Fallout TV Series

War. War never changes. But the television landscape sure does, because the thought of a show based on the Fallout video game series seemed downright impossible when the franchise debuted in 1997. But here we are: it’s 2020 and Amazon is bringing the post-apocalyptic science fiction story to the small screen, with Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy heading up the project.

The news was initially teased with a short teaser on Amazon Studios’ official Twitter feed. Utilizing the games’ trademark degraded retro-futurism, the teaser offers a slideshow filled with imagery that will be familiar to fans of the video games, revealing that game developer Bethesda is teaming up with Nolan and Joy’s Kilter Films to make the adaptation happen.

Set in a future ravaged by nuclear war, the Fallout video games task players with exploring a post-apocalyptic landscape, interacting with the remnants of civilization, scavenging for supplies, running away from mutant monsters that want to eat your guts, teaming up with Very Good Dogs, and shooting wasteland-dwelling raiders. Shooting lots and lots (and lots) of wasteland-dwelling raiders.

The Hollywood Reporter has further details, including this statement from Nolan and Joy:

“Fallout is one of the greatest game series of all time. Each chapter of this insanely imaginative story has cost us countless hours we could have spent with family and friends. So we’re incredibly excited to partner with Todd Howard and the rest of the brilliant lunatics at Bethesda to bring this massive, subversive, and darkly funny universe to life with Amazon Studios.”

While Nolan and Joy continue to work on Westworld for HBO, Fallout is the latest project in their expansive deal with Amazon, who has locked them up for the foreseeable future. While Nolan and Joy will produce, no other talent has been announced.

When it comes to providing fodder for a television adaptation, the Fallout games are more of a canvas than anything else. In both the early games and the newer ones, players have a great deal of control over the narrative. Are they a hero or a villain? Do they talk their way out of fights or go in guns blazing? Do they care about rebuilding civilization or do they simply want to survive? The real star of Fallout has been the setting: a ruined world struggling to get back on its feet, filled with all kinds of funny, tragic, frightening, and dramatic stories.

Maybe this is just what the Fallout franchise needs. The original games remain beloved, and Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas (the latter is one of the best video games ever made) reinvented the series for a new generation. Reaction to Fallout 4 was more mixed and the online-only Fallout 76 has been nothing short of a disaster, with news of its problems making headlines for months after release. If done well, a Fallout TV show could remind everyone why we fell in love with this world in the first place.

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