REVIEW: Amazon’s Fallout Season 1

Is The Streamer's High Profile Video Game Adaptation Worth Watching?

Developed by Interplay Productions way back in 1997, the original Fallout was a role-playing game set in a post-apocalyptic world decades after a nuclear war between the US and China, with a retro-futuristic aesthetic and turn-based combat. The player begins as a “Vault Dweller” who must venture from the safety of his nuclear fallout shelter and enter the dangerous wasteland on the surface to find a water chip to help his vault-dwelling community to survive. On the surface, the player can explore, level up, and engage in a number of side-quests.

Fallout and its sequel, Fallout 2, were big hits, and the rights to the series were purchased by Bethesda Softworks in 2007, which went on to publish follow-ups such as Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76.

Though there have been many attempts to turn the games into movies over the years, the project eventually landed at Amazon as an original series for their Prime Video service. The brains behind HBO’s sci-fi hit Westworld – Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy – were attached to write and produce the series, along with showrunners Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner.

Bethesda also had its hand in producing the TV show and has stated that the series is canon to the games, with its 2296 setting being the furthest into the future anything has taken place in the world of Fallout.

Leading up to the entire season’s release on Amazon, there had been some concerns online as to whether the Fallout TV show would be the typical “woke” fare for “modern audiences” and if it would be any good based on some previews that made the set design and cinematography look “cheap.”

So, what is the ultimate verdict now that all eight episodes are available to watch?  Let’s dive into it.

Fallout Season 1


The plot is based on the typical plot of the Fallout games, where a lone Vault Dweller has to venture out into the nuclear-ravaged wasteland to complete some sort of quest. However, the plot eventually veers into an all-encompassing “MacGuffin” that has broader implications for the world at large.

The show focuses on four characters, the first of which is Lucy, played by Ella Purnell. After her idyllic Vault-dwelling life is shattered by a raid from surface dwellers, she must venture out of the Vault to find her kidnapped father.

Her brother, Norm, stays behind in the Vault and begins investigating a conspiracy that not only has a direct impact on the three connected vaults he and the other Vault-dwellers live within but has far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world.

Maximus is an initiate in the militant organization known as The Brotherhood of Steel, a sort of modern version of the Knights Templar that uses pre-war power armor to search the wasteland for valuable technology. Maximus has ambitions to become a Knight in the organization and wear his own suit of Power Armor so he can protect the innocent of the wasteland.

Finally, there is The Ghoul, aka Cooper Howard, a ruthless bounty hunter deformed by the fallout radiation from the war. The Ghoul has a storied past that directly ties into the creation of the Vaults and the nuclear war that occurred between the US and China.

All these characters and storylines converge when Siggi Wilzig, a scientist for the enigmatic Enclave (which is supposedly a direct continuation of the United States Government), escapes with a secret technology that could change the entire nuclear-ravaged world, and now every military organization and bounty hunter is after him. This technology also just so happens to be the key to rescuing Lucy’s father, so she’s after him as well.


The acting in the show is extremely good.  The Vault Dwellers have a fun innocence to them, which is in sharp contrast to the surface dwellers. The character of Norm MacLean is a more pragmatic Vault Dweller, and the contrast with his cheery co-habitants makes him stand out in the Vault storyline.

Lucy, played by Ella Purnell, is an excellent leading lady.  She rides the line between comically idealistic and bad-ass female main character well. The actress even went so far as to state that her inspiration for how to play the character was Ned Flanders from The Simpsons, and it shows. Lucy is constantly struggling with the brutal realities of what it takes to survive on the surface and the benevolent ideals she was raised with inside the Vault. Overall, she’s a great character for the audience to follow as the series progresses.

The weakest of the actors in the show is without a doubt Aaron Moten as Maximus. Though he does a serviceable job, he always seems overshadowed by his co-stars.

The real star of the show, however, is Walton Goggins as The Ghoul (and as Cooper Howard in the flashbacks). Goggins steals every scene he’s in and shows his versatility as an actor by playing two very distinct versions of his character.

Even the supporting actors are believable and fill the roles of “NPCs” nicely. Every character we meet feels distinct and different, as though they all have unique backstories that make them interesting.


