The Tribe (TV series)

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The Tribe (TV series)

Year Released: 1999
Network: Channel 5 (UK)
Genre: Science fiction
No. of seasons: 5
Director: Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group
Starring: See cast list

The Tribe is a New Zealand/British post-apocalyptic fictional TV series primarily aimed at teenagers. It is set in a near-future in which all adults have been wiped out by a deadly virus, leaving the children of the world to fend for themselves. The show's focus is on an unnamed city inhabited by tribes of children and teenagers. It was primarily filmed in and around Wellington, New Zealand.

The series was created and developed and produced by the Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group in conjunction with the UK's Channel 5. It has aired on over 40 broadcast networks around the world.[1]

It debuted on Channel 5 on 24 April 1999 and quickly gained a large fan base.[2] From 1999 to 2003, five series and 260 half-hour episodes were produced. Series 6 was scheduled to begin filming in 2003, but Nick Wilson, of Channel 5, and Raymond Thompson felt that "although the show was still performing well, the cast was getting too old and the series was beginning to stretch the core proposition." They felt the characters were not kids fending for themselves without adults any more.[3] As a result, the show was cancelled. Channel 5 aired the final two episodes on 6 September 2003.


The Tribe was targeted primarily at an audience age of 11 to 18, though it has fans of all ages.[4] Five series of The Tribe have been created, with 52 episodes per series, amounting to 260 episodes in the entire run.

The TV series starts about six to nine months after all the adults have been killed by an unknown Virus.[4] The story is about the survival of the children and teenagers who are left on their own in and around an unnamed City. The world has become a primitive hell of anarchy, confusion, danger and fear. With no adults to guide, rule or protect them, the children of the world are on their own and need to build a New World they can live in.

The show mainly focuses on the Tribe of the Mall Rats. Its members are confronted with problems of technology (how to get clean water and some form of power) and problems of morality. The children deal with teenage issues (loves, fears, betrayals, ambitions, friendships) as well as bigger issues that threaten peace in their New World (finding an antidote to the Virus, bringing peace to the City, defeating the Locos, Chosen and Technos).[4]

Series 1

Amber and Dal wander the streets when they stumble upon Cloe, Salene, Patsy and Paul. They are attacked by Lex, Ryan and Zandra and take refuge in a shopping mall where Jack has been living since his father died. Seeing the advantages the mall offers, they all decide to stay. Lex and Ryan agree to defend the newly formed Tribe in exchange for shelter and food. They are soon joined by Bray and a heavily pregnant Trudy. Lex and the rest of the tribe members want Trudy gone, however Bray will not let them throw her out. Though the majority is against letting them stay, they change their mind once the baby is born. Everyone thinks that Bray is the father of Trudy's baby; however, Bray's brother, Zoot, is the father. Lex decides to call themselves the Mall Rats in a bonding ritual performed by the newly arrived, spiritual Tai-San.

Throughout Series 1, the Mall Rats struggle to survive in the new world. The Tribe is confronted with water and food shortage. Jack and Dal work on a sand water filter that allows them to drink rain water. They also make a wind turbine that allows them to trade batteries for food. The members of the new Tribe at first find it difficult to live with each other. They all have different opinions and tend to put their own interests first. Amber, Bray and Lex compete for leadership and barely agree to share the responsibilities. Amber takes care of day-to-day management, Bray supplies food and Lex is named Head of Security. The characters also have to deal with personal problems inside their Tribe. Trudy suffers from postnatal depression and Patsy's twin brother, Paul, goes missing without a trace. Salene suffers from bulimia (which goes through to season 2), but finds comfort in Trudy and Ryan.

The Mall Rats also have to defend themselves against outside enemies. Jack invents an alarm system that tells them when there is an intruder. When Zoot is accidentally killed in a fight with Lex, the Locos start looking for him everywhere. The Mall Rats take part in a Tribal Gathering and unsuccessfully try to convince the other Tribes to rebel against the Locos. After KC loses everything while gambling, the Tribe Circus invades the Mall and leaves them for dead. They are saved just in time by an improbable alliance with the new leader of the Locos, Ebony.

