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  • Writer's pictureWill Scarbrough

Review - Fallout: Season One

Ella Purnell, Walton Goggins, Kyle Machlaclan, Aaron Moten, Moises Arias, Leslie Uggams, Matt Berry, Johnny Pemberton, Sarita Choudhury, Frances Turner, Annabel O'Hagan, Dave Register & Zach Cherry.

In a future, post-apocalyptic Los Angeles brought about by nuclear decimation, citizens must live in underground bunkers to protect themselves from radiation, mutants and bandits.

In the aftermath of a world ravaged by nuclear devastation, "Fallout" emerges as a beacon of excellence in television, boasting a masterful blend of technical prowess, compelling storytelling, and memorable performances. As the series unfolds, it becomes abundantly clear that "Fallout" is not merely a television adaptation of a beloved video game franchise but a rich and immersive narrative experience in its own right.

Visually, "Fallout" is a feast for the eyes, with each frame meticulously crafted to immerse viewers in its post-apocalyptic world. The brilliance of Ramin Djawadi's compositions, coupled with stunning visual effects, elevates the series to cinematic heights rarely seen on the small screen. From the desolate landscapes to the intricate details of decaying infrastructure, every aspect of the production design serves to transport audiences into a world teetering on the brink of oblivion.

However, the true strength of "Fallout" lies in its characters, each imbued with complexity and depth that transcends the typical tropes of the genre. At the center of the narrative is Lucy, portrayed wonderfully by Ella Purnell. As audiences accompany her on a journey of self-discovery and survival, Lucy's evolution from a brainwashed and fragile vault dweller to a hardened protagonist is both captivating and poignant. Yet, amidst the chaos of the wasteland, it is the enigmatic Ghoul, portrayed with scene-stealing charisma by Walton Goggins, who emerges as the series' most compelling character. His mysterious past and morally ambiguous nature add layers of intrigue to an already rich tapestry of storytelling. He is the true driving force of the show told through past and present, he will leave audiences with the best impression.

Similarly, the vault dwellers, led by the standout performance of Moises Arias as Norm, offer a glimpse into the intricacies of a brainwashed life beneath the surface. As they unravel the dark secrets hidden within their underground sanctuary, audiences are drawn deeper into the labyrinthine mysteries of the wasteland. “Norm” is a character I immediately connected to due to his observational nature, right from the get go. While ones around him are very happy and never raise questions about their own existence, Norm is often seen more hesitant about new change. His competency combined with being an underdog makes for a really great character to watch, as he navigates the vault without his family.

However, "Fallout" is not without its flaws. While Lucy and the Ghoul shine as beacons of character development, Maximus, portrayed with earnestness by Aaron Moten, falls short of leaving a huge lasting impression. Particularly, the show kept on previewing a key memory of Maximus’, and I was waiting for that full scene to come to life so I could finally emotionally connect with him, however that never came to life. Especially considering the use of flashbacks for Lucy and the Ghoul. Despite moments of growth and redemption, Maximus' journey feels underdeveloped, lacking the emotional resonance that permeates the arcs of his fellow survivors. Likewise, the screenplay, while brimming with sharp dialogue and clever storytelling, occasionally stumbles in its attempts to balance exposition with narrative momentum. As a result, viewers unfamiliar with the game lore may find themselves struggling to fully grasp the intricacies of the world and its history. A particular line of brilliance that, for me, highlights the true theme of this story: “Everyone wants to save the world… they just disagree on how.” as seen in the official trailer. 

In terms of pacing and editing, "Fallout" experiences occasional missteps, particularly in the early episodes. Abrupt cuts and pacing issues hinder the flow of the narrative, detracting from the overall viewing experience. However, as the series progresses, these shortcomings are overshadowed by moments of genuine tension and excitement, culminating in a finale that delivers on the promise of its premise. 

In conclusion, "Fallout" stands as a testament to the potential of television to transcend its medium and deliver storytelling on par with some of the best shows this year. With its stunning visuals, compelling characters, and immersive world-building, "Fallout" offers an unforgettable journey through the ashes of a shattered world. Whether you're a fan of the original video game franchise or simply seeking a riveting post-apocalyptic adventure, "Fallout" promises an experience that is as thrilling as it is thought-provoking. It’s dark, it’s funny, but the best thing this show offers is a greater world to explore outside of our own. 

4.5 / 5 


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