Fallout Series Review: Our Farthest Look Into the Wasteland Yet

Fallout Series (11)
Image Credit: Prime Video
Fallout Series (11)

I was a massive fan of the Fallout franchise, particularly Fallout 4 and Fallout: New Vegas. I was incredibly excited and even more concerned when I heard Prime Video was making a live adaptation. Until recently, with the likes of The Last of Us, real-life adaptations have been questionable at best. Uncharted fans were left disappointed, and we don’t want to talk about 2016’s Assassin’s Creed.

But I’ve got good news for those who subscribe to Prime Video: The Fallout TV series is outstanding.

The Fallout series follows a slew of characters across hundreds of years after a nuclear fallout. This is the furthest we have actually seen in the Fallout universe. It is tough to describe the plot without spoiling things. You are transported back and forth through time as the story progresses. Sometimes, you aren’t even sure what year it is. By the end of Fallout’s first season, you will better understand the story and its history. Telling you about it here would do viewers a disservice.

Image Credit: Amazon MGM Studios.

We are introduced to the world before the bombs went off. We meet Cooper Howard (Walter Goggins), a cowboy and celebrity, at a children’s birthday party just as the bombs go off. You watch the look in his and his child’s eyes as you slowly see the clouds burst into the sky and the aftershock barrel through the city. It is one of the most suspenseful moments I’ve seen in a series in a long time.

Fallout Is Another Showcase For Walton Goggins

Goggins does not get nearly enough credit as an actor. He takes on roles like this, where he is Cooper and The Ghoul. It’s a challenge since he takes what is very clearly a monster and turns him into a real character—Someone with a heart, soul, and devil on his shoulder. Throughout the Fallout series, I was glued to any scene he was in, in any decade or century. We get to see a lot of Cooper Howard and The Ghoul. I can’t wait to see where it goes after this eight-episode season.

There’s more to the series than just Goggins’ character. Our core stories belong to a few main characters. We have Cooper Howard, who becomes a ghoul after the fallout. There’s Lucy, a Vault Dweller who heads into the wasteland. Then, there is Norm, her brother, who stays behind in the vault. We also see Maximus from the Brotherhood of Steel. Finally, there is Moldaver, who remains a mystery for most of Fallout’s first season.

Image Credit: Amazon MGM Studios.

Often, there are characters whose stories I don’t care about or some whom I am begging the show to get back to. In Fallout, my least favorite storyline was the Brotherhood of Steel. Even then, it ties in with the rest of the plot so well that I was still entirely invested. The small details that the show peppers throughout its eight episodes kept me completely engaged and entertained. If you look away for a minute, you might miss something, and since every storyline is tied together, I highly recommend staying invested in every story arc.

The Characters of Fallout Can Be Hit Or Miss

That being said, Maximus was definitely the weakest due to some extreme inconsistencies in his demeanor. We see him weak, powerful, afraid, confused, and protective, but occasionally, he falls into this mode where he acts like a literal fool. I understand that the Brotherhood of Steel is supposed to be clueless about the ways of the world, not knowing how things like sex or any sort of humanity work. 

But instead of uneducated, they occasionally made him a bumbling idiot, branching into slapstick comedy with lines like “Want to make my cock explode?” just because they could. Maximus is wasteland-smart if you will, and most of the time, is completely normal. I feel like there was a better way to show the disconnect between the Brotherhood of Steel and Vault Dwellers without the occasional cartoon-like comments.

Image Credit: Amazon MGM Studios.

I felt similar about Lucy’s reactions toward the beginning of her time in the wasteland. Ella Purnell is great in the Fallout series, but she is exposed to some seriously disturbing moments for her first time out of the vault and into the wasteland. Her responses to things like sawing off a head or a creature with what seems like fingers for tastebuds are akin to what I would look like if I got something sticky on my hand, “Ick.”  Though I could see that Lucy would need to become desensitized over time, there really were no major reactions to anything that happened to her.