Fallout is paced extremely well, particularly the first three episodes, which were directed by Jonathan Nolan himself. Any “downtime” the show has is devoted to expanding upon the lore and the world of Fallout, so even when it’s lacking in action, the progression remains interesting, as there is plenty of tension and mystery to keep the audience engaged. It’s a testament to the show’s creators that they give each main character a complete arc.

Fallout can essentially be watched as an “8-hour movie” because it is structured incredibly well and successfully fleshes out an interesting and expansive world for the audience to dive into. Though there are a couple of dumb moments, they never derail the narrative or make it hard to watch.  Each episode keeps a steady pace, building to a strong season finale that has a great cliffhanger that will make the audience want to watch more (especially if you are a fan of the video games).

Production Design

Though the show was criticized early on because of the sneak previews that were released, the production design is actually top-notch. Fallout nails the aesthetic of the games, and there are so many wonderful Easter eggs in every scene for fans of the video games to geek out over. Everything from the collectible Bobble Heads to the Brotherhood of Steel power armor, down to the design of the Rad Roaches.

The look and feel of the show expertly transports the audience into the world of Fallout. For fans of the games, it’s incredibly accurate. For those who are unfamiliar with the games, its retro-futuristic aesthetic is immersive and gives the show a unique feel one doesn’t find in other TV series.


Though Hollywood always seems to struggle with adapting video games into movies or TV shows, the creators of Fallout seem to have gotten it right. Rather than adapt any of the games’ stories into a series, they cherry-picked numerous elements from the games to layer into the show while telling an original story that is reflective of the major plotlines in some of the games but still unique.

Audiences who haven’t played the games are able to follow along and get exposed to the Fallout universe in a manner that is easily accessible for “normies.” Fans who have played the games will be immersed in a world that is faithful to the games and will enjoy the depth with which the story dives into the lore of the RPGs.

We’ve seen much worse adaptations from other streamers when it comes to beloved properties, particularly video games. But the good news is that Fallout is a faithful adaptation of the games in spirit.

Fallout Season 1


One of the things that makes Fallout stand out is that it’s not just a dystopian science-fiction romp, nor simply a video game adaptation. The strongest element of Fallout is that it’s actually a dark comedy, similar to Amazon’s other hit original series, The Boys. The show effectively balances extreme violence and gore with an offbeat humor that is also present in the games. This makes Fallout unique and fun to watch all the way through and also helps to make all the characters quite endearing – even the slightly annoying ones.

The big reveal at the very end of the last episode also sets the stage for an exciting season 2 (which has already been ordered by Amazon) and is sure to excite fans of the games with a new, but familiar, location. This Fallout story was set on the West Coast in California, a location in the Fallout universe we had yet to see in the games. And with the show being canon in the game universe, fans essentially got to explore a whole new location while watching the series.

A lot of discourse around Amazon’s decision to drop all eight episodes at once in a “binge model” led many to believe Amazon didn’t have much faith in the series. Disney+ used this tactic with the dreadful comic book show Echo as a way to try and get people to watch the show before bad word-of-mouth took hold. However, by bucking the week-to-week release model it’s used in the past, Amazon might have successfully by-passed any of the bad “internet buzz” about the show and allowed viewers to immerse themselves in the world quickly enough so that there will be a demand for season 2, where the week-to-week model could be re-employed to help build buzz.

Overall, the first season of Fallout is a success, not just for Amazon but for viewers. It’s fun and entertaining, doesn’t have too much “DEI” nonsense to take you out of the show (though there is a little bit in there), and is a fun new franchise to bring “newbies” into the sci-fi space.  From Amazon’s perspective, they have a new hit IP they can start milking as well.

So, if you are looking for something good to watch, I strongly recommend Fallout on Amazon Prime.

Fallout Season 1

Plot - 8.5
Acting - 8
Progression - 9.5
Production Design - 10
Adaptation - 8.5



Overall, the first season of Fallout is a success, not just for Amazon but for viewers. It’s fun and entertaining, doesn’t have too much “DEI” nonsense to take you out of the show (though there is a little bit in there), and is a fun new franchise to bring “newbies” into the sci-fi space.  From Amazon’s perspective, they have a new hit IP they can start milking as well.

Comments (1)

April 20, 2024 at 4:12 pm

Fallout has been one of the few shows I’ve watched this year that left me wanting more by the time it concluded. While there are some nitpicks I can make here and there, the series so far has been a blast and I can’t wait for season 2.

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