Four Things Netflix Can Learn From the Success of the Fallout TV Show

Amazon’s Fallout show has been a resounding success. While it’s not perfect by any means, the series has seen mostly positive feedback, with over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and generally favorable user reviews on Metacritic.

Compared to the abysmal renditions of two other recent shows related to popular video games, Halo and The Witcher, it’s a goddamn masterpiece. 

And at the end of the day, the Fallout show is fun to watch, whether you’ve played the games or not. Here are four things that Netflix can learn from the Fallout adaptation for its future Witcher content. 

Don’t Do Ridiculous Race Swaps

Many fans of the Witcher books and games ridiculed Netflix’s race swaps in the show, and rightly so. 

That’s why it’s great to see Fallout not make the same mistake. To be fair, the fact that the show is set after the Fallout games and doesn’t really showcase any existing characters makes that easier. But they could have easily ruined the casting. 

The funny thing is, Amazon Studios, the producers of Fallout, even has a commitment for each “film or series with a creative team of three or more people in above-the-line roles (Directors, Writers, Producers) should ideally include a minimum 30% women and 30% members of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group…” But even with that pledge, they did a far greater job with casting than Netflix’s Witcher.

One Good Actor Can’t Carry the Whole Show

You know who we’re talking about. In Fallout, it’s of course Walton Goggins, who does an incredible job playing the hilarious, charismatic Ghoul. 

But there are plenty of other great performances, like the masterful Michael Emerson and even the relative newcomer Ella Purnell who plays Lucy MacLean. Overall, the cast is solid. 

In comparison, The Witcher is mostly carried by Henry Cavill. Again, we’re not going to pretend he’s perfect, and many have criticized Cavill for being too stiff for the role. But he still did a solid job and is clearly a passionate fan of the franchise.

While there are some other solid performances, like MyAnna Buring as Tissaia de Vries and Anya Chalotra as Yennefer, on the whole, the acting in Netflix’s Witcher isn’t the greatest

Respect The Existing Lore

Both The Witcher and Fallout are based on rich, unique lore that’s been built up over several decades. There are so many instances of the Netflix show screwing up the lore we could write a whole article. 

Suffice to say, many characters (like Eskel) had their personalities and motivations completely butchered, in addition to the previously mentioned race swaps. The writers even managed to mess up small details, like the scrotum NIlfgaardian armor in the show’s first season. 

In contrast, Fallout has been largely faithful to the lore, including the costumes, technology, factions, and more. They also did a great job of sprinkling little references and details, like the water chip from Fallout 1 and hiding from a nuclear blast in a fridge.

Nothing Trumps Good Writing

I already touched on this in the previous points, but as with many shows, the most important thing is the quality of the writing. Even if you have a great cast, a high budget, and solid acting, you can’t do much with a poorly written script. 

Perhaps the best example is the disappointing conclusion to HBO’s Game of Thrones (let’s not even go there). 

Poor writing is, without a doubt, the biggest problem with Netflix’s Witcher. Lauren Hissrich and her writers did a horrendous job, which is somewhat of a feat given the high quality of the material they had to work with.

All they had to do was remain faithful to the Witcher books, changing only the things that wouldn’t fit well into a TV show format. 

Now, Fallout is by no means a masterpiece. It’s got plenty of faults, including some flat dialogue and perhaps a bit too much humor. But the writing is solid enough to create a believable world and interesting characters. And at the end of the day, it’s a fun show set in a unique world we want to learn more about. 

I sincerely hope the next Witcher show or film we get is closer in quality to Amazon’s Fallout. It doesn’t need to copy its dark humor or over-the-top visuals, but it could use a bit of respect for the source material.

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