Review – Fallout Season 1

With the confirmation of Amazon’s latest hit TV series, Fallout, getting itself a second season, we thought it was time to have a quick look at what it is that is fast opening the doors for video game to TV adaptations. A genre finally sharing the quality storytelling that we as gamers have been experiencing for so long to a broader audience it so rightly deserves. 

Warning for slight spoilers for Fallout season 1. I’ll keep it vague….

For those uninitiated, Prime Video’s latest worldwide phenom Fallout is based on Bethesda’s video game series of the same name. I know what you’re thinking, video game adaptations have not been done overly well in the past but stay with us. Fallout the TV series is a stand alone story set within a world created by Bethesda all those years ago.  

200 years have passed since the world was destroyed by atomic war forcing people into underground shelters lined with lead known as “vaults”. Our main protagonist Lucy Maclean (Ella Purnell) has lived her entire life inside vault 33, a life she was looking forward to continuing  after her arranged marriage to a member of an adjoining vault. Unfortunately those plans come crashing down in a flailing of blood, body parts, some destroyed curtains and the kidnapping of her father. Forcing Lucy to break the most sacred of rules and leave the safety of her vault to track down her father on the surface. Without knowing the horrors that await, Lucy and her plucky vault mentality strive forward to an unknown world. 

Fallout does well in standing on its own as a gripping series so if you’re not a gamer or don’t know the lore of the games leave any worries you have behind the first time you hit play. From the very outset a world and story is being built full of interesting characters and intertwining relationships. Fallout makes you ask questions of its characters and their motives while also allowing you to take in the harsh realities of the world around them and what may be waiting just over the next rise. 

Like anything with a pre existing fan base Fallout had the very real chance that it was going to go the same way as so many have before and be a real let down for the “fans”. Thankfully Bethesda was brought in to assist in creating this world and a new story was penned removing the chance of comparisons with those we have spent hundreds of hours with. Fans will notice a multitude of small easter eggs throughout that will have you pointing them out to anyone that will listen, but it is the characters and world creation that steal the show. 

Lucy feels like a new character stepping into the wasteland for the first time. Her relatively unimposing demeanor hides someone with years of survival training and a will to do what is needed to fulfill her mission. Lucy’s “do unto others” attitude and upbringing is a stark contrast to the world above, as her innocence is slowly chipped away; we see a hardened adventurer who has spec’d her perks in the right S.P.E.C.IA.L. order.

Much like the games we have a plethora of side characters to meet and form relationships with. Maximus (Aaron Moten) a squire with The Brotherhood of Steel is dreaming of becoming more and after a fight with a bear is able to step up and take the mantle of Knight, albeit feeling somewhat of an imposter in the armour. Not to be forgotten we have the scene stealing Cooper Howard (Walton Goggins) shadowing Lucy. An ex TV star that was around when the bombs first landed Cooper is now a walking talking ghoul that has been irreversibly altered due to his radiation exposure. Through the use of well timed flash backs we get a decent amount of a background on both Maximus and Cooper but it is Goggins performance as the noseless ghoul and the unsullied golden boy of film Cooper that brings more depth and intrigue to what could have ended up a one dimensional bad guy in the hands of others. 

Fallout is a blast of a TV show that has universal appeal to fans of the Fallout world and newcomers alike. It is a gritty tale filled with intrigue, adventure and an underlining mystery that forces you to look beyond the brutality of a world devoid of order. Action is never far away and gives the over the top and stylised feel the games are known for, without any of the crashes. 

Pacing of the story stumbles occasionally only in a way that made me press stop for the day and come back to finish the next, in a world of binge watching this isn’t a bad thing. 

The creators of Fallout have created a world both bleak and beautiful filling it with well fleshed out characters and a story that has you hooked from the beginning. Its faithfulness to the games is on show in nearly every scene but it doesn’t delve into compulsory nuances for you to get completely invested in the world. 

If you’ve been on the fence I’ll tell you what I’ve told everyone that has asked me about Fallout, knowing I am a gamer. Watch it.. Forget it is based on a game and enjoy being brought into a world gamers have loved for over two decades. 

Fallout is streaming now on Amazon Prime and the whole season is available to watch. Let each episode sink in before you start the next though, you’ll be better for it at the end. 

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