Review: ‘Fallout’ makes the wasteland fun

Photo Courtesy of IMDb

By Hank Holland | Reporter

Prime’s newest prestige series centers around the “Fallout” video games, taking place in a retro-futuristic apocalypse. The show brings all of the best and the worst elements of the franchise to the screen, set in a wacky and brutal timeline.

The show, in typical “Fallout” fashion, follows Lucy MacLean (played by Ella Purnell) in her journey to retrieve her father, Hank (Kyle MacLachlan). Helping and hindering her are Maximus, a Brotherhood of Steel imposter, the Ghoul, an immortal gunslinger and Dogmeat, a mainstay of every “Fallout” story.

When it comes to video game adaptations, there’s a right way and a wrong way. Last year, “The Last of Us” paved the way for video games to hit the big screen in a way that hasn’t really been seen since the “Mortal Kombat” movies (which unfortunately includes its latest reboot). I think “Fallout” does a great job at translating a world as rich in story as it is.

Key performances come from Walton Goggins and Purnell. Goggins nearly steals every scene he’s in, and his character in both plot lines is probably one of my favorite parts of the series. Purnell knows exactly what role she’s playing: a starry-eyed little-girl-lost who is born again, hardened in the wasteland. They have excellent chemistry, and I hope we get to see more of them together in the next season.

Far and away the best thing about the show is its design. The wasteland itself looks decrepit and dangerous and gives a very threatening vibe, as it does in the games. The costumes — especially the power armor — look super cool, and it’s nice to see them done well on a large-scale production.

As a newer fan of “Fallout” — I’ve spent a while brushing up on the games — the show does have a few problems, most of which can be summarized by the overall vibe of the show. The best way I can say it is that this show feels like Disney and “Rick and Morty” had a baby, who then heard the general plot of a “Fallout” game in a passing conversation. “Fallout” is a pretty funny game, but at times, the series is both overly cheerful and overly pessimistic. Several scenes, mostly the ones without Goggins or Purnell, build up some rather strong tension, or lead to a cool reveal, only for a really bad joke to take me completely out of the scene.

I could also go on endlessly about the greater plot details the show retcons or ignores, but I am willing to accept the show as it is. I feel like fandom meltdowns contribute nothing positive when it comes to an ongoing story like “Fallout” or even “Star Wars.” If nothing else, the show is a good time — and a great way to introduce someone to the world of “Fallout.”