Thursday, 25 February 2021

Netflix Binge - Tribes of Europa

Every now and then Netflix has a bit of a stonker on its hands and Tribes of Europa feels like it's going to be another one.

Pitched Like a Young Adult Novel

Tribes of Europa
Tribes of Europa
art reminds me of 80s Chocky

I was a little wary going into this series as I knew absolutely nothing about it except for the teaser photo and the trailer.  It came across as another Hunger Games / Scorch Trials style post apocalyptic YA novel.  I've been burned before with the sanctimonius "Kids save the future" mantra but I'm a glutton for punishment and so I fired up the Netflix and gave it a go.

Older Cast Members Show the Kids How It's Done

Whilst the 3 main protagonists we follow through the series are all young performers in their teens or early twenties, the cast is made up of some heavyweight older actors who put meat on this stories bones.  I dont want to sound dismissive about their acting talents, they do a reasonable job, but they pale before their much more experienced co-stars. 

Perhaps that is exactly the point.  Liv (Henrietta Confurius), Kiano (Emilio Sakraya) and Elia (David Ali Rashed) are supposed to have led a sheltered life as forest dwelling Origine, protected by the forest and their elders non-confrontational philosophy.  

When they are exposed to the other tribes and the world outside their tiny microcosm their naivete, like their acting, is laid bare.  

The standouts for me are Moses (Oliver Masucci) sporting a moustache that would make Nikola Tesla proud.  A grifter and con man who befriends Elia (pr. El-e-ya), he is a pre-collapse survivor and a necessary tool of exposition filling in the blanks about how the world got to where it is. 

Sebastian Blomberg steals every scene as the menacing Kapitan Yvar of the Crow gang.  He looks like he has just stepped off stage supporting Danzig or The Sisters of Mercy (Flood period).  Cutting an imposing figure he rules a post apocalypse Berlin with a studded leather fist and demands undying loyalty from his subjects or, you guessed it, you die horribly.

Mekika Faroutan (Lord Varvara) oozes seduction and machiavellian schemery with every graceful step.  She craves power and position among the elite Crow but you get the distinct impression that Yvar knows that she is a threat and keeps her subdued with promises of elevation dangled in front of her like a ball of string to a cat.

Tonal Shift and Adult Themes

The opening episode reminded me of classic 80s TV Scifi shows like Chocky (1984), The Tomorrow People (1973) and The Tripods (1984) 

As the series progresses we are gradually introduced to the other tribes and the tone shifts to something much darker.  Some of the scenes are distinctly adult in nature and the series carries a 15 rating for a good reason.  I guess that the TV landscape has changed since Game of Thrones.  Now every show has to have its fair share of bloody gore and nudity. There is also a strong drug reference with the Crows being fueled on some strange inhaled narcotic much like the war boys from Mad Max: Fury Road.

This makes for engaging adult viewing and to be honest is a refreshing change from the usual Young Adult glittery vampire or schoolboy scorceror nonsense that we had to put up with in the noughties.  I for one think that you should let Young Adults watch things which challenge them rather than shield them from adult themes and concepts. 

To the writing crews credit, they've managed to make a believeable world in just six episode short series and I now now eagerly anticipate a second.

No comments:

Post a Comment