With Fallout 4 incoming (November 10th) and DLC likely planned throughout the year to come, and fan interest at its highest, there’s never been a better time to introduce a Fallout TV series. Now before you go pooh poohing the idea, because video game movies tend to suck, let’s remember that not all of them do. In fact, it’s the few that do well that give us hope. And let’s also remember that comic book movies used to be a mixed bag as well (some of them still suck). It’s only a matter of time before this geek genre of film and television catches fire in similar fashion to their comic brethren. And a television show can do far better justice to material that takes a gamer 15-30 hours to complete than a movie that’s over in around 2 hours.
Aside from Syfy’s Defiance (which was released with a video game tie-in, rather than being based on a game series) and a few webseries (Felicia Day’s Dragon Age: Redemption and Wayside Creation’s Fallout: Nuka break) there really hasn’t been a serious live action TV show based on a game series. Yet the Fallout series has always been a well fleshed out, visually appealing series with interesting characters and numerous well written storylines. The series has also attracted a wealth of well known actors to provide their voices for the many roles required (Ron Perlman, Liam Neeson, Malcolm McDowell, Wayne Newton and Zachary Levi just to name a few).
The Fallout series and its aesthetic has served as inspiration to many filmmakers and TV show producers (aside from the aforementioned unassociated Fallout webseries). The Book of Eli is perhaps the most blatant look-a-like, but even this year’s Z for Zachariah had elements borrowed from the Fallout series (specifically the counterpoint of its happy-go-lucky old timey music set against a backdrop of nuclear devastation). The CW’s The 100 is a similar post apocalyptic setting as well, although as usual with The CW it tends to be about pretty teens. Nevertheless, shows like Defiance and The 100 can be seen as proof of concept for Fallout the TV series.
Yet for those still in doubt, let’s look more specifically as to why Fallout would make a great TV series.
Zombies and Post Apocalyptic tales are in:
From Dawn of the Dead to The Walking Dead stories about the struggle to survive in a world overrun with zombies have continued to grow in popularity. The mindless, feral ghouls in Fallout that have become zombie-esque husks due to overexposure to radiation are the terrifying equivalent here. These creatures, along with insects and other smaller creatures that have mutated to a much larger version of their former selves make the wasteland an inhospitable environment, even if not for the pockets of radiation and burned out buildings. Worse yet are the enormous, sentient Super Mutants and their brethren the Nightkin who are well aware that they’re attacking humans foolish enough to explore the wasteland.
Factions and struggles for power:
We’ve all loved the diverse range of Game of Thrones and all its power plays. There’s House Stark, Baratheon, Bolton, Lannister, Martell, Targaryen, battling for power while the Night’s Watch defends against the Wildlings, and of course all of them fear the mythical White Walkers (zombies again!). Fallout has easily as many or more factions and each of them have their own purposes, and most of them don’t seem to get along. Fallout: New Vegas found the main character (the courier) trapped in the middle of a Game of Thrones style power struggle, with the option to help or backstab anyone at any time. Each game has presented sizeable maps, whether it’s Las Vegas, Washington D.C., or Boston, there’s no shortage of locations a TV series could go.
Aside from the ones I’ve already mentioned, of course, Sci-Fi is expanding its audience. Movies like The Martian and Interstellar (not to mention the soon to be released Star Wars: The Force Awakens) have made stories involving space travel cool for mainstream audiences. One of the more curious and fascinating elements of Fallout is that aliens exist. One of the DLC’s for Fallout 3 took players aboard a spaceship and required them and the other captives to escape before the aliens did unspeakable things to them.
Issues of the day:
Marvel’s super hero films, the rebooted Bond films, the latest Mission Impossible, even Mad Max: Fury Road have benefited by making elements of their story reflect the issues we’re all too familiar with. Mad Max: Fury Road specifically targeted water shortage, our over-reliance on gasoline, and women’s roles in society. In Fallout’s post apocalypse clean water is a valued commodity, strong female characters abound, and slavers exist to make the lives of the people living in hell a living hell.
Attention to detail is something Bethesda prides themselves on. Very often just entering a building and glancing around the room will tell a story just by the objects found and state of the room. With touches like this, Bethesda and their writers are clearly clever enough to design or approve a story worthy of being told on the small screen. Now all we need is someone with the budget and freedom from usual television restrictions like HBO or Netflix to reach out to Bethesda. And for Bethesda, it can’t hurt to have more eyes on your product. A Fallout 4 advertisement before or after each episode wouldn’t hurt either.
It isn’t as though gamers won’t be busy playing the game once it hits store shelves, but it’d be nice to stay within the universe in between bouts of exploration. If Defiance can be made alongside a crappy tie-in game, and video game films continue to fail, it seems gamers have been criminally underserved by the powers that be. It’s time to correct that.