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Series / The Tribe

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"Look into the future, what do you see..."

The Tribe ran five seasons (1999-2003). It was a New Zealand-produced Cozy Catastrophe/Teen Soap Opera set 20 Minutes into the Future, after an apocalyptic virus that wipes out the world's adult population, leaving the kids and teens to inherit an unnamed city that is rapidly degenerating into a post-apocalyptic urban wasteland.

The main characters are the Mall Rats, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who took up residence in an abandoned shopping mall. Over the series, the Mall Rats attempt to restore order to a chaotic world by reintroducing civilized functions like money and democratic elections. The Mall Rats face external and internal conflict with other tribes and between their own members, who don't always see eye to eye.

The first series was notably darker in tone than later series, and more survivalist-oriented. The first season also had very few of the "fantastic" elements that came to dominate later seasons, such as virtual reality, religious cults, insanely well-disciplined and organized antagonist tribes, and mysticism. The show dealt with many of the typical elements of both a Teen Drama with a setting that was part Scavenger World and part Cozy Catastrophe, including problems like pregnancy and bulimia. It also mostly averted Dawson Casting.

The series was continued through various official novels (most notably A New World, which is set immediately after S5's finale) and an upcoming movie.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Lex's father beat both him and his mother.
  • After the End: A selective Depopulation Bomb called The Virus has wiped out all the adults, leaving kids and teenagers in a Cosy Catastrophe world.
  • And I Must Scream: The Technos don't kill some people, but give them a much worse fate and instead use them in human experiments by hooking them up to an endless, inescape virtual reality simulation for their boss's twisted enjoyment.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Ram takes an interest in Ebony when he finds out that she is his lieutenants Java and Siva's younger sister, both of whom he has already married. He tries to persuade her nicely at first by presenting her with gifts and noting how much power she would gain by it, but eventually gets fed up with her reluctance and gives Ebony an ultimatum to make up her mind. She chooses Ram's good-hearted Dragon Jay instead.
  • Apocalypse How: With a world where all the adults (and a largish portion of the children) have been wiped out by the genetically-engineered virus, this is a solid Class 1 catastrophe. The children still live relatively cozily in their tribes and scavenging/hunting (later also farming), and cobbling together some post-industrial tech (like water purifiers, and solar panels for lighting). And that's before the Technos got the city's power running again.
  • Behind the Black: An episode has Jack running down a hallway before Ebony sees him, the second he goes off screen Ebony appears on screen, there is no way they didn't see the other.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ryan is one of the nicest people, ever, yet if you get him angry he will beat the crap out of you. Alice also counts.
  • Big Bad: In the beginning, it was the Locos led by Zoot, then the same tribe led by Ebony, then the Chosen led by the Guardian, then the Technos led first by Ram and later by Mega, and later the Zootists in the final season.
  • Bigot with a Crush: Ram actually marries Ebony after spending much of the season deriding her and any other city dwellers who aren't Technos as worthless "Virts".
  • The Big Guy: Lex and Ryan are treated as such during the first season, Lex is a class one and Ryan a class two. Season two gives us Alice (class two), and Season three Pride (class three).
  • Bond One-Liner: After Ram executes a Techno mook for a random failure:
    Ram: ...You're fired.
  • Burn Baby Burn: Zoot gets sent off in a Viking funeral.
  • Cain and Abel:
    • Java shoots at Ebony, but Siva Takes the Laser for her, then Ebony kills Java.
    • Bray is actually Zoot's older brother. Zoot, then still known as Martin, embraced the new order when the adults started dying off and formed his own cult, whereas Bray tried to follow his father's last wish to be a good person and rebuild.
  • Cartwright Curse: A variant on it - Lex's partners are fine unless they say "I do."
  • Church Police:
    • The Chosen, and in particular their Praetorian Guard, both of whom were of the Faceless Mooks in hooded robes variety. They were a religious cult that worshipped the slain Zoot as a God, and extolled the virtues of "power and chaos." They were led by a Sinister Minister, the Guardian, and his lieutenant.
    • In the final episode, members of another hooded, robed tribe were briefly shown; however, it was not established if the costume served a religious purpose, though it might have been meant to connect them visually to the distinctive outfits of the Chosen.
  • The City: The city where everything takes place is deliberately generic so that it could take place in any Anglophone country.
