Netflix's Post-Apocalyptic Series 'Tribes of Europa' Is a Sci-Fi Surprise

Fans of 'Dark' should check this out.

tribes of europa netflix
Gordon Timpen/Netflix

Let's face it: We'll never get tired of watching and reading apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories, even when it sometimes feels like we're living through one. With the end of the pandemic growing nearer, if not yet in sight, many of us feel like the lucky survivors of something that could have been a whole lot worse. The weekend before New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York City movie theaters will be allowed to reopen next month after being shutttered for nearly a year, tons of Netflix viewers binged the streaming service's new series Tribes of Europa and rocketed it onto its Top 10 list. But what exactly is this vaguely-titled show, and why are so many people watching it?

Tribes of Europa takes place about 50 years into the future, following a devastating event known as Black December, when the world's electrical power systems failed and plunged the globe into an energy catastrophe. Out of that population-decimating crisis there emerged various tribes of people living in the wilderness or taking over former cities, all fighting for survival. The series focuses on the fates of three young siblings, members of the Origines tribe that eschews any and all of the technology that made the old world soft. They find the pilot of a crashed flying machine and come into possession of his mysterious cube, a technologically advanced artifact that could change the fractured tribal states of Europa forever. Following a violent skirmish with a tribe of roaming berserkers called Crows, the siblings are separated, and each must figure out how to reunite with the others and learn how to use the cube to fix the world.

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The show, which premiered on Netflix on February 19, is dark, exciting, and unexpectedly timely, given how Texas' cold snap electricity crisis laid bare the ticking time bomb that is the entire American power grid. Some days it really does feel like the world exists on the brink of collapse. If you're a fan of Netflix's other post-apocalyptic German drama Dark and have been feeling the need for something similar after the end of that show, Tribes of Europa is produced by Dark producers Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg, and also stars Dark's Oliver Mascucci, who plays a scavenger named Moses in this show, with a mustache that looks ripped straight off of Errol Flynn's face. 

Tribes of Europa feels like a mix of The Walking Dead (minus the zombies) and The 100 (minus the spaceships), and, at only six episodes, is the kind of thing you can watch in a day or two if you're really into it (and you probably will be). It's primarily in German with some of the characters occasionally breaking into English, and remixes the German countryside and well-known cities into a dangerous wilderness dotted with tribal fortresses. If you're into dystopian sci-fi where characters fight with swords and horses and wear gray-toned outfits with lots of jackets and laces and say things like "We're safe in the Refugium" and "the cube," then you're going to dig this.

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.