Fallout Series Review

Fallout Series Review

By Daniel Schwartz


When I read that Amazon was developing a TV series based on the wildly popular video game franchise Fallout, I reacted with equal parts excitement and dread. After all, most video game adaptations, whether movies or TV shows, are generally garbage. Looking back at the trainwrecks that were the original Super Mario Brothers Movie, Street Fighter, and Halo, I had reason to feel concerned. Were they going to take the lore that fans were invested in and ignore it (like the unforgivable sin of Halo having Master Chief remove his helmet), or would they possibly stick so close to the source material that it negatively impacts the story? While there was a lot to be excited about, a lot could go wrong and has seemingly gone wrong with most video game adaptations. I am pleased to say that Fallout falls into none of those traps and delivers a fun and fantastic series!


The story for the 8-episode first season of this new series revolves around three main characters. The first character we are introduced to is The Ghoul’s early, pre-nuke version. I use the term pre-nuke loosely as the nukes fall in his first scene. Following the end of civilization, we are taken a couple hundred years forward and into Vault 33. This is home to the next main character, Lucy. She is a wide-eyed, somewhat (but not totally) naive vault dweller who wants to do her part for the vault. Her catchphrase of “Okee Dokee” sums up her character best. Even when she does not want to, she is willing to do what is needed to help her people. We are then introduced to Maximus. He is a soldier for the Brotherhood of Steel. His goal is to wear the battle armor that his faction possesses, but he has to work his way up slowly. He has to find his way in the world and develop from a weaker victim of bullies to a strong and independent force for good. After we meet Maximus, we return to The Ghoul and follow his unforgiving and brutal path to continue his non-feral existence.  As the three of them navigate the unforgiving (and sometimes hilarious) wasteland, they discover more about themselves and their world than they bargained for. 

Warning: Spoilers and video game references are below!


Any fears that I had before the series was released were assuaged in the first episode. The lore is intact and expanded upon. Not only do we get to see the nukes fall, but we also see the notorious Vault-Tec, what part they played in creating the apocalypse, and what role they are still playing in the ruined world. We also get to see the origin of the Vault-Tec mascot in his iconic thumbs-up pose. We also get a glimpse at some of the factions, such as the Brotherhood of Steel and the New California Republic. There is enough lore in the video games to make for a great story, and the showrunners take full advantage of that. From The Ghoul having fought in the Battle of Anchorage (a major plot point in the games) to (Spoiler Alert) New Vegas and everything in between, there are plenty of Easter Eggs and references for fans of the games to sit and point at the TV like in the Leonardo DiCaprio meme. 


The characters are great. Lucy, Maximus, and The Ghoul are played brilliantly by Ella Purnell, Aaron Moten, and Walton Goggins, respectively. While Ella Purnell’s Lucy appears to be the main character, Walton Goggin’s Ghoul steals the show and chews the scenery every time he is on screen, whether playing The Ghoul or his previous incarnation, actor Cooper Howard. Outside of the main 3, the supporting cast is equally fun. Deadpool fans will recognize Leslie Uggams (Blind Al) as Betty Pearson, the new Vault Overseer with a giant secret to hide. We also see a fun side-adventure where Moises Arias (Norm, Lucy’s brother) and Dave Register (Chet, Lucy’s cousin) try to unlock the mysteries of vaults 31 and 32. Overall, a great cast with plenty of great performances keeps the show going.


The story is fascinating. Starting with a raid of Vault 33, we are kept constantly on our toes as the characters interact with each other and the wasteland. One of the things that good shows do, and this show did, is give some payoff to the viewers. We not only get to learn the horrible truth about who dropped the nukes, but we also get to learn about how Vault-Tec played a role in everything that has happened since. We learn the fate of Lucy’s Mother, what’s in Vault 31, and why the town of Shady Sands (Maximuls’ original home) is now just a giant crater. Not only do fans get those reveals, but new mysteries are uncovered that will lead into the next season and possibly beyond. 

This is one of the first shows I have seen that does not have filler episodes in a long time. Every episode moves the story forward. It is always amazing to me that studios seem to be able to stuff filler episodes into short seasons nowadays, but they seem to be able to do it. Fortunately, Fallout does not fall into that trap. The series seems to also have a little fun with pop culture. When young Maximus is shown surviving the bombing of Shady Sands, he appears to have ridden out the explosion in a refrigerator like Indiana Jones in his terrible movie about aliens. 


I was pleasantly surprised by this show. Not only does it stick close to the source material, but it also manages to tell a cool story and avoid filler episodes. It is one of the best video game adaptations I have ever seen, and I look forward to seeing what happens next season in NEW VEGAS!!!!!

Rating: 4.75 Pastrami Nations out of 5

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