Why Did Amazon Dump Fallout All at Once?

Way to waste the wasteland.

Prime Video

Fallout was made to be savored. The series, created by Westworld masterminds Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, played out over eight episodes, each peeling away a new layer from a devastating central mystery. There were flashbacks, side quests, and multiple storylines — everything you could possibly want from a video game adaptation.

But instead of this series taking over the conversation for months, like other megahit prestige sci-fi show like The Mandalorian or The Boys, all eight Fallout episodes were available simultaneously. Suddenly, viewers were pulling all-nighters to watch the show as soon as possible, and the conversation surrounding the show was disjointed because everyone seemed to be at a different point in the show.

There’s no point in theorizing about Hank MacLean’s true identity because the episode where it’s revealed is already out.

Prime Video

But why would Amazon Prime Video take this seemingly counter-productive approach with a show primed to start conversation? Probably because of a lack of confidence. While Netflix has stuck to binge-style releases from its conception and Max and Disney+ tend to lean more toward weekly releases, Prime Video is somewhere in the middle. Legacy releases and franchise shows are often released every week, but it’s not uncommon for a new show to be released all at once.

The Boys is a great example of this. The Prime Video superhero series is now one of the streamer’s biggest successes, but at first, it was a risky ultra-violent answer to the MCU. While Seasons 2 and 3 of the show were released weekly with three-episode premieres, Season 1 was released all at once in 2019. But by the time Gen V premiered, the franchise was strong enough to give the young-adult spinoff of the series a weekly release.

But Fallout apparently has to prove its worth with a binge release first. It’s definitely the least risky option — viewers are more likely to stick with a show if they can watch all of it at once and not have to wait — but it means the impact of the greater cultural conversation isn’t as large. There’s no time to theorize or speculate because the answers are only a click away.

Fallout has the one-episode characters and storylines of a weekly release series.

Prime Video

Despite all this, Fallout is designed like a weekly release show. Every episode begins with a “Previously On” recap sequence, and the storytelling itself is episodic — existing as a self-contained adventure — more than just chapters in an eight-hour-long story. The episodes end with a cliffhanger, teasing a future quest or just letting a big reveal linger.

With a binge model release, this distinction can get lost. If you watch the first four episodes all in one sitting, it can be difficult to differentiate between the chapters and everything starts to blur together. With a weekly release, every episode is allowed to shine on its own terms, and small quirks — like how Maximus doesn’t appear in Episode 4 at all — become obvious.

But with a Season 2 renewal seemingly looming on the horizon like a mushroom cloud, Fallout may be able to appear as originally intended, eventually. Hopefully, the discussion caused by this adaptation proves that the audience is there, and they’re more than willing to wait for the series if it means it has time to build excitement and give its viewers time to form their own conclusions about the mysteries and the characters.

Fallout is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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