The new Fallout TV series looks like a bright and colorful post-apocalypse—and thank god for that

At last we’ve gotten some official images of Amazon’s Fallout TV series, thanks to a behind the scenes look by Vanity Fair. Along with more information about the show and story and some quotes from Todd Howard and director Johnathan Nolan, we got to feast our eager eyes on pictures of the characters, some power armor, a massive Brotherhood of Steel airship, and the post-apocalyptic world at large.

And what a relief—it all looks great.

The first thing that strikes me about the new Fallout TV series is that almost every photo is bright and colorful. This is a pretty stark contrast to most post-apocalyptic shows, movies, and games—Fallout itself included. The color palette in the new images veers closer to Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City than grim and gray films like The Book of Eli or The Road, or shows like The Walking Dead. The world of Fallout looks warm and inviting here—there are healthy green trees in the background, there’s a shot of a blue sky, and there’s bright sunlight in just about every image. See, even when billions perish in a nuclear holocaust, earth is still a nice place to visit if you just wait 219 years.

Not that this handful of pictures mean the entire show will look this way. If I had to guess, these shots are all from the first couple of episodes where our protagonist Lucy leaves Vault 33 and ventures out into the California wasteland, finding her way to a junkyard town called “Philly” and meeting a bounty hunting ghoul (not-so-creatively called “The Ghoul”) played by Walton Goggins. 

But honestly, if all of the episodes have this bright and warm feel to them, I’ll be perfectly happy. I can’t take another slog through a bleak, gray-colored post-apocalyptic world. Even the Fallout games get to be a bit much after a while, and it bothers me how cruddy some of the locations in the games look, especially towns and settlements. 

I know it’s the post-apocalypse, but brooms still exist. People would clean up their homes and towns and there wouldn’t be grungy trash piles absolutely everywhere hundreds of years after the bombs fell. Players agree: that’s why there are mods to remove thousands of pieces of clutter and crap in Fallout 4.

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Even the picture of Walton Goggins’ character sitting outside a junk-filled workshop in Philly makes the place look bright and warm. There’s a pile of garbage in the background, yes, but it’s crisp and clean clutter. A picture of Lucy looking over the town shows a nearly pristine airplane cockpit perched on a roof and a sheetmetal tavern in the background—mess, but of a charming fashion. Put it this way: if there were ever a Fallout theme park, this is what it’d look like, and I’m into that aesthetic. These new photos give me the impression of a semi-goofy world, and since I’m hoping the series will lean more into humor than horror, it’s a good choice.

Even Goggins’ character, a centuries-old ghoul who had his flesh fried by radiation, looks pretty cuddly. In the Vanity Fair article Nolan says it’s because you don’t want to cover the face of such an expressive actor with pounds of plastic, but not making Goggins’ face completely gross also adds to the inviting feel of the world. “I need to be able to see Walton and his performance, he needs to look like a Ghoul from the game, and he needs to be kind of hot,” Nolan told Vanity Fair. I’d say he hit pretty close to the mark.

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

The most exciting image is of the Caswennan, the massive Brotherhood of Steel airship that looks almost exactly like the flagship Prydwen from Fallout 4. With vertibirds swarming around it, it looks absolutely gigantic hovering in the sky above a bunch of Brotherhood grunts. That, plus several images of power armor make me think a good portion of the show will be devoted to the militaristic culture of the BoS. I wound up hating the BoS in the Fallout games I’ve played, but how can you not be stoked to see them clomping around in armor and flying around in airships, especially when the images look so faithful to the game designs?

As great as this all looks, it’s not a good idea to get too excited about a handful of images. We’ll have to wait until the show is out in April to see if it’s actually good and not just good looking. This is Amazon Studios, after all, who recently threw a billion dollars at The Rings of Power, which also looked fantastic—but was so dull I never even finished watching the series. Hopefully Fallout’s script will be as high-quality as these first few images. 

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

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