After Nuclear War, The 'Fallout' Future Looks Grim

We are a little more than three months into 2024 and if short-term memory serves, Prime Video’s “Fallout” may be the first apocalyptic drama of the year.

That seems like a change from the past several years -- when dramas about the end of the world and what happens afterward seemed to arrive every couple of weeks or so and in the process, provided grist for many of these TV blogs.

The good news about “Fallout” is that TV’s obsession with world destruction and its survivors is in capable hands.

The eight-part series is a spinoff of the “Fallout” video game that was first released in 1997 and then reportedly became hugely popular.

With its origins in the video game world, the development of the “Fallout” TV series may have been inspired by “The Last of Us,” the apocalyptic series that premiered on HBO last year that was also developed from a video game.



“The Last of Us” was one of the best new series of 2023.

“Fallout” stands a good chance of earning the same sobriquet for 2024. The series takes place in the year 2296 (as far as I can determine), 219 years after a nuclear exchange between the U.S. and someone else (in the video game, it’s China).

At the outset, we first see the mushroom clouds of 2077, and then the series flashes forward to a community in the 23rd century working to reestablish the human race and the norms -- such as they were -- of the very distant past.

To say much more has the potential to spoil the unspooling of the story in Episode One, previewed by the TV Blog.

But it gives almost nothing away to say that the residents of this sheltered, planned community will soon come into contact with groups living outside of any norms, much less the ones imagined from two centuries previously.

The first episode sets up a number of subplots involving various groups that have formed in the 200 years of the post-apocalyptic era. 

With the exception of two of them, how these groups will intersect and interact with each other going forward was not revealed in Episode One.

In its use of groups and subgroups rising from the ashes of nuclear war, “Fallout” borrows from previous renderings of a future world after a catastrophe.

Most memorably, the tribal landscape of the “Mad Max” movies come to mind. But “Fallout” stands on its own, thanks to an attention to detail that renders its various settings and storylines plausible.

In the show, the isolated community at the center of the story lives a lifestyle that has more in common with the 1950s than the presumably modern, technological world of 2077.

That’s because the high-tech world mankind enjoyed in the second half of the 21st century was destroyed by some of that very technology.

The star of the show is Ella Purnell (photo above) as “Lucy,” who becomes the first resident of the closed community in which she grew up to venture out into the outside world.

She is on a mission to find her father (played by Kyle MacLachlan). Also in the standout cast: Walton Goggins as a survivor from the 21st century with a 200-year-old chip on his shoulder.

“Fallout” starts streaming on Wednesday, April 10, on Amazon Prime Video.

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