Case Number 23512: Small Claims Court


Shout! Factory // 1999 // 600 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 16th, 2012

The Charge

All the adults are gone.

The Case

This bizarre New Zealand sort-of-kids-show -- which ran for five seasons and nearly 300 episodes -- is apparently some kind of cult hit.

Yeah, I'm not seeing it.

In a post-apocalyptic world, a mysterious bacteria has wiped out all the adults, leaving only juveniles to inherit the planet and piece together a civilization. As you'd expect, they end up painting their faces, forming "tribes," and drowning in unrelenting angst.

The Tribe is a weird soap opera that's one part The Warriors and 12 parts DeGrassi. Everything from The Tribe's hang-out (an abandoned mall, from which action rarely shifts) to the syrupy musical score screams "daytime programming." Except the target audience isn't stay-at-home moms. It's pre-teens too cool for Good Morning Miss Bliss.

What's especially odd about The Tribe is how muted the "post-apocalyptic" angle is. There are some sideways remarks about the lack of adults and how it crazy it was they all got sick and died. There's also a bigger arc about a rival Tribe, but mainly everyone just hangs out in their hovel and bellyaches about emotional issues. Of which there are legion: teen pregnancy, depression, suicidal tendencies, drug use, misogyny, bullying. Good luck with all that civilization-running!

Oh, and the theme song: "The Dream Must Stay Alive?" Worst crap I've ever heard.

The DVD: Twenty-six episodes on three discs, totaling ten hours of post-apocalyptic angst, presented in a surprisingly decent standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen image, supplemented by a Dolby 2.0 stereo mix. No extras.

The concept is fleetingly interesting, but The Tribe is just a kids soap opera dressed up in mascara.

The Verdict


Review content copyright © 2012 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 60

Perp Profile
Studio: Shout! Factory
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 600 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb