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FALLOUT Season 1 Review: An Expansive Dystopia That Has A Lot Of Fun With The Post-Apocalyptic Genre

Fallout is the latest in a long line of actually good video game adaptations that have found immense success in the TV series format. Recently, shows like Arcane, The Last Of Us and Halo, among others, have found successful audiences making them certified hits. The Prime Video Original series, Fallout seems to be joining those other shows as another highly successful video game adaptation. Based on the world-famous game, Fallout tells the story of a society of people who build vaults and go underground during a nuclear war. However, when they re-emerge, they realize that the world did not become what they were expecting. And what they thought they knew, they’re going to have to rethink it all. Read on for my Fallout season 1 review. 

Please note that the following Fallout season 1 review is completely spoiler-free. 

Fallout Displays An Expansive World Unlike Another Other Dystopia

Fallout season 1 review Lucy.

Image via Prime Video.

Full disclosure: I am not at all familiar with the Fallout video game series; my only exposure to this story is through the Prime Video series. And given that, I was right away surprised at how expansive the world-building of Fallout season 1 really is. While the marketing made it seem like it was all about Lucy (Ella Purnell), there’s so much more happening. The other characters and storylines caught me off guard as well. And especially how much I would become invested in their stories, to the point where I’m rooting for them. 

The series begins with a wave of nuclear bombs decimating the world during what seemingly looks like 1950s America. The story then fast forwards in time to a civilization that escaped the nuclear war, by building and resettling in giant underground cities, called Vaults. They sealed themselves in for hundreds of years, waiting for the right moment to remerge and rebuild the Earth. But the world they return to is not what they were expecting. 

Fallout Has A Familiar Premise, But The Storytelling Is Very Unique

Fallout season 1 review Maximus.

Image via Prime Video.

When one of these, out of touch, sheltered and privileged vault dwellers named Lucy comes to the surface, she’s in for a surprise. While her Vault was stuck in a society that mirrored the 50s, the surface was a monster-infested, mutant-populated war zone where everyone was out to get you. Lucy learns this the hard way as she begins the hunt for her father. Throughout this journey, she meets interesting characters, friends, foes, frenemies, and crazy monsters. So it’s your typical adventure quest type of story. But there’s so much more. 

I’ve been wary of post-apocalyptic, zombie-monster stories since The Walking Dead really beat the concept into the ground for me. But since then, I loved The Last Of Us for a very specific reason. And that same reason applies here in this Fallout season 1 review; hope. Fallout doesn’t just show us a miserable and despondent world where everything is death and chaos. While that is an element, there’s also a very apparent throughline of hope and optimism. Even for the darkest of characters. 

Some Of The Best New Characters On TV

Fallout season 1 review village.

While Purnell plays Lucy as the typical ‘gee-shucks’ type of character archetype, as someone raised in a society like 1950s Americana, but also with layers of her own. Lucy’s exposure to the cruel world doesn’t suddenly make her become a badass. Even during those moments, you get to see how she still hasn’t changed. She may be more capable and more aware of her world, but she’s still a wholesome, bright-eyed young woman wanting to take on the world. This complete shock to her worldview doesn’t take that away from her. Which is a small, but crucial aspect of character development and tone for the show that makes a huge difference. And even with the darkness of the show, there’s something to look forward to. 

If Purnell’s Lucy is the soul of Fallout season 1, its guts are with Walton Goggin’s Coop. The character is one of the most fascinating of the series. While a complete bad guy, Goggins’ hardened veteran playing off of Purnell, who is playing a naive character, is a lot of fun. Especially when Lucy gets the better of him. But Goggins’ character’s backstory is very intense and more of the emotional arc of season 1 thus far. While Lucy is experiencing things anew, Coop is on the same path he’s been on for years. It’s definitely a career-best performance by Goggins. 

Fallout Season 1 Review Is Completely Spoiler-Free

Fallout season 1 review mutant.

Image via Prime Video.

Rounding out the characters is Maximus (Aaron Moten), a member of the Brotherhood, a religious order that rules a section of the world above. They use a religious military hierarchy with soldiers in mechanized suits maintaining order and enforcing their world views on their citizens. Maximus is a squire with dreams of becoming a knight. He’s the heart of the show. A young man raised in his absolute hell-hole who still dreams hopes and eventually loves. His journey mirrors that of Lucy’s but in opposing ways, where they kind of end up at the same destination. Or at least, I hope they do. 

And while all these characters are on their own journeys with their own missions on the surface world, the Vault-dwellers are on some incredible arcs of self-discovery of their own. Namely, Lucy’s brother Norm (Moises Arias), who begins to question everything about their way of life, while still remaining in the vault himself. Arias is brilliant as the creepy brother, who seems weird but ends up being right all along. His storyline is a great counterpart to the events and storylines occurring above the surface. 

Fallout Has So Much Going For It

Fallout really impresses as a show. While it’s definitely an adult series, with lots of blood, gore, violence and just gruesome acts of terrible-ness, it’s also crazy light-hearted. The humour is unmatched, and doesn’t stand apart, but rather, compliments the dark elements of the show. The biggest example of this is Lucy herself. Given that Lucy is basically an all-American girl, she has certain mannerisms and expressions that are very wholesome and positive. So when she can maintain and cheery demeanour, but now in the context of having to do whatever she can to survive, it’s a great source of comedy, empowerment and badassery. It works as a running bit through the series. But also as a representation of just how strong a character Lucy is, successfully adapting to these wild circumstances. 

I also love how bright Fallout is. The aesthetics are bright, colourful and just gorgeous to look at. I’m so glad that the show did not resort to darkness, night shots or just general twilight conditions to enhance the terror. The world is fighting enough, without making us have to squint to see things. And that’s where I think Fallout works. It’s this weird blend of humour, horror, heart and awesome spectacle. It’s definitely a must-watch for fans of genre storytelling. 

Fallout season 1 is now streaming all episodes on Amazon Prime Video. 

What did you think of Fallout season 1? Let me know in the comments below. Or follow me on X (formerly Twitter) at @theshahshahid for more reviews on the latest movies and TVs. 

FALLOUT Season 1 Review: An Expansive Dystopia That Has A Lot Of Fun With The Post-Apocalyptic Genre
  • Acting - 8/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 8.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7.5/10
  • Watchability - 8.5/10
  • Rewatchability - 7/10
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