In a generally crowded genre of dystopian TV shows and movies like “The Hunger Games” and “The 100,” it’s hard to find any post-apocalyptic dramas with storylines not similar to each other.
Netflix’s new original series “Tribes of Europa” is no exception.
Despite its gore, cursing and explicit sex scenes, nothing can really shake the all-too-familiar plotline that makes up the chaotic world of glowing blue cubes and tight leather outfits.
“Tribes of Europa” is set 45 years after a technological blackout that prompted society’s collapse. The world is divided into distinct factions that compete for land and resources. The series follows Kiano (Emilio Sakraya), Liv (Henriette Confurius) and Elja (David Ali Rashed) — three siblings from the Origine forest tribe whose peaceful existence spirals into chaos after an aircraft crashes near their village.
The ship’s pilot reveals himself as part of an Atlantian tribe, a faction unaffected by the technology blackout, and entrusts Elja with a cube to return back to Atlantis. A violent and ruthless tribe called the Crows have different plans. Keen to attain the power the cube promises, the Crows attack and massacre the Origine village.
Elja escapes, but Kaino and Liv are caught in the crossfire. The trio’s paths diverge, with Elja pursuing Atlantis, Kaino captured by the Crows and Liv bargaining with another tribe; the militaristic Crimsons. What follows from here is the story of three siblings, separated by war and catastrophe, desperate to find each other once again.
The idea of three separate stories, rather than one, is very reminiscent of “Game of Thrones.” It’s a refreshing departure from the heroic, singular “special” protagonist in many franchises. But “Tribes of Europa” still can’t escape the tropes of its dystopian roots.
For example: The teenage main characters. Having young protagonists can be a great starting point to show character development. But it’s so often overused, and a cheap way to tell post-apocalyptic narratives. The list of shows and movies that center around young, tough characters thrown into a “save-the-world” archetype is so broad and familiar. Why can’t the plot focus on a badass 50-year-old woman?
This show focuses more on sexiness, not quality storytelling.
Created by the same German team who produced the gruesome Netflix original “Dark,” this series does not shy away from being graphic or brutal. Which is both refreshing and a little exaggerated. It’s entertaining to watch, especially in comparison to other series that sugarcoat their stories for viewership. The addition of violence and swearing makes the circumstances in “Tribes of Europa” feel a little more realistic and a little less melodramatic.
But, dropping a few F-bombs and chopping off people’s heads doesn’t always make a story better. Especially when the core of the plot revolves around something so familiar — a singular object that’s supposed to make or break humanity.
This show is predictable. But it’s entertaining. Even though the central characters are teenagers, each young actor does a commendable job at conveying Elja, Kaino and Liv as they mature and adapt in a world full of chaos.
Though “Tribes of Europe” is nothing viewers haven’t seen before, its bloodshed, suspense and stunning cinematography are bound to keep dystopian drama fans satisfied. At least until this apocalyptic pandemic ends.