Fallout’s Practical Effects Are Far Better Than Its CGI

My only other slight complaint about the show might be the CGI effects. I knew that heading into a live-action show based on the Fallout universe, there would be some issues with the reality of it all. Rad Roaches, Rad Scorpions, Bloatflies, Deathclaws, you name it, and I bet we will eventually see them in the Prime Video series. 

For now, we have only been introduced to a few, but because of the campiness of the creatures, it is a bit more funny than terrifying, even if our favorite characters are in danger. Even some effects on our human characters were a little cheesy, and though it wouldn’t fly in most other universes, luckily, the Fallout franchise understands corny humor more than most.

Where Fallout crushed it was the practical effects. Gore and prosthetics were on point throughout the entire series. Whether we were looking at wounds, mangled feet (though I think this was some of the good CGI, actually), or blood splatter, it all felt realistic and, well, disgusting. The Ghoul, who could have been butchered easily and has a ton of screen time, looked flawless in every scene after hours of makeup.

Image Credit: Amazon MGM Studios.

To be honest, there are a lot of areas where Fallout absolutely nailed it. The sets are outstanding, every single one of them. The vaults, the wasteland, the small markets, and some very special locations you see later on in the game brought back the same feelings the games first evoked in me. The team behind the series brought the entire franchise to life, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

The Fallout Series Perfectly Captures The Vibe Of The Video Game Franchise

And finally, perhaps the most important thing that the Fallout series captured flawlessly is the essence of Fallout as a whole. Prime Video managed to intertwine the horror of the wasteland (and more) with that 1950s vibe in ways I didn’t see working. We see this through the layering of 50s music over absolute slaughter. It was even shown through the hopefulness of the Vault Dwellers when you know they’re clueless as can be. The juxtaposition between campy and brutal was portrayed perfectly throughout the series.

But through all that, there is still a harsh reality to the Fallout series. This is something that is absolutely touched on throughout the games. Still, it’s pretty glaring, considering the current world. The game’s factions present in the series show a stark look at racism and classism. 

Image Credit: Amazon MGM Studios.

You see the world through Lucy’s eyes, who is young, naive, and good-hearted. At the same time, you see The Ghoul, who began as a truly kind man. Unfortuantely, he becomes more hardened throughout the years. There’s Norm, who sees that something just isn’t right with the fantasy world they live in. And then Maximus, who has only learned about battle and hardships. 

Everyone has their own privileges and/or prejudices that they must overcome. By the end of the eight episodes, everyone’s world has changed, even if it’s just slightly. What each character now knows has changed the trajectory of their lives and how they view the world and all the people in it. 

Wrapping Up

There was an old MTV show with the tagline, “You think you know, but you have no idea.” I don’t think anything better encapsulates the Fallout series and its characters. From episode one to episode eight, you will be hooked right in. Even if you’ve played every minute of every game, you won’t know where you’re going to end up. Live-action video game adaptations have gained a bad reputation, but Prime Video’s Fallout will live among the greats.

Fallout Series (11)
Fallout Series Review: Our Farthest Look Into the Wasteland Yet
Prime Video's Fallout series is constantly engaging and truly brings the game's universe to life in a way that stays true to the source while keeping viewer's on their toes.
Incredible practical effects.
Engaging story & characters.
Sets and costumes were on point.
Perfectly captures the essence of Fallout.
Some questionable CGI creatures.
A few inconsistencies with characters.


  • Dayna Eileen

    Dayna is an all-Canadian long-time gamer and geek. She absolutely loves introducing the people she knows to her love for gaming and nerd culture. You can often find her writing about tech, gaming and media across the web.

Dayna Eileen

Written by Dayna Eileen

Dayna is an all-Canadian long-time gamer and geek. She absolutely loves introducing the people she knows to her love for gaming and nerd culture. You can often find her writing about tech, gaming and media across the web.

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