  • Child Soldiers: Lex and Ryan went through a Boot Camp Training from Hell before the last of the adults were wiped out in order to toughen them up so they could survive. This actually explains a lot of their behavior in Season 1.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: A genetically-engineered virus wipes out all the adults and quite a lot of the children in the world over some indeterminate timescale, but apart from some low-level fighting (the survivors are, after all, children), life continues. The children first scavenge what remains, and then return to farming to survive in small tribes dotted throughout the city and countryside.
  • Dark Action Girl: Ebony when it's time to fight. Later on her sisters Java and Siva qualify as well.
  • Deadly Euphemism:
    • Subverted. When the Technos say they're going to "delete" someone, they're not being euphemistic; they're reinforcing the fact that they don't see non-Technos as real.
    • Before "Delete," it was played straight with "waste."
  • Depopulation Bomb: The Virus wiped out everyone over 18
  • Disaster Democracy The city holds a vote for leader, and Ebony wins. She promptly expels those she had a grudge against.
  • Eat the Rich: The Locos under the Zoot regime wear jackets with "KEEP WARM BURN THE RICH" emblazoned on the back of them.
  • Emperor Scientist: Ram, leader of the villainous Technos, is a genius computer scientist. After his gang takes over the city, they single-handedly raise the standard of living and level of technology back to what it was before the virus. Of course, it's the whole theme of his faction. His successor Mega continues it.
  • Enemy Mine: Due to the break up of the Locos Ebony is forced to work with the Mallrats for most of season two, though neither side likes this arrangement.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Ram murders one of his Techno mooks in front of Ebony after the minion presents him with a set of nonsensical programming orders that would actually erase most of Ram's computer systems.
  • Evil Cripple: Ram (the leader of the Technos) is confined to an advanced wheelchair he probably designed himself. He does, eventually, learn to walk again by the end of Series 5, so we get to see this slowly subverted. However as he learns to walk again, he also gradually turns to the side of good.
  • Facial Markings: It's after the collapse of civilization, food is in short supply, water is in short supply, it's a Crapsack World where scavenging is the only way to get anything, but everyone still has an unlimited supply of makeup and hair dye with which to cover themselves in tribal markings.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: The Technos' Zappers had stun settings. Ram does demonstrate that there's a very real kill setting when he repeatedly executes mooks for failing him.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Technos, a powerful technologically advanced tribe, look down on anyone else who isn't them.
  • Fantastic Slur: The Technos call other people "Virts" (derived from "virtual") to show they don't think of them as real people.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Ram, while not really pleasant, maintains a humorous and playful demeanor while revelling in his own wickedness. For instance, he shoots one of his officers for a minor failure in front of the rest to set an example. When Siva walks in and screams in horror, Ram instantly changes tone and joyously asks her what her day was like.
  • The Fundamentalist: Tai-San started out as an extreme Granola Girl Fundamentalist (refusing even to help Amber and the other girls teach the young children science, though she compromised and help to teach them math, even though she believed math and science to be part of "the old ways"- SEE Science Is Bad below), but thankfully grew out of it and became a more benign sort of mystic.
  • Future Primitive: The setting: child and teenage survivors of an adult-killing virus wear facepaint and form social units called "tribes," intentionally invoking this trope (despite the series taking place only 20 Minutes into the Future).
  • Gang of Hats: The various teenage tribes are identifiable largely by costumes and color schemes (Locos wear red and black; Demon Dogs wear silver; Mozquitos are all female and dress like dominatrices with insect masks, etc.), except for the main tribe, the Mallrats, who all wear very individualistic costumes, being a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.
  • Gentle Giant: The slow-witted, but kind and compassionate Ryan. He started out much more thug-like, as he came to the mall with Lex originally, and was Lex's "muscle" for the first few episodes, but as he started associating more with the other Mallrats, he grew into this kind of character.
  • Government Conspiracy: The truth of the Virus's origins is covered up.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Trudy after visiting the Nomads.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Siva taking a laser for Ebony.
    • Mega sacrificing his life to Logic Bomb Ram's Zoot program before it can complete the Virus Mark II.
    • While not resulting in death, Trudy allows herself to be taken away by the Chosen to save Lex's life.
    • In A New Dawn, Jay dies attacking the Guardian.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think: Ram gets increasingly agitated when his lieutenant Jay starts making decisions behind his back for the good of the city.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: The characters of have remarkably elaborate hairstyles for survivors of a world-emptying plague. There must have been a lot of hair products waiting to be looted.
  • Jerkass: Lex, early on he gets his way through threats of violence, or actual violence.
