ghoul.

The story and direction are highly successful at realizing the appeal of Fallout‘s premise and setting. Having Cooper Howard’s story, aka the Ghoul, told between the past and present allows viewers to empathize with his character and understand not only his physical transformation, but the mental one that begins before the bombs drop. Following Maximus’s beginnings before he joins the Brotherhood of Steel, we see his anger at how the world has left him and others behind. We also have Lucy’s naivety and idealism from growing up in a vault and having no true understanding of the real world. Each of the protagonists offers a unique viewpoint in the overall story, and each is interesting to follow.

The acting in the show is also outstanding. Walton Goggins, in particular, steals every scene he is in, whether it’s offering advice to Lucy, or portraying his former life as famed actor Cooper Howard. Some of the best moments are scenes from his past when he starts to realize he no longer wants to be a corporate shill. Ella Purnell does an amazing job as Lucy, playing the part of a plucky heroine who continuously fails her speech checks when attempting to de-escalate a situation. Aaron Moten as Maximus displays the exact kind of raw anger that one needs when they feel like the world has left them behind. He even has some truly hilarious moments that showcase his acting range. Even the secondary guest characters the main cast encounters, from Chris Parnell playing the awkward cyclopic Overseer of Vault 4 to Matt Berry’s perky portrayal of Snip-Snip the Mr. Handy, are chock full of personality and have their unique agendas.

Lucy’s innocence is put to the test.

Fallout is helped by the showrunners understanding the source material well. Bethesda and Obsidian’s Fallout games have strength in environmental storytelling, and the show borrows that element throughout; whether it’s bloody words on the wall or how a corpse or dismantled robot is arranged, the world of Fallout is certainly well lived in, even if the environment itself has been obliterated. The smaller details are respected, like signs for Sunset Sasparillia and the use of the 1950s home aesthetics in the appliances, right down to the retro colour palettes of teals and yellows. Anyone who has played more recent Fallout games can see what set elements were lifted from the games and how they give personality to the overall world. Meanwhile, the show’s soundtrack, scored by Ramin Djawadi, does a phenomenal job of knowing when the show is somber to when it’s high action. Fallout is also known for having excellent use of copyrighted songs, with songs by Johnny Cash, The Ink Spots, and many others being highlighted throughout.

There is a ton of action. Action sequences are fast and furious, with so much happening that it keeps the eyes moving from moment to moment. One of the best action sequences is when Lucy ends up at the Super Duper Mart, only to be attacked by Snip-Snip, looking to harvest her organs for the two burnouts who have turned the supermarket into a Ghoul torture chamber. She frees the captive ghouls only to have them, in true undead fashion, attack anyone and anything living, with fairly gruesome deaths resulting. The gore level and black comedy elements are over-the-top, and for those who are squeamish, there are many instances of missing organs, puke, cannibalism, and animal violence, which is important to know before starting the show.

Even if you are not a Fallout fan, there is an addictive show here. The team behind the series did a fantastic job of bringing this world to life while staying true to the series’ roots. The end of season one has left me with lots of questions, and the many Easter Eggs present throughout have left me and my family members theorizing about what we think could happen next. If you have access to Amazon Prime and are looking for a show full of action and dark humour, Fallout has all of this and more in spades. I cannot wait to see what season two has in store.

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1 Response

  1. SniperOX SniperOX says:

    I never played a Fallout game and don’t plan to. I have the feeling it is one of those RPGs requiring hundreds of hours to be fully completed. Having said that, this review confirms what I keep hearing about the show: it is good. I will likely watch it at some point. Perhaps it will convince me to try a Fallout title.

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