Fallout, Prime Video Series Review: The desert of the living dead

The review of Fallout, a serial adaptation of the videogame franchise of the same name, is available on Prime Video.

Image Credit: Prime Video

After the success of Westworld, which reinterpreted Michael Crichton's fantasy in a serial key on HBO, Jonathan Nolan and his partner Lisa Joy are back with another adventure for the small screen, this time on Prime Video and only as executive producers (and, for Nolan, the direction of the first three episodes), while the function of showrunner was entrusted to Geneva Robertson-Dworet (one of the screenwriters of Captain Marvel) and Graham Wagner. 

From Crichton's world, we moved on to that of one of the major videogame franchises, of which the series expands the narrative universe with an original premise (this on the initiative of Todd Howard, one of the executives of Bethesda Game Studios, who preferred to avoid that direct transposition of one of the games was made), the subject of this Fallout review of ours, based on the preview of the complete first season (with the second already confirmed before the show's debut).

Nuclear issues

The series, like the games, takes place in a world ravaged by nuclear conflict. To be precise, 219 years have passed since the Earth's surface became almost uninhabitable, with humanity taking refuge in special anti-atomic shelters, called Vaults, to escape the effects of radiation (in English the word fallout refers to radioactive fallout). It is in this context that the idealist Lucy MacLean grew up, forced to leave the bunker to save her father, who mysteriously disappeared. 

The girl thus ventures into a destroyed, unrecognizable Los Angeles, where she meets two individuals in particular: Maximus, a recruit of the Brotherhood of Steel (an organization that has set itself the goal of preserving technology); and Cooper Howard, a so-called Ghoul, that is, a human mutated by radiation. Once an entertainer, his life changed two centuries ago, and now he makes a living as a bounty hunter in a world increasingly hostile to everything and everyone.

Image Credit: Prime Video

The good, the bad, and the ambivalent

The English Ella Purnell, best known for the Yellowjackets series, gives vent to the American side of her acting personality in the role of Lucy, supported above all by the other two members of the main cast: the emerging Aaron Moten (Maximus) and the veteran Walton Goggins (Cooper), whose experience in western and detective television contexts gives him the right grit for a character who is the ideal bridge between past and present, disturbing and vulnerable at the same time. 

Another well-known face on the American small screen, Kyle MacLachlan is a good representative of the older generations (on and off the screen) in the role of the protagonist's father, and among the occasional presence of an old collaborator of Jonathan Nolan stands out, the excellent character actor Michael Emerson (Person of Interest). Among the notable guest stars is also the English comedian Matt Berry, known to the international public for his performance in the cathode version of What We Do in the Shadows.

Apocalypse Yesterday

Free from the obligation to adhere to the plot of the games, but still coherently placed in that universe whose narrative canon it further expands, the series explores the myth of the American frontier in a post-apocalyptic key, a choice that is not very original but conveyed with non-linear approach typical of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's productions (even if, compared to Westworld, there is greater honesty in the alternation between chronological contexts, since there are no particular twists in the pipeline linked to the order of events ). 

A logical step in the path of the executive producers, who have often grappled with the negative consequences of technological progress, and here they have found something for themselves, combining their humanist concerns with a project on a global scale that makes those themes accessible to an audience even broader, taking advantage of the popularity of the genre, the basic franchise and the names involved. It is a universe which, unlike the arid landscape within it, is very rich, and perhaps also for this reason Prime Video has opted for the classic binge-watching, rather than the hybrid and sipped strategy which for some years had established itself as a valid alternative to the single block of episodes. Because once that door is opened, a journey begins that we don't want to interrupt.


The famous video game arrives in streaming with an adaptation that respects its spirit and delves into the universe, telling the story of a destroyed America.
Overall Score