  • Karma Houdini: Ebony. A lot of the conflicts that prevailed throughout the series were either caused by her, or if she didn't cause them she helped to further them along. Yet she very rarely answered for any of her crimes, or when she was exposed she was usually in a high enough position of power that nobody could do anything to her.
  • Kick the Dog: For the first part of season 4, Ram has been mostly Faux Affably Evil, and while having his forces take over the city, he has been mostly conciliatory to Ebony and the inhabitants. The first sign that he’s a real villain comes when Ebony and Jay start making decisions without consulting him. He calls Ebony in first, drills it into her head that she's just The Quisling, derides her as a mere "Virt", and shoots a Techno mook who failed his programming duty in front of her.
  • Killed Offscreen: during the takeovers of the Chosen, then the Technos, a lot of characters are either implied to be killed or otherwise mysteriously disappear, never to return. There are notable aversions Zoot, Dal etc.
  • Limited Wardrobe: During the first season only five people actually change their outfit, and of those only Zandra changes it more than once. The younger kids change their clothes in the second season but that's probably because the old ones didn't fit them. This is particularly egregious because in one episode we see Lex and Ryan have a wardrobe full of clothes and they live in a mall.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Lex uses his body to hold open an airlock door while Bray, Amber, Dal, and the dog escape from a self-destructing virology lab on Hope Island.
  • Love Triangle: Salene, Bray and Trudy. Though it's a twist on it as the guy isn't interested in a relationship.
  • The Mall: Most of the lead characters live in a mall and many plots would be about them defending themselves and their knew home from rival tribes. The tribe's name who lived inside the mall? The Mall Rats, of course.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Ram. Notable in that it's Ebony who calls him out on this.
    Ebony: [to Jay] Is that all he does? Play with people?
  • Marry Them All: Ram married sisters Java and Siva. When he meets Ebony (the third sister) he wants to marry her too, not out of love, but to "complete the set". They're not looking forward to this, since Java and Siva hate Ebony, and it goes both ways. She promises Ram that she will, but later chooses his much kinder subordinate Jay instead.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Jack jokingly invokes this.
    Sasha "Gentlemen."
    Jack "And KC."
  • Nerf Arm: Baseball bats, chair legs, blunted staffs and occasionally crossbows were the weapons of choice until the Technos arrived with their zappers with stun settings. Due to the target demographic, on-screen deaths were usually "accidental," even those resulting from fights, such as Zoot's fall after his scuffle with Lex and the similar fate of several other characters.
  • Never Land: The kids drama contains a fairly dark example: a setting of long-lived, unaging children who sicken and die upon reaching long-delayed adolescence.
  • Never Learned to Read: Lex is an arrogant, tough, streetwise character... who never learned to read or write beyond a very low grade school level. The series implied several times that he had Dyslexia. It's a major source of insecurity for him, and he does try to improve his skills more than once.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The series was set in "The City" - not only did they refuse to give it a proper name, but they even went out of their way to avoid pinning down which country (or continent!) they were in. All the actors spoke with New Zealand accents, but a British 50p coin was seen in an early episode, and several times British banknotes were also shown. No other cities were ever mentioned, and the only landmark was Eagle Mountain, but there aren't any mountains by that name in either New Zealand or mainland Britain (though there is one in Northern Ireland, and several in the United States). Despite the fact that the producers tried to pull out all the stops to do the whole Canada Does Not Exist thing, the obvious New Zealand accents, the vague similarity of the City to real-life Wellington, and the fact that every time they go outside the City, there's invariably an establishing shot of wildlife which... well, clearly isn't British, kind of lets it down somewhat. Also, the tribe which kidnaps Dal and Trudy and attempts to sell them into slavery, has a tent which clearly identifies it as belonging to some community group from Upper Hutt, a satellite city of Wellington.
  • Non-Residential Residence: The main tribe of characters (appropriately named "The Mall Rats") live in an abandoned mall.
  • Noodle Incident: We never did see what happened at Lex and Zandra's wedding.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • Amber appears to die in the generator explosion at the beginning of season 2, along with Zandra; by season 3, it's revealed she's very much alive and the leader of the Eco tribe, calling herself Eagle.
    • The final episodes of season five reveal a bunch of the people who were thought to have died were really alive, and Word of God revealed at least one more who survived.
  • Number of the Beast: The code to disarm the Guardian's bomb is 666.
  • Off the Wagon: Lex became an alcoholic early in the series, and later on, Salene.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: At the height of his madness, the Guardian plants a bomb at the mall and prepares to blow everyone up in a forced mass suicide, seeing the entire world as sinful.
