Nuka-Cola fans rejoice, a Fallout TV series is on the way. As previously reported, Amazon have picked up the rights and the show will be overseen by Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.
Details are scarce right now, which means this is the best time to start speculating and hoping and crossing our fingers. Bethesda may have lost a certain amount of goodwill with the fans thanks to some Fallout 76-related blunders, but that doesn’t mean the beloved franchise can’t flourish in a new medium. Here’s 5 things we want to see in the new series.
1. A New Story
The Fallout stories are mostly great. One lone wanderer against the world, taking on mutant overlords hell-bent on converting humans into a race of supermutants. Playing local warring factions off against each other, only to swoop in and take control of the precious city for yourself. Searching for your kidnapped son when you occasionally remember he exists, in between endless settlement building and fetch-quests. All classics.
But the retro-futuristic world of Fallout is ripe with potential for so much more, especially as a TV series. We could explore the life of a raider in more depth, giving them a new personal angle beyond the nameless mooks we gun down in the game. We could see what happened in the run-up to the bombs dropping, perhaps with running past and future narratives and a ghoul character bridging the gap in between.
We could even see vault life just after the doors seal, and follow a group of people who realise they’re never going to see the sun again. Just don’t give us a story we’ve already played.
2. A Gorgeous Setting
The defining characteristic of the franchise is its post-apocalyptic setting. Bombed out buildings, rusting shells of cars, civilisation in tatters. While graphics limitations may have made some of the early-to-middle games look a bit flat (looking at you, Fallout 3’s various shades of grey and brown), the jump in quality with Fallout 4 and 76 has given us some beautifully varied settings. The cities and towns are blasted and decrepit, but the countryside is eye-meltingly beautiful.
With the cinematic scope that high-end TV production values offer now, there’s no excuse for setting the story entirely in an ugly, ash-smeared urban sprawl. No doubt that’ll serve part of the story well, but give us the irradiated fog and forests of the countryside. Give us mountains, coastlines, the lakes. If you have to choose a setting from the games then give us the heart-aching beauty of Appalachia, not the eye-aching mess of Washington DC.
Exploring a ruined city will be a thrill, but there’s no need for the future to be so drab all the time. Give us some hope.
3. Wild and Wonderful Creatures
Radiation is such a wonderful MacGuffin. Thanks to ’50s B-movies, everyone knows that one small leak is all it takes, then before you know it there’s colossal bugs and lizards and people running all over the place. Part of Fallout’s charm is its retro-futurism, the idea that this is a future world extrapolated from the wonders of the atomic age had we embraced the vacuum tube over the microchip. As such, its world is chock full of supermutants, fire-breathing ants and hideous monsters galore. And megasloths, who have never done anything wrong in their life and I won’t hear a word said against them.
Chernobyl was a phenomenal show, but it would be a mistake for the writers to take their cue from that and make a more realistic, grounded world. To stay true to the Fallout spirit, you need to embrace the wackiness of its premise.
Perhaps colossal radiation-spewing bats might be a tad too far, but what would Fallout be without the humble radroach? The burrowing molerats? The tanks-with-teeth deathclaws? They’re as much a part of the world as the raiders and ghouls, and if the show does away with them for budgetary reasons or to focus on humans alone, then they’ll be doing the source material a grave disservice.
4. A Barbed Satire of Capitalism
In between setting the world to rights, toppling the bad guys, and rebuilding civilisation one settlement at a time (ok, Preston, I’m coming, calm down), there’s nothing like hacking into a terminal and reading a dead guy’s mail. It’s part of the deep lore, the rich background history that informs the story in the games. Here you can learn about the ins and outs of office politics, how squabbles in vaults were mediated, and how Vault-Tec and RobCo Industries are simply The Worst.
Social engineering, corporate espionage, corner-cutting, a complete disregard for health and safety standards, union-busting – you name it, these two companies have done it, squashing down the little man and pursuing the almighty dollar. And look at the world that they got in return.
Now more than ever, we could use a cautionary tale about Capitalism Gone Bad. By the time this show is made and airs we will have hopefully come through one of the darkest periods in recent memory, a time when disaster capitalism is rife. There’s no need to recap it all here, we’re living it right now, and there’s lessons to be learned and woven into the art we produce in this period.
The Fallout world can serve as a stark warning: it’s easy to imagine a near-future world where poorly-made robots replace workers and cause industrial chaos, or where people are used in social experiments to provide data for long-dead scientists. If art reflects life, then now is the perfect time to hold up a Fallout-shaped mirror.
This one’s a no-brainer. Every lone wanderer needs a trusty canine companion, and no companion is more loyal than the first Fallout’s Dogmeat. Included as a reference to Mad Max 2, this lovable guy will follow you to the ends of the post-apocalyptic Earth if you toss him some Iguana-on-a-Stick, and he’ll savage your enemies mercilessly. He proved so popular that he was brought back as an Easter Egg in Fallout 2, and subsequent canine companions have taken on his name in his honour.
Dogmeat is as iconic a part of the Fallout franchise as the blue jumpsuit with yellow lettering. If they don’t include Dogmeat then the consequences will be dire, the fans will cry, and the internet’s fanfiction forums will groan under the weight of thousands of fix-it fics. Is that what you want, Amazon? I think not. Do the right thing. Give us our Dogmeat.
It’s going to be an exciting time as we wait to see what we can expect from this new series. I sincerely hope they stick to the spirit of the games as I’ve suggested above, but what do you want to see in the new series? Let us know in the comments.