In 2029, an incident called "Black December" led to a technological blackout, forcing humanity back into the dark ages without any electricity. Nearly 50 years later in 2074, the mysterious disaster has torn Europe apart, turning it into... wait for it... Europa.
From the same executive producers as Netflix's 'DARK', we had high hopes that 'Tribes of Europa' might follow the same suit. However, where one was charming, mysterious, and full of wonder, the other is gritty, predictable, and overall just rather depressing. And when you realise that the series was created off the back of Brexit happening in 2016, predicting a Europe which breaks apart, it's no wonder we found it so.
Three siblings from the Origine tribe are the main protagonists here. Kiano (Emilio Sakraya), Liv (Henriette Confurius), and Elja (David Ali Rashed) discover an Atlantian hovercraft which crash-lands near their peaceful tribe, with Elja pocketing a strange-looking metal cube. It transpires that this cube is wanted by practically everyone he comes into contact with, and after their tribe gets ambushed by "Crows", Elja makes a break for it on his own with this shiny new possession. The three siblings and their father are separated, and they each travel down a different path, one more dismal than the one before it.
Kiano has the most interesting storyline out of the three, with him being captured and being brought to the centre of Europa, Brahtok (which we're told used to be Berlin). He gets caught up in a rather vicious roleplay, and should we have just concentrated solely on his character and the alternative/futuristic lifestyle he sees in the city, the series could have turned out all the better because of it. In the sixth and final episode, it feels like everything is wrapped up fairly quickly in order to set up what the creative team are hoping will be a second season.
While it's refreshing to have a big-budget European series to watch here, predominantly spoken in German, it's unfortunate that so many elements of it are so poorly crafted. The acting is stiff and laughable in parts, while the fight sequences come off as messy and difficult to follow. Given that this is a post-apocalyptic/sci-fi title, there are a number of sequences where CGI is used of course - but these moments are painful to see. We thought this was supposed to be "futuristic" technology, not sub-par early-2000s graphics. Sometimes when this cube flies around the screen, the actors are looking at a completely different area in the scene. Straight away, it takes you out of that fantasy.
While watching 'Tribes of Europa', we're reminded of other TV series or movies that pulled off the genre in a better way, or, purely just got there first. 'The Hunger Games', 'The 100', and even Netflix's other sci-fi series 'The Rain' come to mind - but we're sure viewers will find elements of countless other post-apocalyptic titles present here too.
Fans of 'DARK' who are thinking of watching the series will most likely not enjoy this as much as its predecessor. Sadly, there is no real uniqueness here. However, if you are looking for a mostly bog-standard sci-fi/post-apocalyptic title which offers up nothing new, then please, be our guest.
'Tribes of Europa' arrives on Netflix Friday, February 19.