  • Only Fatal to Adults: The Virus, also see Anyone Can Die.
  • Origins Episode: There were two of these in the second season; one focused on Zoot and Ebony; the other focused on Lex and Ryan (though the latter example was submerged as a very long flashback).
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish":
    • The super secret password protecting all research regarding the Virus is please. The resident genius over-thought and didn't think to try it himself.
    • On a related note, some episodes later, the tribe is at the lab they think might help them figure out the antidote - Jack and Dal try to get anything to happen with the computer system, but nothing does until Jack, again accidentally, discovers that the system is voice activated.
  • Praetorian Guard:
    • Ebony's militia were a small group of ex-Locos (chaotic evil post-apunkalyptic teenage street fighters) who were loyal to Ebony and still wore the old team colors. When Ebony left the mall, she took the militia with her.
    • Billy-Boy, leader of the Jackals, was often accompanied by his own Goon Squad in Season 2.
    • As was Moz of the Mozquitoes in Season 3. The Guardian, leader of the religious cult "The Chosen," had the elite Praetorian Guard.
  • Product Placement: The Technos run on Apple.
  • Put on a Bus: many characters mysteriously "disappeared" during the later series, some it was heavily implied were killed, others (Amber and Jack being notable examples).
  • The Quisling: Ebony for the Technos in season 4. She doesn't quite realize this at first, and thinks they're equal partners. Then they move into her mansion, and in a later episode Ram reminds her that she's just a puppet before shooting one of his minions in front of her.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Almost all of the mallrats deaths and disappearances were done because the cast members quit. Apart from the ones who were fired.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: A pretty clear indication that the Locos are a villain faction is their tribal colors: black and red.
  • Resemblance Reveal: The reveal of Java and Siva, Ebony's sisters in Series 4. The sisters unmistakably look like Ebony, with a similar figure, facial features, poise and long, thin braids (and are in fact related in real life). Prior to the reveal, they spent several episodes wearing robot-like masks.
  • The Rival:
    • Lex is a rival to Bray, as well as most other males on the show with any authority. He's also a thug and a petty criminal who thinks he's much more awesome than he really is.
  • Schizo Tech: The show became this when the Technos arrived with their zap guns and Virtual Reality games. (Yet still being run on CRT-era iMacs.)
  • Science Is Bad: Tai-Sain believes this, at least, initially. She may have grown out of it by the second series though, when she is the only person entrusted with the formula for the Antidote to the Virus.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: The Guardian, the fundamentalist preacher of the Chosen cult, actively represses his own sexual desires. He takes it very badly when Trudy offers herself to him, as he had conferred the title of Supreme Mother unto her as she carried the child of Zoot, his supposed God. He gets into a complicated relationship with Tai-San, whom he genuinely lusts for, while seeking spiritual advice from her.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man:
    • Exaggerated in first season. The series takes place in a lawless, post-apocalyptic city, where civilization has entirely collapsed and people do terrible things to survive. Most characters- both male and female- have grown pragmatic and distrustful because of this, if not outright evil. And then there's Bray, who is introduced as Trudy's protector, refusing adamantly to abandon her and her unborn child. Even though the child isn't his. Even though the child is actually the son of his tyrannical younger brother. And said brother is hunting Trudy because of this, and Trudy is emotionally fragile at the best of times. Bray still stands up to the tribe of protagonists, saying 'If I join, so does she.' The ensuing flood of romantic attention and catfights nearly destroys the fledging tribe.
    • Later on, Bray exemplifies the other end of this trope. He tries to stay away from said romantic attention, focusing instead on scavenging and helping his tribe...and thus falls for Amber, the confident, responsible leader of said tribe who is strongly dedicated to helping others. She's a bit reluctant to return Bray's feelings, seeing him as The Casanova who spread discord among her tribe, but they eventually hook up and become the political version of a Battle Couple.
    • A gender-flipped version in Lex, a Jerkass. After dating Zandra and Alice, he realises that what he really wants in a partner is someone he can respect, someone who shares similar survival abilities and isn't afraid to disagree with him. He finds this in Tai-San.
  • The Smart Guy: Both Jack and Dal who together are able to get a water filtration system for the Mallrats to use.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: After joining the Mallrats, Ebony still wears the red and black clothing associated with the Locos, her old tribe.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Zoot, the infamous tyrant terrifying everyone, dies from falling off a railing early into season one. The event serves both to create plot tension (the Mall Rats know that no-one would believe they weren't responsible for his death, so they do their best to hide it) and to establish that the villains' "strength is everything" ideology means nothing in a realistic setting where people can die for stupid reasons, however good they are in a fight.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Series 1 avoided this. Series 2 - 5, it became a regular occurrence, most notably Danni replacing Amber, Amber then replacing Danni, and Jay replacing Bray.
