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April 11, 2024 / Prime Video

Starring: Ella Purnell, Walton Goggins, Aaron Moten, Moisés Arias, Kyle MacLachlan, Sarita Choudhury, Michael Emerson, Leslie Uggams, Frances Turner, Dave Register

Executive Producers: Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Graham Wagner, Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy

Based on one of the greatest video game series of all time, Fallout is the story of haves and have-nots in a world in which there’s almost nothing left to have. Two-hundred years after the apocalypse, the gentle denizens of luxury fallout shelters are forced to return to the irradiated hellscape their ancestors left behind—and are shocked to discover an incredibly complex, gleefully weird, and highly violent universe waiting for them.

Written By Darren Zakus

Rating 4 out of 5

Fallout kicks off a grand epic series based on the beloved video game series that is full of outstanding world building, danger, excitement and shocking moments that makes for one wildly entertaining binge.

With the recent success of the Sonic the Hedgehog films, The Super Mario Bros. Movie and HBO’s The Last of Us, there has been a renewed interest in adapting popular video game franchises for the screen. And while it has been in development long before the success of these other properties, Amazon Prime Video’s latest tentpole series is another video game adaptation that is sure to be a hit amongst fans of the video game series and viewers looking for a new science fiction show to watch. It comes as no surprise with Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy behind the series, having created Westworld which is one of the best and most underseen television series of the past decade. Their intelligent and inventive style of storytelling perfectly blends with the bonkers, violent and offbeat craziness of the Fallout video game series, resulting in one riveting series that is sure to captivate viewers over its eight episode first season.

Immediately, it is evident that the highlight of Westworld is the world building that happens over the course of the world. This alternate version of America, itself a victim of atomic warfare, is brought to life by wonderful set design that truly brings to life the world of the show. It feels like a secondary character at times as the sets each have a unique feel to them, helping to inform the audience of each of the different settings and their associated dangers within this world. The visual effects and CGI used to bring to life the science fiction elements are outstanding, proving that Amazon spared no expense in this show’s production, while an emphasis on practical effects for many of the creatures and where possible is greatly appreciated. It all comes together to give a true sense of wonder and danger to everything that the audience and characters experience, only elevated by a great array of 1950s music from the pre atomic explosion timeline and an excellent musical score from Ramin Djwadai. In terms of scale, you will be hard pressed to find another new series as inventive and wonderful as Fallout.

Adaptations of video games work best when they aren’t married to the story of the games, but instead build a familiar yet distinct story set in that same world, and that is what Nolan and Joy have done here. The series depicts an atomic war savaged America and follows an eclectic group of individuals as a new threat emerges. While the story starts off slow, carefully laying the groundwork for individual character arcs and different plot threads, once the story hits the midpoint of the season, all of the plot threads begin to tie themselves together and the story takes off at lightning pace. Nolan and Joy, using a similar story telling structuring technique to what they did in Westworld, build the two timelines in the story towards an exciting, shocking season finale that will leave viewers stunned and eagerly awaiting the already confirmed second season. But what makes the show truly unique is its tone. While there is an underlying danger to the show that fits this epic science fiction tale that unfolds, it has a dark, offbeat comedic tone with outrageous and almost cartoonish gore throughout that connects with the inner teenager in viewers, making for one fun adventure to watch unfold.

Leading the series is Ella Purnell and Walton Goggins as Lucy MacLean and Cooper Howard/The Ghoul respectively, each giving terrific performances. Purnell proves herself a magnificent lead as Lucy, capturing the awestruck wonder of Lucy seeing the surface world for the first time after living in the Vaults her entire life. The sweetness, naiveness and trusting that Purnell instills in Ella sets up a great character arc as you watch the Wasteland change her, hardening her and making a true heroine out of her over the course of the series. Goggins continues to prove himself an incredible character actor in the dual roles of Cooper, pre the atomic bomb detonation, and The Ghoul after the detonation. As The Ghoul, there is a vile wickedness that Goggins flexes, calling back to The Man in Black from Westworld, which makes for one excellent antihero figure. In the pre-bomb timeline, Goggins is compelling as Cooper as he begins to find his place in the world so afraid of atomic attack, creating a sympathetic family man that you can’t help but question how he turned into this vile character in the other storyline. When combined, it creates one compelling character arc for his character over the course of the season, allowing Goggins to give the series’ best performance. As for the supporting cast, ranging from supporting actors over the course of the season like Aaron Moten, Moises Arias, and Leslie Uggams, or more limited roles with veteran actors like Kyle MacLachlan and Sarita Choudhury, there is not a weak performance in sight, but the show belongs to Goggins and Purnell.

There is so much to admire about Fallout as a television series, as it is not only pure entertainment that is going to delight both fans of the video games and newcomers to the franchise, but it’s another great science fiction television show for fans to devour. While the world building through the incredible set design and visual effects will no doubt draw viewers into the post apocalyptic future depicted in this show, it is the mysterious storyline that builds towards a thrilling season finale that sets up an explosive second season that will make the show a hit from Amazon Prime Video. Carried by two compelling and captivating lead performances from Ella Purnell and Walton Gogins, Fallout is a spectacle filled, often hilarious, wacky and totally addictive adventure through a dangerous, post apocalyptic world that is the perfect example of highly entertaining big budget television.

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