A series can be a success and at the same time a screw-up, especially when the opportunity cost of a production is taken into account. Fallout, for example, is an unquestionable success. It has enviable audiences on Prime Video and achieved the consensus of critics, who were captivated by the retrofuturist aesthetics, sense of humor and violence of the production. But, when you look at how the conversation between fans and the media has been channeled, the creation of Graham Wagner and Geneva Robertson-Dworet has been left halfway due to the wrong broadcast strategy on the part of the Amazon platform.

It is a recurring debate in the streaming universe: should series be broadcast week by week, in marathon form as Netflix implemented or with a hybrid model? Here we are not talking about the preference of the viewers but about the needs of the works themselves and also of the platforms. The marathon offers the possibility of immediate and bulimic consumption to the viewer, one that prevents the retention and durability of the series, but also puts a brake on one of the greatness of television: offering viewing guidelines to the viewer that allows both digesting the episode and commenting on the story in community, as the viewers find themselves at the same point.

Yes, there are exceptional cases like The Squid Game or My Stuffed Reindeer that manage to generate deafening noise with Netflix’s initial model but even the platform is backing down for practical reasons. Its most successful productions such as Stranger things or The Bridgertons are now broadcast in two batches so as not to burn out so immediately: Netflix titles usually languish at the conversation level after ten days in the catalog and, with the division of the seasons In two parts, managers ensure a double impact and the possibility of channeling the conversation mid-broadcast.

With Fallout, in my opinion, the broadcast formula was clear: it was the ideal, perfect and exemplary candidate to be broadcast weekly and generate constant noise in the audience. In a television with so many problems to unite viewers and make them dance to its beat to create an audiovisual imaginary and trigger a common cultural dialogue, this is the Holy Grail. Tell HBO with Game of Thrones, which was a phenomenon beyond any Netflix property in part due to the broadcast strategy, and which is now inheriting the prequel House of the Dragon.

And why did Fallout have this potential? For the work of Wagner and Robertson-Dworet. For example, the pilot episode with a duration of 70 minutes had the right weight to create a first impact: a striking premise, a budget that allows us to see the ambition in every shot, and splendid presentations of the character and universe. It is such a solid first episode that it did not even require airing more chapters on the day of launch: fun, original, solemn, commentable (and it is not necessary to add the fact that, by adapting a popular video game, it had the predisposition of a sector of the public ).

The most interesting thing is that, after the pilot, Fallout does not falter either and has the perfect properties to be commented on week after week. It has a fairly classic episodic structure (that is, Lucy McLean, Ella Purnell’s character, encounters a new obstacle every week), so the experience of watching the episodes individually is very satisfying. Each episode has some scene with monsters or violence with which to revolutionize the parish (and which gave such good results to Game of Thrones or The Boys to generate a stir on the networks). There are jokes and cynical moments of impact to produce non-stop memes. And, what always helps, Fallout has a mythology that the viewer can slowly discover (with the subsequent theories of it) and a mystery developing in the bunker from which Lucy emerged.

With this material, if it managed to gain a foothold among viewers, Fallout had the possibility of focusing the attention of television for eight weeks and progressively. Instead, its figures are splendid (Nielsen confirms that it led consumption in the United States in its first two weeks, with audiences that had not been seen since the emergence of Suits) but the potential to structure the cultural conversation and go further was wasted. beyond solitary consumption in the privacy of the home: of forcing the viewer to search for and share theories, of laughing together with the ripper robot, of betting on the relationship between Lucy and Maximus, or of sending the umpteenth corrosive interaction between Cooper Howard and the protagonist.

It’s possible that Prime Video’s decision to release Fallout in marathon mode was a matter of mistrust: it is produced by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, who disappointed the platform with The Peripheral, which did receive the weekly treatment and wasted it with the tone boring, overly serious and pretentious with which they buried Westworld at the time.

This does not mean that, when analyzing the launch of Fallout, one can speak of a miscalculation, especially when Amazon has a similar and compatible series in the catalog such as The Boys. And how did Eric Kripke’s superhero series go to the next level as a television phenomenon? The first season was released all at once but, instead, a hybrid model was embraced with the second: it landed in the catalog with three episodes and the remaining five were broadcast week by week.