When the second wave of the Virus hits the City, the Mall Rats decide to go search inside government buildings, hoping to find a cure. Bray, Amber, Dal and Lex find an antidote on nearby Hope Island, and when Lex catches the Virus, Ebony forces him to drink it to test its effects. Lex is fully cured and the Mall Rats, along with Ebony, leave the Mall for Eagle Mountain, hoping to find further information on the antidote. Once there, they don't find any formula and the Mall Rats consider going their separate ways. Suddenly, there is a Spanish message to the space observation site Eagle Mountain: "Vaya con Dios" ("Go with God") and the Mall Rats are told they are the only hope for humanity.[5]

Series 2

Series 2 begins on Eagle Mountain, just as a generator catches fire in the building. Amber and a pregnant Zandra die in the explosion that follows. The Mall Rats are distraught, but still end up deciding to stay together and find another antidote before they get wiped out.

After finding the formula, Tai-San becomes the only one who knows how to make the antidote. The Mall Rats take advantage of their new position of power and try to instate peace in the City. Danni joins them and tries to set up a Bill of Rights in an effort to unite all the Tribes. Lex and Alice, Tai-San's new bodyguard, supervise the security of the Trading Market that is installed in the Mall. Jack and Ellie work together on finding more information about the origins of the Virus and create a newssheet for the City, called The Amulet. When the Mall Rats discover they don't need the antidote any more, they fear the City will descend into chaos again.

The Mall Rats are confronted by the mysterious Tribe of the Chosen, led by The Guardian, that worships Zoot as a God. They kidnap Brady and Trudy to complete their Holy Trinity. Unknown to the others, when Trudy comes back a few months later, the Chosen have brainwashed her into secretly working on taking over the whole City with them. They abduct people and make sure the Mall Rats believe Ebony is behind the kidnappings. Alice and Ebony try to warn the Mall Rats, but the Chosen invade the City and take everyone prisoner in the Mall.[6]

Series 3

At the beginning of Series 3, the Guardian and the Supreme Mother, Trudy, have taken control over the Mall. Ebony, Lex and Bray escaped and are now in the woods working on a plan to save all the Mall Rats, who must either join the Chosen or work as slaves. Jack is taken away when he tries to find an escape for his friends. Ebony and Lex meet Pride, who takes them back to his tribe the Ecos. Their leader is Eagle/Amber, whose death was faked by Ebony back on Eagle Mountain. Pride later rescues Bray and Dal from the Chosen. Although reluctant to join the fight against the Chosen at first, Amber changes her mind after the death of her best friend, Dal, who tried to escape from the Chosen. The rebels rescue Trudy from the mind-controlling Guardian and recruit numerous Tribes to help them win the battle.

Inside the Mall, Patsy joins the Chosen as a Spy and so does Chloe, but ends up getting sent away when they are discovered. Alice convinces Ellie to get closer to Luke, The Guardian's Lieutenant, in order to overthrow the Chosen. Ryan refuses to let the Chosen control his life and gets taken away. Salene, afraid for the life of her unborn baby, agrees to follow their orders but suffers a miscarriage after falling down the stairs.

The Guardian decides it is Zoot's will that Tai-San should be the New True Supreme Mother, after Trudy is named an imposter when the rebels save her from execution; when Lex finds out he tries to kill The Guardian at her coronation. When Bray tries to pull him back, he accidentally shoots Tai-San and mistakenly believes she is dead. At the end of Series 3, the rebels storm the Mall and defeat the Chosen. The Guardian is imprisoned, but the City Leaders disagree over what must be done with him. Ebony is elected as City Leader. When Bray and Amber (who is pregnant) refuse to let her execute The Guardian, she banishes them just as a mysterious plane approaches the City. Jack returns to find Luke and Ellie are together. After witnessing them kissing he chooses to leave, but soon returns.[7]

Series 4

Series 4 begins just as the Technos are starting their invasion. They possess advanced technology and the Mall Rats are helpless against them. They raid the Mall and take Alice, KC, Tai-San and May away to work in their labour camps. Cloe is the only one left in the Mall after she hid from the Technos. She becomes distressed and finds comfort in Pride and later develops feelings for him, which he cannot return due to her age. While trying to overthrow the Technos, Jack is captured and taken away as well. Bray is taken while Amber is about to give birth. Trudy finds her and they rejoin the Eco Tribe with their babies. Ellie and Jack rescue a former 'Mosquito' (a minor, all-girl Tribe) Dee from the Technos when she is zapped by their weapons.