  • Take Over the City: Pretty much all the series' bad guys' end goal is to establish a new regime over the city, varying from lawless anarchism to religious fundamentalism to technocratic dictatorships.
  • There Are No Adults: All the adults of the world dying of a mysterious virus.
  • There Are No Therapists: And Trudy (among others) really, really needs one. Pretty literal use of the trope considering there's no adults at all.
  • Team Mom: Amber mothers or bosses everyone she comes into contact with. To such an extent that she's the de facto leader of the Mall Rats, no matter who else is technically in charge.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Trudy is pregnant and gives birth in Series 1, she's also a teen Salene and Amber in Series 3.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Ebony to Amber after the fall of the Locos in season 1. When it's revealed that Amber survived the explosion, while everyone thought she died, only Ebony saw her alive. She then proceeds to make Amber believe that Bray was cheating on her with Ebony, and uses Amber's grave as a means of explaining nobody wants her. Amber believes her and then disappears. Nobody finds out she was really alive all along until season 3, and even then Ebony's role in her leaving is never mentioned.
    • Ebony further to Trudy in season 2. She arranges Trudy's kidnapping by the Chosen, and then pretends to not know anything about her kidnapping to Bray and the Mallrats. This at least is revealed in season 3 when Trudy returns (albeit evil now) and exposes Ebony's role in her capture by the Chosen.
    • Ebony again to Amber and Trudy in season 3. She arranges their kidnapping and imprisonment with Ned, frames the Chosen for it, and emotionally manipulates a very distraught Bray that he's not capable of leading the City. The end result finds Ned murdered by the Guardian, the Guardian free from captivity and running off to reform the Chosen, and Ebony in complete control of the city.
    • Ebony, again, to Bray and a pregnant Amber in the season 3 finale. Bray finds out too little too late of Ebony's manipulations as new leader of the city and calls her out on her misdeeds in front of everyone. Ebony responds with banishing Bray and Amber from the city entirely, even though Amber was close to giving birth.
    • Ebony to Java and Siva when they were with the Locos. Though the sisters had a volatile relationship even before the virus, they swore to start fresh and take care of each other after their family died. Java and Siva were uncomfortable being with the Locos because of their violent behavior and wanted to leave, but Ebony ratted out their intentions to Zoot and they were imprisoned with the intention of being executed. Even though they were later released, Ebony believed they'd died and barely batted an eyelash and continued on with her life as if they never existed. Their appearance in season 4 and first confrontation with Ebony was on of the few times Ebony showed real fear at that point.
    • Ellie towards Jack in season 3, after the fall of the Chosen and Jack returns to the City after being enslaved. Ellie by this point had already moved on with Luke, who'd previously been the Guardian's second-in-command. When Jack tries to rekindle his relationship with her, Ellie is cold and cruel to him and never tells him why. He witnesses Ellie and Luke kissing and that's how he finds out about their relationship. He leaves, feeling the Mallrats betrayed him by not telling him about this relationship, but Chloe goads him into coming back. Upon his return, Ellie treats his return as an intrusion and is colder and meaner to him than ever.
  • True Companions: The Mall Rats have this sort of relationship. They are one big, dysfunctional family - complete with marriages, affairs, power-grabs, friendships, substitute parental figures and siblings both literal and metaphorical. They frequently had issues and disagreements in the group but would come together as a tribe when they needed to.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The film is (obviously) set in the future of when it was first made, as the Virus hasn't happened yet; but the obvious-with-hindsight invoked Technology Marches On of the computers, CD players etc. suggests it wasn't that far into the future.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Waste" and later, "Delete" for killing someone or making them disappear.
    • To "waste" someone was fairly common slang during the time of the show's run (it's still well-understood, just not as popular in 2010 as it was in the '90s).
    • Also "Virt" (how the Technos referred to other tribes, derived from "Virtual") ... as opposed to the Technos, who are "real" people, the "Virts" are considered second-class, as though they merely appear to be living.
  • Viking Funeral: During Season 1, Zoot, the psychotic leader of tribe Locos, gets a Viking-style sendoff as well. This is mainly because the local cemetery has been overrun by members of a hostile rival tribe, but also because (as his brother Bray explains) " Zoot thought of himself as a warrior chief."
