The latest of game-to-screen adaptations, Prime series Fallout tells the story of a future Los Angeles destroyed by a nuclear bomb, forcing civilization to live in underground vaults. But rather than borrowing its plot from one of the existing games by Bethesda, the show presents an all-new story and takes place in 2296, making the games part of the show’s past, although they are considered part of the canon. The show will return for a second season thanks to its success, as it was Amazon’s second-most-watched show ever.




One of the most fun parts of TV adaptations, especially when the source material is a video game, is Easter eggs, subtle references fans will recognize. The Fallout series is no exception. Even though the show is telling its own standalone story, elements of the games can be found in seemingly every frame. It’s full of references, from food items to the music which plays throughout, plus references to the larger story.

Fallout TV Show New Poster

Fallout

Release Date
April 11, 2024

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Seasons
1

Creator(s)
Graham Wagner , Geneva Robertson-Dworet

Producer
Lisa Joy, Jonathan Nolan

Streaming Service(s)
Prime Video



10 Music

Episode 1, “The End”

Ella Purnell, Michael Emerson, and Dale Dickey in Fallout Episode 2
Image via Prime Video

The Fallout game series has made good use of pop music from the ‘50s in particular, with songs by artists like Nat King Cole are played heavily on radio stations coming through the player’s Pip-Boy. Much of that same music has returned for the series, starting in the first episode with “Orange Colored Sky,” and fits right in with the retro-futuristic setting. The series also includes multiple songs by The Ink Spots, who were also featured in the games.

A well-chosen needle drop can only enhance any given scene in television and film, but the music choices are even more poignant in Fallout. Many of the songs and artists are familiar to those who have played the games, meaning they go beyond just setting the tone. “Orange Colored Sky” in particular appeared in advertising for Fallout: Vegas, plus the games Fallout 4 and Fallout 76. But perhaps the most notable song included in the series is The Ink Spots’ “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire.”


9 Vault-Tec Bobbleheads

Episode 1, “The End”

Vault Tec Bobblehead in Fallout
Image via Prime Video

Vault-Tec bobbleheads are collectible items in every single Fallout game, with the exception of New Vegas, where they’re referenced in files but don’t actually appear. The bobbleheads help players gain special perks. Similarly, Vault-Tec bobbleheads can be seen throughout the Fallout series. The series also presents the backstory of the iconic Vault Boy, who functions as the series mascot, and his thumbs-up, and actor Cooper Howard (Walton Goggins) is shown making the gesture in a Vault-Tec commercial.

Vault Boy is an instantly recognizable icon of Fallout, so it’s no surprise that he appears in the show, and the thumbs-up and origin story are added bonuses. And much like the Vault-Tec bobbleheads show up everywhere in the games, they’re also all over the place in the series. The first one can be seen in the first episode in the quarters of Vault 33’s Overseer, and they pop up elsewhere consistently.


8 “Please Stand By”

Episode 1, “The End”

Please Stand By in Fallout
Image via Prime Video 

In the first episode of Fallout, titled “The End,” Vault 33 is attacked by Raiders, who infiltrate, ruin Lucy’s wedding and kill a lot of people in the process. As a result of the attack, the vault’s Telesonic Projector is damaged by gunfire, so rather than continuing to display Nebraska’s countryside, it displays a message reading, “Please stand by,” in black and white. This display can also be seen throughout the games.

The “please stand by” phrase is as much an iconic element of Fallout as the thumbs-up Vault Boy logo is, and its appearance in the show serves as a great reference to the games. At the beginning of a few games within the series, the screen is one of the first things players see, and it also appears when beginning a new game or loading one already in progress, making it a fitting touch for the first episode.


7 Pip-Boy

Episodes 1 and 2: “The End, and “The Target”

Pip Boy in Fallout
Image via Prime Video

In Fallout 76, players are equipped with Pip-Boys, smartphone-like wrist-mounted computers with a number of features, from entertainment like video games to useful information like medical stats. Those Pip-Boys are also part of the Fallout series, with a style very similar to the game, and they’re first seen in the very first episode as Lucy’s little brother, Norm, plays a game on one, and they appear again in the second episode, hanging in Ma’s Sundries.

Pip-Boys appear frequently throughout Fallout, and viewers see much of what makes them so useful. While the Pip-Boys themselves aren’t much of an Easter egg, how they’re used, and what they display, sometimes is. In one instance, Norm is playing the game Atomic Command, a playable mini-game in Fallout 4, and later, when he needs to hack into a Vault terminal, the process is just like another mini-game. In addition, the Pip-Boy in Ma’s Sundries is specifically the Pip-Boy 2000 Mark VI model from Fallout 76.


