Unfair criticism of Tribes of Europa on Netflix: I can't understand your contempt

I was really looking forward to Tribes of Europa. After all, after the terrific Dark, it's the next German sci-fi production from Netflix. But no matter how qualitatively the series really fares, I was prepared for one thing: that the German audience will ruin this ambitious series.

As an Austrian, I have developed a special ear for criticism by Germans of German series because it is extremely alien to me. There is another way!

Is it up to the Tribes of Europa at Netflix - or is it up to you?

I have the advantage of looking impartially and from the outside at the German series identity and I see a torn soul. It wants to compete internationally, but is never considered good enough.

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Five years ago, my colleague Hendrik Busch wrote in an article on the German series Tomorrow I hear very aptly:

It seems to me that the decision has been postponed. Admittedly, the TV and streaming criticism opens up, albeit in slow motion, of the German series landscape. After internationally acclaimed and sold series hits like Germany 83, Babylon Berlin and Dark would be anything else unworldly.

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I hope that at some point this trend will develop into a socially acceptable, unironic affection for German and German-language series in Germany. When I moved from Vienna to Berlin almost 8 years ago, I raised eyebrows for my love of series for Austrian gems.

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How do you celebrate domestic series, the skeptical looks asked me. Because a stubborn part of the German audience still seems to insist on their right that Germany has to deliver the next Game of Thrones. Everything below this production value is misunderstood.

German series almost always do better internationally than here

It is a widespread misconception that the German series industry cannot produce anything properly. Yes, the German quality series only picked up speed in the last decade. In 2021, however, German series pessimism is only an excuse to condescently label the next German production. A vicious circle.

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At Moviepilot, Tribes of Europa has a rating of 5.1 out of 10 - an absolutely devastating verdict for a new series. Compared to that, another Netflix series that came out recently and that was also said to have a lack of World Building does significantly better: 5.1 points for Tribes of Europa compared to 6.7 points for Fate: The Winx Saga.

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The international audience rated Tribes of Europa at IMDb with a 6.6 and Fate: The Winx Saga with a 6.9. At Rotten Tomatoes, Tribes of Europa got a solid audience approval of 80 percent. But even with Moviepilot well-rated German series like Babylon Berlin and Dark do a whole lot better internationally.

I can still remember how I celebrated Dark from minute one while so many around me disliked the supposedly wooden dialogues. Instead of discussing on a content level, there is a lot of excitement in this country about the craft and especially about the (own) language. This is also the case with Tribes of Europa.

You can listen to the actors in the trailer for Tribes of Europa

Tribes of Europe

I can assure everyone who grew up with Standard German but can't stand the language in German series: Standard German has never been a pleasant language. It doesn't matter whether the actors in Tribes of Europa speak a somewhat more artificial drama school German or I open the eavesdroppers at Lidl in Berlin Friedrichshain.

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In Austria we are used to our softened, sloppy and also rather lazy dialect, which is an entire octave below Standard German. Standard German has always seemed artificial to me and mostly far too harsh for its content.

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My guess is that for many Germans it just doesn't feel too German and, above all, shouldn't listen to it in order to be able to switch off in front of the television in the evening.

The language is of course the most important point. We are so used to the consumption of what is actually "artificial German", namely German synchronization, that the direct German spoken in front of the camera is often strange.

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And when German is "too German", German series naturally have a problem. Please be reconciled to the unyielding sound of your own language. If not for me, then for the benefit of the artists.

Tribes of Europa is nothing less than a sci-fi sensation with some compromises

It seems particularly difficult in this country to have German series that penetrate genre areas such as sci-fi and fantasy because, due to a lack of German production, they create something unprecedented in German.

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The way I see it, Tribes of Europa is an absolute sci-fi sensation from Germany with a few flaws. Expensive series have so far only dared to venture into the usual areas such as thriller and crime, which in the case of Babylon Berlin then takes place in the 1920s. Tribes of Europa dares something completely new for Germany.

There has never been a German series like this. And she is being punished in this country for being from Germany.

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The malice towards German series is a serious symptom

Of course, just treating the symptom and defending Tribes of Europa doesn't help (although I like the show a lot and will continue to do it).

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If German attempts to set up sci-fi and fantasy are punished so much for being German, then the industry will not be able to grow reasonably from them.

This collective awareness that German series are embarrassing, boring, or just plain bad is a serious problem. Series like Tribes of Europa pay the price with a lot of malice and unfair criticism from the audience.

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The disease probably means neglect of the German serial soul for decades, the symptom bitterness. But that's no longer necessary, folks. You have really strong series and you don't have to take your frustration out on Tribes of Europa.

You currently have a fantastic repertoire of current German series on Netflix, Sky, TV NOW, in the media libraries and more. Make the most of it and raise your awareness of it! Don't let new genre conquests burst under the pressure of your expectations!

If Austria had set up something as big as Tribes of Europa, we would have set up a public holiday for it. But that's another problem.