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Fallout (2024-) Review

The ongoing trend of adapting video games into live-action media has caught the interest of entertainment companies ready to explore new ventures, even if there are still questions raised around the concept of the "game-to-screen" pipeline. Prime Video's Fallout has proven that while not every game needs to be rehashed again for the sake of recapturing an already engaged audience, maybe these studios should be given a chance to do just that.

Fallout didn't require a televised remake, but Prime Video was eager enough to try its hand at retelling aspects of the iconic video game series. Much like the game itself, Fallout deals in successes while stumbling through episodes. It's refreshing that this partial anthology refuses to tame itself or step back from its bizarre quirks. Its oddities that make it so compelling, especially when playing into the extreme attitudes that pivot around the end of the world. Fallout can be praised for its socio-political awareness, and its insistence to keep storytelling at the heart of the show flatters a disjointed season in its entirety. Even at times when Fallout is unsure of what to do with itself -- with episodes two and three slowing down the first season as Fallout experiences a brief identity crisis -- the central narrative refuses to give way completely.

Uneven writing is saved by Fallout's mid-season redemption. The show is at its best when it stops wanting to appeal to a mass audience and leans hard into the horror-thriller genre. Between its violence and its grotesque body horror, Fallout is as unsettling as it is exciting. The unapologetic rage and nearly uncensored intensity of fight scenes is a thrill to watch, though Prime Video could easily have cut back on their slow-motion shots, which threaten to take the viewers out of the show completely. A video game adaptation doesn't need to feel like gameplay to any degree, and gore is better sold when it isn't slowed down for dramatic effects.

Fallout doesn't water itself down completely, and does its best to serve as an entry point into the games for those who are curious enough to tune into Prime Video's first video game outing, Though there are some uneven performances, and some scenes may linger for too long, Prime Video has assured that Fallout can expand on the "bigger picture" of the games instead of losing itself to smaller details. It's like a safety net, in a way, as the streaming service tests how Fallout will fair. At the same time, Fallout presents itself as completely relevant when diving into its sub-themes, and insists that it doesn't feel like any other video game television show that's hit small screens so far. Even when it struggles to push itself forward, it still aims for originality. Despite not being the most pitch-perfect display work of television, Fallout still succeeds when making the Apocalypse look pretty cool.

Prime Video was prepared to play with creative liberty while pulling statement concepts and characters from the games themselves without feeling the need to recreate the source material scene-for-scene. Walter Goggin's interpretation of The Ghoul is direct result of how sometimes, studios should be allowed to tweak adaptations to best meet their vision. Prime Video's decision to put emphasis on Goggins has given Fallout more to work with, all while being aided by an acceptable performance. If anything, the show-running team has fleshed out a world that has been begging to be explored even more, all while littering the series with Easter Eggs that pay homage to its inspiration. For those who are new to Fallout, it'll leave them with a longing to venture out of the Vault. 7/10.

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