THE TRIBE: TEN YEARS SINCE A lot has happened since it’s TV run ended... WORDS ELLIE KENDALL PICTURES TRIBEWORLD
he year is 2003. The last episode in the 5th series of The Tribe is about to air, but unbeknown to really anyone - fans or cast - this is to be the finalever episode. Ten years on and, as the opening titles say, the dream must stay alive. And it has. Focusing on the lives of children surviving in a post-apocalyptic world, in which all of the adults have been wiped out by a deadly virus, The Tribe was nothing like the teen shows that graced our screens in the late 90s. It tackled hard-hitting issues, from teen pregnancy to eating disorders and, in a world where children had to group together in ‘tribes’ in order to survive, it most definitely touched upon gang crime. The main protagonists of the show were a tribe called ‘The Mall Rats’, who lived in an abondoned shopping Mall in the centre of the derelict city. Each character had a role to play and this was teamed with an abundance of facepaint (there was more of this than there was food) and a very wild, 80s/90s-esque wardrobe. The Mall Rats, led in turn by characters Amber (Beth Allen) and Bray (Dwayne Cameron) were the central ambassadors for the
10 years on, Amber is now a doctor in a New Zealand soap opera, Bray is a comedy gangster in a soon-to-bereleased movie, Ebony is a famous singer in New Zealand, and anti-hero of the show, Lex (Caleb Ross), has been running with snow dogs in Alaska. Okay, so maybe the cast who portrayed these characters are doing such things, but as for the Mall Rats themselves, their story is only just beginning. While their alter-egos are furthering their careers, the story of the Mall Rats has been continuing through novels, fanfictions, building of a new, civilised music albums, YouTube world. However, many videos and, in 2014, the Tribe’s antagonistic characters, or legacy will continue on the big bad guys as they are more screen. widely known, were there to The fans have given back, make sure this didn’t happen. over the years, to Tribe creator First it was rampaging tribes Raymond Thompson and, in such as The Locos, quite a turn, he has pulled out all the sinister tribe dressed in reds stops to continue the advenand blacks, kitted out in body tures of this TV show, loved armour and scar-like face the world over. Earlier this paint and led by crazy-guy year, The Tribe’s Facebook with a crazy-name, Zoot page made it to 50,000 likes, (Daniel James) and his meaning there is soon to be an “woman”Ebony (Meryl online tribal gathering for fans Cassie). across the world and it is clear When The Locos dispersed, to see how much of an impact more tribes were to come inthis teenage drama has had on cluding highly religious tribe, their lives. The Chosen, whose leader, Matthew Jones, 24, is a The Guardian epitomised retail worker from Wales who a psychotic started watching lunatic, and The Tribe when it I DIDN’T EXPECT THE boffin tribe first aired in 1999. The Technos WRITERS AND THE To him, The Tribe who invaded is much much the city by FANDOM TO ACTIVELY more than a TV parachutshow, to him it is CARE AS MUCH LONG ing out of jet a saviour. planes. AFTER IT WAS With all “The Tribe CANCELLED of this dratackled many ma unfolding, it is hard to issues and I learned a lot of see why the television series things from it growing up,” was cut short, leaving fans he says. “Salene (Victoria with so many unanswered Spence) suffered from questions. But this isn’t all it bulimia, as did I and I learnt has left behind. to tackle it thanks to seeing The actors and her overcome it. actresses on the show, most “It’s unlike any other show from it’s home-country, New and it literally saved my life. Zealand, all moved onto I’ve learned so much from it pastures new when it was . I don’t know what I would confirmed that the 6th series do without it, even now . I’ve was not going ahead. Now,
waited so long for a revival and it used to bring me to tears that it ended and waiting for news was so hard . I’m so glad it’s back in some way and it’s exciting times!” Tamara, also 24, is a gradschool student from Serbia who has been a fan of The Tribe for little over a decade, and who enjoys unravelling the meanings of those extra little details. “Meaningful and inspiring stories are hard to come by on tv in my opinion,” she says. “For me currently, it’s special because of its surprisingly poignant take on social justice issues. I certainly can’t remember many kid/teen shows that feature such discussions and the little, seemingly insignificant, background moments speak volumes about the kind of humanism this show’s heroes stand for. “Due to the young age at which I first saw it, it was somewhat of a formative influence I guess. It is also one of the rare tv shows that I keep going back to. The older I get, the more layers of meaning I’m able to see and appreciate in the show. “I didn’t expect the writers and the fandom to actively care as much, long after it was cancelled.” But care they do, and so The Tribal legacy lives on, bringing with it a new generation of Tribe fans in the form of the children of those who watched it over 10 years ago and who will hopefully continue watching it for another decade. If anything like the tribal gatherings before it, the Facebook event will surely bring live chats with the cast of the show, new and exclusive merchandise and, with the second novelised instalment due out in June, the story of the Mall Rats looks set to continue, until our world succumbs to a deadly virus.