Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Word About a Tribe

I have written about tv series on here before. However, I don't think I ever wrote about The Tribe. That's mostly because I watched it before I got this blog. I'd probably still list it as one of my favorite series.

Today I was watching - of all shows - Degrassi The Next Generation. Well, I was also zapping to other things so I missed large part and as such I didn't really understand the plot. Or know many of the characters. I don't know what they were doing, but it seemed they were doing something special with their episode. Well, that's besides the point anyway. What is not besides the point is that as I was watching it, for a moment, the show felt like The Tribe.

I have some ideas about how that came to be, but before I get in to that, let me first give you something of an idea what the scene was about. A group of kids had been making a road trip with a school bus (or so it seemed, I don't know exactly) and now they were stuck in the middle of nowhere. People were angry with the one responsible for the bus getting stolen, but though there was this conflict, they couldn't get stuck on it. Even though not all of them were able to get along quite as well as one would hope, they were completely dependent on one another.

And that's what I believe set the scene for making it feel like it was like The Tribe. The Tribe had this same thing. We were seeing a seemingly randomly assembled group of kids, united by the fact that they were refusing to join one of the gangs - or "tribes" - and thus they formed a Tribe. They ended up in a relatively isolated situation in which they are fully dependent on one another, even if they do not like each other.

I could go into discussing why I might like a series with a premise like that, but let's not. I don't want this to be too much about me. Instead, I am going to talk about me in a different way. I am going to talk about why I think this reminded me of the Tribe in specific. It may well be that the abandoned grass field which was the setting for a scene that could well have taken place on The Tribe. I do remember a similar scene when The Tribe was about to fall apart, though that was only two people (I believe) rather than an entire group. I think there is more to it.

The Tribe wasn't exactly the sole series with a premise like that. One of my other favorite examples of a series like that would be "Transformers: Beast Wars". This was about a group of robots (that could turn into animals) that lived on a planet with nobody to keep them company but the opposing group. Though this was more based around the conflict (where the Tribe was more about problem solving and internal conflict, with the threat of external conflict lying around the corner) it has the same principles of a group working together not by choice but by necessity. Interestingly enough, it also shared a lot of other things with the Tribe like the way the main group was composed (my favorite comparison has to be Dinobot/Lex).

Then why didn't the scene feel like Beast Wars instead? Well, we have had the scenery already, which could have been plucked straight out of a The Tribe episode and there is also the very obvious fact that Beast Wars is an animated series, while the Tribe, like Degrassi, is acted. However, while it may have played a big role, I don't think that's the crux of it.

I think the crux of it is that The Tribe is the series I identify the "genre" (the genre of the group of people working together not by choice) with. And that is only possible because I have seen extremely little else in the genre lately. Perhaps it's just not a liked genre in Hollywood?

(I should add that, the series I mentioned and others I can think of right now aren't Hollywood series. Nevertheless, I don't know everything, so I may just be off on that. Also, the premise of Lost suggests that it may be in this genre as well, but the "ensemble cast" idea that I have heard so much about in connection to the show would allow it to break out of the genre as well. However, I haven't watched the show, so I can't say much about it.)