Hands up, who’s into post-apocalyptic stories when it comes to movies and TV? I know I am. Idly browsing Netflix the other day I stumbled on a new one, Tribes of Europa (2020). A German show, in a mix of German and English dialogue, set in our world in the near future of 2074 and after the collapse of society. Europe, or at least European countries as we know them, have all but vanished, leaving behind tribes – essentially giant gangs – that scrap it out for control of the continent.
Our story follows three siblings: Liv (Henriette Confurius), Kiano (Emilio Sakraya) and Elja (David Ali Rashed). Liv is the most sensible and responsible (this role almost always falls to the nearest woman, it seems). Kiano longs for adventures beyond his tribe, yet doesn’t quite understand the dangers of the world.
And Elja, the youngest, needs to grow up a bit. He’s the weakest and the least capable – and thus probably the most annoying.
Note: before we go any further I just want to say that the below has mild spoilers. Not major, but certain elements of the plot and story. If you’re happy with that, read on…
I will take the ring, though I do not know the way…
It’s not a giant spoiler to say that, from the opening episode, the three main characters are quickly split apart, set up to embark upon adventures of their own. Although using the word adventures makes this all sound a bit too fun and bouncy. The tone of the show is probably closer to a young adult version of Children of Men, or maybe early The Walking Dead. It’s quite dark and gritty. Darker than The 100, or even The Hunger Games – although it does share a lot of DNA with those worlds and stories. Some have said it’s like TV show Dark, although I’ve not seen that so cannot say.
But I digress. In terms of their ‘adventures’, the plot is driven by a mysterious tribe called The Atlantians – the only tribe to possess technology of the old world, or perhaps even more advanced tech which they’ve never shared (think Wakanda). A piece of their technology, a cube (or the One Ring, if you’re in a more Lord Of The Rings frame of mind) comes into play. It has great power, and thus all the tribes want it.
Remember I said the youngest of the three, Elja, was the most clueless and annoying? Yeah, he gets the cube.
Kinky clubbing and pouty captains
Basically, after an attack on their tribe Kiano gets taken prisoner by one of the largest and most vicious gangs out there, The Crows. They reside in what used to be Berlin, and they look a lot like Berliners (there’s a nightclub type scene that, if you’ve ever been to Berghain, you’ll find amusing). Kiano eventually ends up in the clutches of a hot but scary senior Crow called Varvara (Melika Foroutan). Without getting too much into it, their relationship – and Kiano’s journey – develops in a most interesting way.
One of the most compelling relationships in the show, I’d say.
Liv gets left for dead after the attack, but then gets taken by another tribe, a military outfit called The Crimson Republic. Their local faction is led by a hunky captain called David (Robert Finster), who pouts a lot but Liv seems to like him, or at least want to use him to get what she wants. And before I say get your minds out the gutter, yes that. But also for other things – like finding her family and tribe.
Liv is a bit like Katniss – although favours a crossbow instead of a bow.
Post-apocalyptic wheeling and dealing
Elja runs around like a headless chicken for a while, until he encounters shady grifter dude, Moses (Oliver Masucci). The two form an alliance, agreeing to sell the cube to the highest bidder. Without getting too far into spoilers, things don’t go to plan. Imagine if Pippin had somehow ended up with the One Ring and decided that Boromir seemed like a nice guy, and decided to hang out with him.
Ok, maybe not Boromir, he’s still too noble. Maybe Boromir if Boromir was a bit of a geezer. Boromir mixed with Del Boy, if you can picture that. Their story has the most humour. Something that’s much-needed, lest the show become endlessly dark and dreary (The Walking Dead, I’m looking at you).
Just as all three stories start start to heat up and develop, it all ends. A mere six episodes is all we get. Some might say that’s good. I mean, I prefer a tight story, but with six I did feel short-changed. Eight or ten would have been preferable. Still… it was well produced, both the sets and the effects looked good. I’m not sure how much budget they had, but they did well with what they had.
Character wise, the three leads developed at a nice pace, the dialogue and tone felt good and the world felt nicely put together. The show currently has 88 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes and I’d go along with that. It’s decent. Worth your time if you’re into this sort of setting and story. Plus, with just six episodes you’ll get through it in no time.
A second season has yet to be confirmed, but with rave reviews and (I imagine) good viewing numbers, it’s probably only a matter of time before Netflix give the nod.