Maximus in cropped promotional artwork for Fallout Season 1

Fallout Needs to Get Weirder in Season 2

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Fallout Season 1.

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Fallout Season 2 is officially happening, and I’m as excited as everyone else. But I also have some notes for the second season – or rather, a single note: it’s time this video game adaptation got weird.

Related: 10 Shows Like Fallout If You’re Looking for Something Similar

Don’t get me wrong: Season 1 is undeniably quirky. There are kissing severed heads, chatty brains getting around on Roombas, finger-mouthed gulpers, and more besides. Plus, showrunners Graham Wagner and Geneva Robertson-Dworet have promised to double down on Fallout Season 1’s more outrageous aspects in a joint statement after Amazon MGM Studios greenlit Season 2. That’s good to hear, as even the first season’s spiciest ingredients (cannibalism and incest) are still too tame.

Indeed, for Fallout to unlock its full potential, Season 2 needs to get a lot, lot weirder.

Recreating Fallout’s Unique Tone Is Tricky

If the prospect of bumping up Fallout‘s weirdness levels fills you with dread, rest easy: I’m not saying Season 2 should transform into a full-blown comedy or spoof. While the Fallout games have a sly sense of humor and are steeped in satire, they’re also distinctly grounded (unlike, say, the Borderlands franchise). They strike a unique tone – at once silly and sincere – that, to its credit, Season 1 largely nails. Wagner and Robertson-Dworet get that Fallout‘s Wasteland setting is a world in which the consequences of nuclear war and naked corporate greed butt up against chicken-lovin’ quacks and eccentric, violin-obsessed radio DJs.

Related: Sorry TLOU, Fallout Is Now the Best Video Game to TV Adaptation

Yet, for the most part, Fallout Season 1 plays things straight. Sure, it’s varying degrees of funny throughout, but most of its more bizarre business is essentially window dressing. And that makes sense, up to a point. After all, Wagner and Robertson-Dworet aren’t just catering to the Fallout faithful. They’ve got to onboard franchise newcomers, as well. Going too extreme too early could’ve driven these prospective fans away; better to ease them into the insanity. But now that everyone is up-to-speed with Fallout‘s tonal melange, it’s time to cut loose.

Wild Characters and Concepts Are Part of Fallout’s DNA

That means more than simply introducing live-action versions of hitherto absent, iconic beasties such as Deathclaws (although they’d certainly make a welcome addition to Season 2). Again, as fun as that stuff is, grotesque monsters are standard fare for the post-apocalyptic genre. No, what Wagner and Robertson-Dworet really need to do is mine Fallout canon for truly deranged inspiration. I’m talking Vaults full of psychotic clones that can only say the name “Gary.” Aliens arriving from outer space. Hippy ghouls launching into space. Office buildings haunted by Cthulu-lite horrors.

Related: 5 Questions We Still Have After Fallout Season 1

Admittedly, most (if not all) of the above is outlier content. It’s side quest, DLC, or event material and doesn’t necessarily reflect the grittier, less fantastical vibe of the Fallout franchise’s overarching story. Heck, you could go a whole series playthrough and never encounter a Gary clone or a little green man from Zeta. Yet these wild characters and concepts are intrinsically part of Fallout‘s DNA; Fallout wouldn’t be Fallout without them. As a result, the Prime Video show will never feel 100% like its source material until it incorporates some of Fallout‘s goofier lore.

Fallout’s Future Depends on How Bonkers It Gets

Vault 108's Gary clones in Fallout 3

There’s more than just fidelity at stake, though. The longevity of the Fallout show potentially hinges on Season 2 going a bit bananas, as well. Season 1’s antics may have already distanced Fallout from HBO’s The Last of Us and Paramount+’s Halo – both decidedly po-faced affairs – but to really stand out, to thrive even, Season 2 needs to go harder. To reiterate: I’m not arguing for Fallout to become a farce in its second batch of episodes. All I’m asking is for Wagner and Robertson-Dworet to take Fallout Season 1’s established OTT storytelling sensibility and ratchet it up even further.

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Not only will this give fans new and old the most faithful live-action Fallout adaptation imaginable, but it’ll help the series stand out from its closest competition. Done right, there isn’t any downside to Fallout Season 2 embracing the kookier corners of the franchise’s canon. And honestly? I expect it will. Indeed, given the potential benefits, any other approach would be downright weird.

Fallout Season 1 is now streaming on Prime Video. Season 2 does not yet have a release date.


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Author
Leon Miller
Leon is a freelance contributor at The Escapist, covering movies, TV, video games, and comics. Active in the industry since 2016, Leon's previous by-lines include articles for Polygon, Popverse, Screen Rant, CBR, Dexerto, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more.