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  • Writer's pictureAntal Bokor

Fallout is a Surprisingly Great TV Adaptation

Superhero media might be on the way out, but don't fret about having nothing to watch: video game movie and TV shows are starting to take their place. A few years ago it would have been hard to find a good video game adaptation, and a decade ago it was impossible. Now series like The Last of Us are bringing in numbers that will inevitably bring in those trying to follow that success. Fallout began production too early to be accused of following the newest trend, but another great adaptation that adds to the argument.

Unlike The Last of Us, however, Fallout isn’t a retelling of a story that was already told in-game. Rather, much like a tie-in, Fallout is its own story. In fact, it’s a continuation of the game’s narrative, technically tacking place after Fallout 4–which is the game’s last mainline title. And the actions in the TV show have an impact on the world of Fallout.

You don’t necessarily need knowledge of Fallout’s lore, but it really helps. It feels like Fallout isn’t really made for a general audience. Instead it was made for those who already have a familiarity with the games. Factions, concepts, technologies and more are all thrown out at the viewer with little to no explanation. Some of the things that are shown are self explanatory, even if they’re a bit strange. 

But if you are a fan of the Fallout games, there will be plenty that you’ll find here. In fact, everything looks the way it should. Even the impossibly bulky power armor retains its video game look. And while it would have been easy to get some mid mod furniture and call it a day, there are all sorts of little nuances and easter eggs that make repeat viewings almost an inevitably.

Fallout follows doe-eyed Lucy (Ella Purnell) who sports a strong can-do attitude and the requisite skills (and luck) to see her through some horrific circumstances. Raised from birth to live in underground Vault 33, she has a squeaky clean demeanor and a positive outlook on life foisted on her by her father, Vault Overseer Hank McClean (Kyle McClaughlin). They have an unusual three vault system, where they trade members between vaults to keep the population viable. During one such exchange, raiders get into Vault 33, killing indiscriminately, and taking Lucy’s father hostage. Lucy has to go against the wishes of the Vault and brave the wastelanders to get him back, and in so doing she’ll discover the dark truth.

Lucy meets a whole range of characters in her journey. Notably: The Ghoul (played by actor Walter Goggins)–a prewar, post celebrity who has an understandably nihilistic outlook on life, and Maximus (Aaron Moten), a Brotherhood of Steel Squire who watches his Knight die so he can steal his Power Armor. None of the people in the show are innocent, and most of them make incredibly dumb decisions.

But making dumb decisions is a staple of Fallout. Not just by individual characters, but by the world at large. 

One of the main themes throughout the show is that everyone has their own ideas on how to save the world. In fact, this is in brutal display during a fateful meeting with Vault Tech and CEOs of other prominent corporations who have their own ideas of what a post war civilization should look like. And it answers a deep question that has been around since the beginning of the series: what is the purpose of the vaults? There’s even an origin story for the famous Vault Boy–not that one was needed, but I didn’t hate how it ended up.

Each of the games in the Fallout universe had similar stakes to the TV show. But none of them had so many revelations–and these were revelations that didn’t have to be earned by lockpicking or hacking terminals. I don’t know if this is necessarily a criticism, but I hope that the TV show will be the catalyst for major change in the greater Fallout universe. With the glimpse of New Vegas–and a cool deathclaw tease–we will see what the next chapter of Fallout has in store. Even if it isn’t renewed as a TV show, I have a feeling that the story will continue in some capacity.

But I would love to see season two of Fallout. I have seen some comparisons online to the other popular Amazon Prime show The Boys–and they’re not too far off. Fallout features a mix of serious and absurd, punctuated by some seriously gnarly gore. But none of it feels out of place in Fallout’s absurd and gritty world, never straying too far into farce.

Fallout even manages to touch on aspects of the video game’s gameplay that I really enjoy like exploring derelict vaults to find their dark secrets. There’s even a terminal hacking scene that looks straight out of the games but fits right into the context of the show. 

While the Fallout games have given you some glimpse of prewar life–with Fallout 4 even giving you a chance to play a prewar character as the bombs fall–we never got too much of a look at pre war life until the TV show. In fact, the TV show alternates between the past and the future, showing how events unfolded. There is also a side plot with the goings on in Vault 33 post attacks–and the secret its companion vaults are hiding.

I don’t know if there will be a season two of Fallout, but I really hope there will be. This show was like candy to this long time Fallout fan. Maybe we’ll get a tie-in with a new Fallout game–but with nothing announced or on the near horizon, that would be too long for me to wait. In the meantime, you can check out Fallout 4’s next gen update which is finally coming out later this month.

Fallout is available to stream on Amazon Prime now.



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