Ebony tries to make a deal with the Technos' general, Jay, in order to hold a little power in the City. Ellie, blaming Ebony for Jack's capture, attempts to kill her and is sent away to a labour camp. The Technos seem to want to bring progress and order to the City. However, in secret, their leader, Ram, is experimenting a new virtual game on people with the help of Jay's brother, Ved. Ved starts a relationship with Mall Rat Cloe but when she tells him she is pregnant, he immediately dumps her. Amber becomes unwillingly addicted to the game and realises the Technos must be stopped. She asks an initially reluctant Cloe to get information from Ved, but Cloe later agrees, getting Ved drunk and taking advantage of him by receiving the password for his computer. Ebony reluctantly agrees to marry Ram, but ends up betraying him and escapes the City with Jay, who has come to realise what Ram's real plans are. Cloe becomes addicted to reality space and whilst playing the game, vanishes. Ved is distraught as he actually loved her. He fights Ram in reality space to get her back but loses and is later deleted. The Mall Rats succeed in defeating Ram by imprisoning him in virtual reality, with the help of Ram's lieutenant, Mega.[8]

Series 5

In Series 5, Mega becomes the new leader of the Technos. He has plans to take over the City and is helped by Java, who manipulates Ebony's mind with virtual reality. Ebony, believing Zoot has come back, with her sisters, Java and Siva, create a new Tribe, the Zootists, and take control of the outside of the City. The Mall Rats try to find out what happened to all of their friends who disappeared when the Technos invaded, and Amber is distraught to learn Bray was deleted. Lex, meanwhile, desperately searches for Tai-San.

Drifter Slade rescues Ram and brings him to the country town of Liberty. He hopes Ram will be able to help him defeat Mega. Jack is released and comes back to the Mall, where everyone is trying to adjust to Mega's new rules. Every citizen must take part in the work labour done for the City and be branded with a barcode in order to be identified. Jack and Ellie are reunited. New Mall Rat and stereotypical girl Gel loves Jack, but Jack wants to be with Ellie, and vice versa.

Amber and Jay start having doubts about Mega's intentions when he threatens her son, Bray Jr. They secretly conspire against him, with the help of Ellie and Jack, who volunteers to go work with Mega. Ebony realizes Java is manipulating her and leaves the Zootists. She joins Slade in Liberty and helps with the rebellion. Jack steals information from Mega's computer and flees to Liberty where, with the help of Ram, he disables the City's security. The rebels attack the City and Mega is captured.

Ram takes control of Mega's computer and installs his own artificial program. However, the program becomes uncontrollable and threatens to release a new deadly Virus on the City. Mega dies while trying to stop the program but is unsuccessful and the Mall Rats inform everyone they must evacuate the City. The Mall Rats escape on a boat while the Virus spreads throughout the City.[9]

Popular songs from the series

  1. The Dream Must Stay Alive – The Dream Must Stay Alive The Tribe (Abe Messiah)(YouTube)
  2. Abe Messiah – The Tribe Abe Messiah Music Video (YouTube)
  3. You Belong to Me – The Tribe ~ You belong to me~ (YouTube)
  4. Tribe Spirit - Tribe Spirit' theme from The Tribe (YouTube)


  1. Carter, Meg (18 August 2003). The future of learning?. London. Retrieved on 18 September 2013. 
  2. WAM! Premieres 'The Tribe' Season Five in Labor Day Marathon. Englewood, Colorado. 2 August 2004. 
  3. New Day Dawns On Cloud 9's Tribe Franchise. 20 May 2005. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Interview with the Creators of The Tribe—Raymond Thompson and Harry Duffin, The Tribe Official Website, retrieved on 27 May 2008.
  5. Series 1 Synopsis, The Tribe Official Website, retrieved on 10 June 2011.
  6. Series 2 Synopsis, The Tribe Official Website, retrieved on 10 June 2011.
  7. Series 3 Synopsis, The Tribe Official Website, retrieved on 10 June 2011.
  8. Series 4 Synopsis, The Tribe Official Website, retrieved on 10 June 2011.
  9. Series 5 Synopsis, The Tribe Official Website, retrieved on 10 June 2011.

External links