I've seen Amazon Prime Video's Fallout TV show and it's a sci-fi stunner in every way

The end of the world is in very good hands

Fallout TV show still adapted by generative AI
(Image credit: Amazon (adapted using generative AI))

Before I got to see the opening two episodes of Prime Video's new sci-fi blockbuster, Fallout, I wrote that I was giddy with excitement.

That was based on the latest behind-the-scenes trailer and a whole host of new stills released by the streaming service – so imagine how thrilled I was to be sat in a former BBC studio in London, surrounded by the actual cast and a set designed to look like the in-show Vault 33.

Then the first episode started and... well, you'll just have to read on.

Fallout TV show screening (London)

(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)

Fallout TV show review

There is plenty of trepidation when a video game adaptation is announced – whether it be for the big or small screen – especially when it's of such a big and much-loved series. History is plagued with awful game-to-movie or TV attempts, often because directors haven't grasped what made the source so special in the first place.

However, a spate of successful and critically-revered outings have provided hope that the tide is turning. HBO's The Last of Us is quite simply superb, and while The Witcher on Netflix is technically based on the books, it owes much to CD Projekt Red's RPG series.

Now, I'm happy to say, Fallout has joined such illustrious company. From the first two episodes I've seen so far, I can safely say that the end of the world is in very good hands.

Director Jonathan Nolan (Westworld, The Dark Knight) is a self-confessed fan of the Fallout games and it shows. As does his propensity to use as few CGI effects as possible, with the episodes (and actors) benefitting greatly from intricate, tangible sets.

Fallout TV show season 1 stills

(Image credit: Amazon)

The first two episodes are jam-packed with huge set-pieces, so you end up staring at the scenery as much as you do the action within, and it is choc-full of Easter eggs and sly winks to the gaming world of Fallout. Thus it pays just enough lip service to the source material to keep us fans happy, while also presenting something new – improved, even.

As the games' executive producer Todd Howard said during the screening, it presents additional material and backstory that haven't been possible in the RPGs to date.

Without wanting to give away any big spoilers, right from the off we get to see some of the previous life of The Ghoul (Walton Goggins), before the world went boom, and we are told we'll find out additional historical context as the season continues. But the episode doesn't really dwell on origins too much, as it moves mercifully quickly.

Fallout TV show season 1 stills

(Image credit: Amazon)

That includes the background of Lucy MacLean (Ella Purnell), our main protagonist. She's a wide-eyed, naive dweller who has been born and raised inside Vault 33. But, after a pretty major (and bloody) event inside her home, she embarks on a quest into an outside world she doesn't know or understand. And all in a tight sub-hour-long premiere.

Fallout TV show season 1 stills

(Image credit: Amazon)

We are also introduced to Maximus (Aaron Moten), a member of the Brotherhood of Steel who so desperately wants to become a knight of the order and don the famous T-60 power armour. And then there is the aforementioned Ghoul, a radiated bounty hunter who has been around for the 200-plus years since the bombs originally dropped.

The tale is told from each of their perspectives, cutting between them until they eventually collide in a superbly shocking sequence in episode 2. Nolan and showrunners Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner pull no punches throughout, with extreme amounts of gore and comedy violence that also harks back to the games.

Fallout TV show season 1 stills

(Image credit: Amazon)

Gore blimey!

Much like The Boys, Fallout is often ludicrous in its portrayal of violence and those with a nervous disposition will certainly grimace at times, but nearly always while wearing a massive, beaming grin. It is as funny as it is furious – something that can be levied at the show in general.

The Prime Video series nails the dark humour of the games from the get-go, and yet also manages to present something new and original. There are political undertones too, as well as some great, dramatic twists which I'll also steer clear of here. And all in the first two episodes.

Fallout TV show still extended using generative AI

(Image credit: Amazon (adapted using generative AI))

In short, it is a resounding success, which manages to tread the fine line between catering for dyed-in-the-wool Fallout game fans and being a splendid sci-fi series for those who have never even been near a console or gaming PC.

I for one will be glued to the remaining episodes of the first season, and I very much expect you to be too.

Fallout season 1 will debut on Amazon Prime Video from Thursday 11 April 2024. All eight episodes will be available to watch from day one.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.