Fallout season 1

Executive Producers: Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy
Executive producers, writers and co-showrunners: Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner
Streaming on: Prime Video

While this review avoids spoilers, all 8 episodes of Fallout season 1 were watched for review.

Ella Purnell (Lucy) in “Fallout”

In Fallout season 1, the charming cast is subjected to a horrifying pastiche of post-nuclear apocalyptic scenarios. But whether or not you think you’ve seen this sort of story before, Fallout on Prime Video manages to provide a novel experience that people are sure to be talking about. 

Welcome to Post-Nuclear LA

First, a word on my perspective: I’ve never played a Fallout game (make mine Nintendo). However, I am of a certain age and have spent time on the internet. As a result, I was already aware of many of the trappings of the game through cultural osmosis. Plus, the game’s post-apocalyptic/throwback-branding aesthetic was intriguing enough to warrant an occasional wiki dive in search of more details regarding what the game was all about.

That aesthetic is wholly intact in the Prime Video adaptation, and it’s just as effective as ever. Combined with the desertified ruins of Los Angeles, it creates a world that serves as an endlessly intriguing backdrop. 

Several times I was compelled to freeze frame on the detailed, skeleton-strewn ruins, especially when they depicted locations which I have actually visited. Meanwhile, the Vaults and their associated uniforms and branded technology offer an uncanny compliment to the wasteland, like the nightmare version of the Dharma Initiative.

Power Suit

And finally, the depiction of the power armor and its associated weaponry and transportation equipment is well-executed and believable. Furthermore, while the armor does provide an insurmountable upper hand in battle, it isn’t a guaranteed victory, and the consequences of these shortcomings make for some very compelling scenes.

The Survivors

One element unique to the Prime Video adaptation, however, is the stellar cast. Both the main characters and the guest stars deliver excellent performances, making it easy to get invested in each of the many different ongoing subplots.

Walton Goggins (The Ghoul)

It goes without saying that Walton Goggins is, as always, imminently watchable, even when he’s virtually unrecognizable. And while I was already prepared for Ella Purnell thanks to her voice over work on Star Trek: Prodigy, you can expect to be blown away by her performance if you’re unfamiliar with her. Rounding out the main cast, Aaron Moten imbues his performance with warmth and innocence, providing a fascinating depth to a character who could have been one-note.

Power Suit and Aaron Moten (Maximus) in “Fallout”

And the supporting cast is fantastic as well. Moisés Arias is well cast in a classic genre role that could have easily fallen flat in less competent hands, and plays well against Dave Register, who is kind of a Vault-dwelling George Michael Bluth. Michael Emerson is reliable as ever, as are Leslie Uggams and Sarita Choudhury. Plus: Kyle MacLachlan (no further elaboration required).

As alluded to above, the misadventures to which these characters are subjected are myriad, and at times, outright bizarre.

However, the cast grounds these storylines with their performances, making each episode more intriguing than the last. And further, many of the setpieces will send viewers scurrying to social media to share their reactions to what they’ve just seen.

Fallout season 1

To really succeed, a streaming series adapted from a video game must appeal to those who are unfamiliar with the game. As one such individual, I found Fallout to be entirely engaging in spite of my ignorance.

Ella Purnell, Michael Emerson, Dale Dickey

However, I am especially curious to read reviews and hear opinions from those who are deeply familiar with the 25-year old video game franchise, so as to see how people from that perspective feel about the show.

Fallout season 1 was an excellent overture, but I’m hoping well get at least more season to explore the world and further flesh out the appealing characters introduced in these eight episodes. And while the class stratification we see in this season is interesting, I hope the next season digs even deeper into these themes.

While it’s easy to compare many of the elements of the show to other stories, the way they are brought together here deliver a unique and incredibly watchable tale. Fallout season 1 is worth venturing out of the vault.

All 8 episodes of Fallout season 1 will be available for streaming on Prime Video beginning today, Wednesday April 10th, 2024, at 6:00 PM Pacific Time.