  • Villainous Legacy: Zoot, the leader of the Locos in season 1, continues to effect events long after his death. These include the Chosen, a fanatical cult who revere Zoot as a god, and a straight-up resurrection of his old tribe in the form of the Zootists with a Zoot impersonator. Though it seems his legacy will finally be laid to rest when the impersonator drops the act on a live broadcast and admits that the city has lived long enough in Zoot's shadow.
  • Wetware CPU: The Technos are carrying out a secret project by kidnapping various people and hooking them up to an inescapable virtual reality environment for Ram's private enjoyment. The hordes of respawning mooks he fights off are created from those people's minds.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The Demon Dogs seemed to disappear after the Locos do, though they never were as large or as organized.
    • Many members of the Mall Rats disappear and are never seen again, some of whom are children: Paul, Charlie, Andy, Tally, Dee and Patch just disappear into thin air either between episodes or between seasons, while Bray, Cloe, Tai-San and Ved are "deleted" (which, depending on the source, either means executed or imprisoned).
    • One that can't be blamed on a change of actor would be the male baby that was being used to impersonate Brady in Season 2. As soon as it's revealed it's not Brady he up and vanishes from the plot completely. Particularly strange considering he couldn't have left on his own and someone had to look after him yet there's not even a hint to suggest he was abandoned or placed somewhere safe.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lex calls Tai-San out about her treatment of him during early season one when she begins going off at him about his treatment of Alice.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Made in New Zealand, and starring an all-New Zealand cast with distinctive New Zealand accents ... but set in "The City", with absolutely no obvious landmarks anywhere. Not only that, but on the rare occasions early on in the show when old money from before the apocalypse was shown, it seemed to be British coinage.
    • In particular, Lex tossing a 50 pence piece, and Ryan hoarding thousands in £50 notes- both shown in the first series
    • Zoot's Police Car was a New Zealand/Australian model, but with blue insignia more typical of American police cars. They really went out of their way to avoid setting that show in a specific country.
    • Also, in one episode, Jack finds a tape with footage of the President (presumably of the United States, given his American accent and other clues in the footage); later, he simply refers to the character on that tape as "The President" (not "The American President" as we would expect a non-US native to call him). This actually implies that The City is in American territory, despite the kids' mostly New Zealand accents and speech idioms.
    • However, even though the actors all had fairly obvious NZ accents, it was put about on the (early '00s, now obsolete) Tribeworld Message board that Word of God stated that all of the actors were put through some kind of American accent training. Yes, they're still obviously from NZ, but when you look at some of the DVD extras, especially with some of the older actors, the NZ accent was somewhat toned down within the series' universe. Not a lot, but there's a definite if subtle difference.
    • Occasionally (when the setting becomes more rural or gets close to the edge of town) there are establishing shots featuring wildlife. Let's put it this way, that wildlife does not look British.
    • More "Where the Hell is Springfield" weirdness pops up when you consider the utter and total lack of any guns. Points to somewhere other than Australia, North America or Canada, which would have a lot of guns accessible by civilians in the post-apocalypse. The Locos have a police car but no police firearms (suggesting that, in the pre-tribe world, the police didn't regularly carry guns). Even when the City gets invaded by Technos with stun guns, no one dusts off their parents' old gun. Obviously it was a kid's show, but the context seems to imply a country with very strict gun control before the viral apocalypse.
    • Of course, it's possible that the kids speaking and reading "English" could be a Translation Convention, considering how generic the setting is.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Trudy in Series 3 when she has the Mallrats at her mercy:
    Trudy: Do you remember Jack? When I was just a scared pregnant Girl begging to be allowed to stay here?
    Salene: We took you in Trudy!
    Trudy: I was never welcome here! Do you have any idea how that felt?
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Ryan hoards a sack full of banknotes, which he tries to use to buy off Ebony and her people when they are holding Dal captive. They are not impressed and promptly use them as fuel. Retroactively became Fridge Logic when New Zealand switched to polymer banknotes, which don't even burn, during the show's run (the show also used prop British banknotes, which were only switched to polymer many years after the show).
  • Younger Than They Look: Both Amber and Ebony are only 14 when the series starts; you wouldn't be able to tell by the way they act.
  • You Have Failed Me: Ram kills a Techno who completely failed his programming mission, mostly to show Ebony that he doesn't shy away from killing people. He does it again in a later episode in front of the rest of his terrified soldiers... then asks Siva what's up with a big smile on his face.