Critics Have Seen Amazon’s Fallout Series, And Fans Of The Games Should Be Ready To Chug A Nuka Cola In Celebration

 Kyle MacLachlan smiles at the microphone in Fallout.
Kyle MacLachlan smiles at the microphone in Fallout.

Whenever a video game like Fallout or The Last of Us finds itself adapted into a new medium, the lead up to its TV debut is as anxious as trying to get into the Vaults after a nuclear blast. The 2024 TV schedule will be giving loyalists of Bethesda’s legendary gaming franchise the chance to see if the team behind this bold exercise have stuck the landing soon enough. And after the initial wave of Fallout fan reactions to the first two episodes, critics are now weighing in with their feelings of the entire first season.

At the time of this writing, the results are overwhelmingly positive, with the RT score of the Fallout show coming in at 91%, with 35 scores in thus far. The good news is that if you’re a fan of the games, you should be primed to chug a Nuka Cola in delight. However, in the dissenting opinions provided at the moment, it sounds like people who aren’t into this property might not be so pleased.

We’ll start our critical roundup with Tanner Dedmon from As someone who sounds like they’re very much in the camp of existing Fallout fans, Dedmon praises creators Geneva Robertson-Dworet & Graham Wagner for sticking that landing.

More specifically, Tanner’s cites authenticity as a huge win for this Prime Video subscription driver. Here’s part of his rundown:

…the show's creators have done such an impeccable job fleshing out the world of Fallout that it feels like the characters are treading stories and quests you've experienced yourself in one way or another. By staying faithful enough to the source material to earn any liberties it takes with the world of Fallout, the show has once again raised the bar for what a video game adaptation can look like.

Meanwhile, on the more negative side of things, The Playlist’s Rodrigo Perez was not taken by the admittedly very specific tonal balancing act the Fallout franchise has always tried to pull off. In his write-up, the criticisms for the efforts of executive producer Jonathan Nolan and his collaborators can be summed up as follows:

“Fallout” amounts to its Vault Boy concept art—the Monopoly-aesthetic-looking smiley thumbs-up character the game is famous for— with blood splattered on top of the colorful image as if that ironic disparity is meant to be enough. It’s not.

As someone who’s a fan of the Fallout games, and the handful of episodes I was able to watch before today’s embargo lift, I can see where outsiders might not warm up to this wasteland. While I would lovingly describe this series as Dr. Strangelove meets The Searchers, that’s not something that automatically screams mass appeal.

Kate Sánchez from But Why Tho? provides even better commentary to hammer home that point, while also encouraging newcomers to take a stroll with Walton Goggins' Ghoul and company, with these remarks:

Truth be told, the Fallout TV series succeeds in the same way that animated series like Castlevania and Arcane did. Its source material doesn’t hold it back. Instead, it’s emboldened by it. Fallout is just a damn good sci-fi series, regardless of the lore that already exists.

Shifting back to the more critical side of things, Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone was not a fan, offering another seemingly rare pan for Fallout in its initial appraisal. His attitude towards this initial eight-episode run mirrors some of the other criticism shared by fellow detractors, as seen here:

An arch and overly-familiar series, with enough interesting performances and background details to keep it from being a waste of time, but not enough spark of its own to be fully satisfying.

Closing out this rodeo of revelry is The Daily Beast’s Nick Schager, who is also firmly Team Fallout. Making smart references to two vital crafting materials from the game series, Nick takes us home with these final remarks:

At once accessible and intricate, familiar and unique, it blends brutality, romance, intrigue and wide-eyed awe—and unites man, machine and mutant—to craft a mesmerizing fantasy of the end-times, and all the wild delirium that follows it.

Was Fallout ever going to be for everyone? Probably not, as even previous acclaimed series involving Jonathan Nolan, like Westworld and The Peripheral, have been knocked and uplifted in good measure. But at the same time, seeing overwhelming love from the fans, and critics that are connected to the material, is something that warms my heart like the glow of a Radiation King TV.

You won’t have to wait long to make up your own mind on this new contender for the best video game series! All eight episodes of Fallout’s first season in post-apocalyptia debut tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET, only on Prime Video. Oh, and one last note of advice: this show is bloody as hell. So if you’re squeamish about the old blood and guts, you’ve been warned. Until next time children, this is CinemaBlend; bringing you the truth, no matter how bad it hurts.