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The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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“Fallout:” Welcome to the Wasteland

The popular video game series returns in Amazon Prime Video’s new excellent eight-part show.
Photo Courtesy / Youtube Prime Video

Off the heels of an influx in video game adaptations turned into prestigious television —HBO’s Emmy-winning “The Last of Us” or Netflix’s acclaimed “Arcane” — Amazon Prime released “Fallout” on April 10. The show is set in the same world of the beloved video game franchise and this series proves to be one of its finest installations yet. 

Set in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles 219 years after nuclear war destroyed modern civilization, the plot follows three separate protagonists attempting to cross this wasteland towards a common goal. The first is a “vault dweller,” Lucy (Ella Purnell) who has lived sheltered away from the wasteland her whole life. Next is Maximus (Aaron Moten), a devotee of the fanatical Brotherhood of Steel, and The Ghoul (Walton Goggins) a mysterious and deformed drifter.

The most important factor in adapting a nearly thirty-year-old franchise with millions of fans across the world was to capture the tone and similar themes in the games that came before it, which the writers absolutely did.

Creators Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Graham Wagner and Jonathon Nolan have perfectly conveyed the ultra-violent gore and ridiculously wacky situations that make “Fallout” so great. 

Through the key characters, constant themes of survival are explored while the idea of maintaining humanity is the show’s central topic. 

Lucy is by far one of the most charismatic and sympathetic leads a show has had recently, thanks mostly to Purnell’s phenomenal performance. She maintains an infectious chipper attitude through everything this wasteland throws at her, including an organ-harvesting robot, being used as bait to lure a mutated salamander and lots of radiation. 

With this upbeat mood surviving through all this madness, she is impossible to not root for.

Since her character is just as new to this irradiated desert as the audience is, she must adapt to her surroundings which Purnell makes so convincing. This evolution is a joy to watch as she upholds her compassion throughout the worst experiences.

Purnell’s co-star Aaron Moten also shines in his first major role as Maximus. His performance is much more physical as he wields an impressive suit of power armor that is fully practical. Outside of the suit, Moten is best when delivering deadpan and pretty absurd comedy.

The real suit of power armor isn’t even the best piece of practical effects in the show with most of the striking cinematography being completely practical. Not to mention the fantastic makeup and prosthetic work on all of the ghouls, including The Ghoul.

As the third lead, Walton Goggins ends up stealing any scene he’s in with two remarkable performances across two different timelines. In the second half of episodes, Goggins’ becomes the emotional anchor of the show. The Ghoul’s backstory is one of the most brilliant aspects of the show and it’s clear to see why he has become a fan favorite.

It can be difficult for new viewers to jump into an already established world, but the writing staff takes most of the first episode delivering exposition on some of the more important points in the lore. 

Aside from a riveting opening scene, the more devoted fans of the series may struggle to get through this first episode, but it’s easy to power through to the flawless subsequent episodes. There are also some awkward moments of the complete opposite with many instances of unnecessary fan service.

Most of these moments come in the first two episodes but there are some distracting musical strings or out-of-place objects in later episodes that fans will know from the games. The most egregious of these is an establishing shot lingering on a “Nuka Cola” soda bottle for an unnecessary 10 seconds.

As for the show’s future, each character goes through a complete transformation that leads to a tense conclusion in an action-packed finale. Despite there being some satisfying closure, a second season has been announced leaving the door open for expansion and more seasons to explore these characters and this world.

Despite the few flaws in earlier episodes and fan service, “Fallout” is another in a line of quality video game adaptations through its masterful branching storylines, exceptional cast and all-around nuclear fun.

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About the Contributor
James Williams
James Williams, Asst. Sports Editor
James is a sophomore journalism student serving his first year as Assistant Sports Editor. Outside of writing for The Torch, James can be found rooting for every Philadelphia sports team, watching a wide variety of shows and movies or listening to his favorite artists Beach House and Bob Dylan while on runs. James can be reached at [email protected]
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