The QT

Friday 14 June 2024

Boxing Clever – Fallout

Every week, Michael Telfer – aka Mike TV – recommends a box set to crack open. This week’s choice is what Wish You Were Here? might look like if Judith Chalmers visited a post apocalyptic wasteland…
Fallout, newly released on Amazon Prime on April 10, 2024

Amazon Prime’s latest big budget TV show Fallout is the adaptation of a long-running and much loved series of video games that are set in a version of the United States that has been pretty much eviscerated by nuclear war.

Like several of the games, the narrative starts before the bombs drop, in a version of 1950s Americana where nuclear power fuels everything and the richest families have paid big money to reserve spaces in underground vaults where they can hopefully survive Armageddon and eventually repopulate the world.

It’s not long before everything goes up in smoke in a cascade of mushroom clouds and slow motion carnage, and we fast forward two centuries to find society split between underground vault-dwelling mini civilisations and lawless wastelands on the scarred surface.

No knowledge of the games is required to follow the story and enjoy the show, but I would suggest a strong stomach for violence and bloodshed is a definite prerequisite.

A series of events conspire to shatter the tranquillity of everyday life in Vault 33 during the first episode, and no violent details or eye-watering injuries are left to the imagination. Life in Fallout is a bloody mess, and this is consistent across every episode. You have been warned.

Lucy (Ella Purnell) and her father (Kyle MacLachlan) in the comfort of the vault

The show revolves around three main characters. Lucy (Ella Purnell) is a young woman who has lived a sheltered life in Vault 33 but now finds herself topside in a terrifying world where everything is trying to kills her.

Aaron Moten plays Maximus, a squire in the Brotherhood of Steel, a mysterious sect whose attempts to bring law to the wasteland has been spectacularly unsuccessful.

The trio is completed by the Ghoul (Walton Goggins), the mutated form of pre-war film star Cooper Howard who needs a steady supply of drugs to delay his eventual metamorphosis into a mindless, feral zombie.

The Ghoul, played by Walton Goggins

The destinies of the unlikely allies become entwined as they all find themselves in the desperate search for an elusive fugitive, or at least a part of him.

The humour, action and production are all very high quality throughout. The cast are all excellent, and in addition to the leads we are treated to Kyle MacLachlan, Sarita Choudhury, Michael Rapaport and the booming voice of Matt Berry.

Amazon have dropped the entire season at launch so bingers can do all eight episodes in a single sitting, presumably fuelled by copious amounts of Nuka Cola and Cram (just two of the many stimulants Fallout’s wastelanders survive on).

Lucy (Ella Purnell) explores the wasteland

The dystopian adventure has received such a strong response that a second season has already been commissioned, as was the case with fellow game adaptation The Last Of Us last year.

On this basis I’m hopeful that it’s only a matter of time before Netflix announce a sixteen part dramatization of classic platformer Chuckie Egg.

What next?

If you enjoyed Fallout you should try out the following box sets:

The Last Of Us (Sky / Now TV)

The original mainstream megabucks videogame adaptation, The Last Of Us showed categorically that if a story is good enough, and well made enough, millions will tune in whether it originally started life as a Harlen Coben screenplay, a video game or a child’s toy.
The Last Of Us set the bar pretty high, and there’s lots to enjoy as Ellie and Joel pick their way through the zombie apocalypse.

Yellowjackets (Sky / Now TV)

Eagle eyed readers will recall that Yellowjackets has previously popped up as a ‘What next?’ suggestion, but if you’re after more Ella Purnell then it really is the best place to turn, and I’m never going to pass up an opportunity to recommend this excellent show.

Yellowjackets tells the tale of a girls football team that get lost in the woods after a plane crash in the 1990s and have to do whatever it takes to survive. It’s Lord Of The Flies meets Mean Girls, and every bit as grizzly as Fallout.

The Boys (Amazon Prime)

The Boys is another of Amazon’s big TV franchises, and stylistically it has a lot in common with Fallout. The violence is equally over the top, and it has a similar sense of humour… but for me it lacks the heart of Fallout.
The Boys is set in an alternative world where superheroes exist to help mankind, on their own terms. How the all powerful beings cope with their gifts is where the drama ultimately lies, and as you can probably imagine it isn’t always pretty.

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