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Thursday, April 11, 2024

I'm three episodes into Amazon Prime's new series Fallout...

 "War.  War never changes."

Actually, Ron Perlman's voice for opening narration is pretty much the only thing missing from Fallout: Amazon Prime's new streaming show based on the legendary video/computer game series.  I was looking forward to what those first words would be.

But that can be forgiven, in light of how epically faithful a live-series adaptation of the Fallout saga is to the source material.  It's all here: the vaults, the stimpacks, the Brotherhood of Steel, the retro-futuristic look of pre-war America... Heck in the second episode we even see a live-action brahmin (the two-headed cattle seen in most if not all of the games).

So I've just finished watching the third episode, and it's pretty well established that Lucy (Ella Purnell) from Vault 33 is way out of her element.  Actually, just about all of the dwellers in Vault 33 are in over their heads.  They are basically touchy-feely types who believe the wasteland and its denizens will be won over by progressive concepts like teaching them Shakespeare and beginner's calculus.

Ahhh yes, the wasteland.  It's definitely in keeping with what is depicted in the games.  It's that helping of Mad Max-style dystopia colored with 1950s-ish aesthetics and a healthy dash of mutant monsters and trademark Fallout humor.  This ruined landscape two hundred-some years after World War III is no place for the weak of heart.  But it's absolutely spot-on filled in with trademark elements from Bethesda's games (speaking of which, I need to finish Fallout: New Vegas sometime, but real life keeps popping up every time I pick up from the most recent save point).

Fallout boasts a strong cast.  In addition to Purnell there is Aaron Moten as Maximus: an aspirant with the knight-like Brotherhood of Steel.  Then there is Walton Goggins as "the Ghoul", who is pretty much like the ghouls you encounter in the games, if one were also decked out like "The Man with No Name" from Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns.  Also featured is Kyle MachLachlan, who won acclaim playing Agent Dale Cooper on Twin Peaks as the Overseer of Vault 33.  And it would be a grave error on my part if I did not mention Michael Emerson's presence.  I became a great fan of his work on Lost and it's a delight to see him again.

Little wonder Fallout is so good, when the series is helmed by Jonathan Nolan - who I thought did a magnificent job as showrunner of HBO's Westworld - along with Fallout games head honcho Todd Holland as executive producer.  It's a practically perfect endeavor with everyone and everything falling into their proper places.  THIS is what a live-action adaptation of a video game is supposed to look like (no, I haven't seen The Last Of Us yet but I'd like to check that out eventually).  From the first episode Fallout the streaming series has sucked me in, just as Fallout 3 did when I first played it fifteen years ago (I played the first two games later on).

If there is a fault I find in Fallout the television series, it's the profanity.  I can't recall there being that much swearing in the games.  There's a modicum of cussin' in the Bethesda works, but not nearly as at times overwhelming as in the Amazon show.  Just because this is a series with production value on par with Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead doesn't mean the crew must go all-out crazy with harsh language.  But then again, I doubt it's going to be small children who are playing the Fallout games.  These are games for a mature audience and I can overlook the show's language, kinda.

 Otherwise, consider me a fan, and that's hard to pull off when I've become so jaded about entertainment in general that the only other thing I'm looking forward to is the final season of Stranger Things.

There are five episodes left in Fallout's first season.  I'm going to try to watch the rest sometime over the weekend, in between working on other projects.  If the following installments are as good as these three are, then I am already anticipating more seasons to come.