Sunday, April 21, 2024

The Fallout Show is Apocalyptically Good

Even after the huge success of The Last of Us TV show, it was still hard to have very high expectations when it comes to a live-action production based on a beloved video game series, given how many such attempts missed the mark completely. In that regard, Fallout on Prime was a feat and such a pleasant surprise, managing to be both a worthy adaptation of the world of the games, and remain a solid post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi show that can completely stand on its own.

One of the most impressive things about the show is that it can be watched by both people who love the games and are familiar with the backstory and some of the things that are not initially revealed to the audience, and by people who are totally new to this world, with the latter group not feeling like they are missing on anything. The way the story builds up keeps you hooked from the first episode, and certain crucial plot points are revealed quite cleverly, showing important details in a way that is both interesting to someone unfamiliar with the games and at the same time doesn't become boring to those who already have an idea of what is actually going on.

It's clear that the show is made by people who genuinely love the source material. There are countless references and nods to the games, locations, plot points, items, even parts of the gameplay scattered throughout every episode, done in a way that feels totally sincere and not gimmicky or cheap. It's also commendable how they managed to maintain such a perfect balance between the themes of a nuclear bombing that had a severe impact on humanity and the trademark dark humour of the Fallout series. Plus the way music is utilised as part of storytelling throughout the show, especially in the opening scene, is nothing short of brilliant.

A big reason for the show's success is the story and the characters, who were practically created from scratch as a standalone part of the Fallout universe. The main cast does a great job in bringing their characters to life. Aaron Moten, Ella Purnell, Walton Goggins, and Kyle MacLachlan all deliver fantastic performances. Lucy is a likeable protagonist, and her naivete comes off as believable, given her circumstances, but always makes her look like someone whose heart is in the right place, rather than making her the butt of the joke. Even when she steps outside the safety of her vault and she slowly starts getting disillusioned as she sees a side of the world she didn't know existed, her core characteristics as a character remain unchanged. Which is quite refreshing.

In general, the show succeeds in avoiding to cross the line separating dire circumstances from full nihilism, allowing its characters to maintain their depth and heart and not appear totally one-sided. In the Ghoul's case in particular, the combination of good writing and Walton Goggins' emotional performance, despite him wearing a ton of prosthetics, allows the character to appear as multifaceted, even sympathetic, beyond his questionable actions and motives. Similarly, Maximus' journey, growth, and change of perspective feel both engaging and realistic. And the way the first season ends allows for a ton of
possibilities as to where the story can go. Really looking forward to the now confirmed Season 2.
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