6 Vaults

Episodes 1 and 8, “The End” and “The Beginning”

The Vault in Fallout
Image via Prime Video 

In Fallout, a series of underground vaults were built to ensure humanity’s survival, and after the nuclear bomb detonates, the series picks up years later with Vault 33. Four of the Fallout games begin with players in a vault. But the vaults are for more than just survival—Vault-Tec also used them as experiments in both the games and the show, and episode 8 shows discussions about how to use them.

Vault 33 was never shown in the original Fallout video games, helping establish the fact the show has its own unique story while still referencing the game and pulling from its lore. The cultures of the different vaults are also a fascinating piece of plotting and world building for the show. All vaults mentioned during Vault-Tec’s meeting in episode 8 were taken from the games and include the intentionally overcrowded Vault 27, Super Mutants in Vault 87, children only in Vault 29 and more.


5 Weapons

Episodes 2 and 4, “The Target” and “The Ghouls”

The famed gun of Fallout
Image via Prime Video 

In Episode 2, “The Target,” Maximus is seen using a Colt 6520 10mm—familiar to Fallout players as the first gun used in the original game from 1997. Similarly, in Episode 4, Lucy is forced to defend herself from a ghoul, so she reaches for the closest weapon, which happens to be a 10mm pistol. It’s the same gun from Fallout 4. Later in the series, Lucy also uses the handheld vibroblade called the Ripper.

Both weapons are subtle nods to the Fallout games, and they’re easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. It’s a nice touch for the fans, and it’s also a reminder of the show’s roots in not just a video game, but that’s because it also has elements of a first-person shooter. It’s easy for viewers to put themselves in Lucy’s shoes and imagine picking up a gun to take down a ghoul.


4 Gameplay

Episode 1, “The End”

Ella Purnell as Lucy, smiling in an office, in her Vault-Tec jumpsuit.
Image via Prime Video

Each Fallout game begins with character creation, where players distribute points among a number of traits—Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck, or the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system, also used by Vault Dwellers to evaluate children. The system is referenced during Lucy’s introduction in the very first episode. In addition, as in nearly all video games, Fallout players can heal their injuries with stimpacks, which can also be seen throughout the series.

Like the weapons used in Fallout, the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system and stimpacks are a reminder of the show’s origins as a video game. While the series could have easily left them out, the fact that they didn’t make for a fun Easter egg and a nod to the fans. The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system is also a nice piece of characterization, especially as it comes early in the series when the audience is first meeting Lucy.


3 Jet

Episode 1, “The End”

Jet from Fallout
Image via Prime Video 

In the first episode of Fallout, among the many characters introduced are the Raiders. One in particular is shown using an inhaler to use a drug known in the game series as jet, which is an extremely addictive hallucinogen and helps during gameplay by increasing a player’s strength and skills in combat. Its exact effects vary in each game, and it is created from the fumes of the dung of brahmin, mutated cattle.

Jet was just one of a number of Easter eggs in the first episode of Fallout, and it was a great reference to the games, as well as good characterization for the raiders, including the Ghoul, who is also shown using the drug. It’s just one of many elements of the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout and one which takes an element of gameplay and makes it part of the story.


2 Hank’s Code

Episode 8, “The Beginning”

The Code in Fallout
Image via Prime Video

Throughout Fallout, Wilzig’s severed head is an item coveted by multiple different characters, each for their own reasons, but what makes it so valuable is it contains a cold-fusion particle which can only be activated with a numeric code. Moldaver tells Lucy she needs to get that access code from a Vault-Tec employee, and Hank is able to provide it. He enters the code, 101097, into his computer at the NCR compound.

While some Easter eggs in Fallout are easier to spot, this one isn’t so obvious and requires some knowledge of the game’s history. The code Hank enters to activate the cold fusion—101097—corresponds to a date, October 10, 1997, the date the very first Fallout game was released. Many of the show’s Easter eggs refer back to later games, so the code is a nice acknowledgment of the franchise’s origins.


1 TV Commercials

Episode 1, “The End”

The Commercials in Fallout
Image via Prime Video 

Where the Fallout game begins with the player emerging from a vault, the show begins earlier, at a child’s birthday party; but despite the cheerful and normal occasion, there are hints that something is amiss. TV news broadcasts indicate the president has been taken to a “secret location,” while the weatherman feels his job is now pointless because a nuclear attack is imminent and humanity may not even exist in a week’s time.

The TV broadcast helps lay the groundwork for the plot and foreshadows what is to come in Fallout, but it also features Easter eggs hinting at the game. The TV broadcasts are similar to ones in Fallout 4, which also begins before the bombs fall. But the best Easter eggs are the commercials for Nuka Cola and Sugar Bombs cereal, both foods from the Fallout universe, and Grognak and the Ruby Ruins, a playable game in Fallout 4.


Fallout can be streamed on Prime Video in the U.S.

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