The Tribe is a television series with a very simple premise: the world's adults have been wiped out by a virus, leaving the children to fend for themselves, form a new society and find an antidote to the virus before they grow old enough to be susceptible themselves. Cue children running around with silly clothes and sillier face paint, finding time, in between moaning about the usual teenage (or pre-teen) traumas, to carve out a new world. The action centres around one particular tribe - as the new, family-like gangs of children have taken to labelling themselves - the Mall Rats, who inhabit the city's shopping mall.
The Tribe has a relatively high turnover of main characters (though not exceedingly so, compared to, say, soap operas), but for the most part the action is restricted to these characters and it is rare for characters without recurring appearances to have an important impact on the events that unfold. This list, therefore, is by no means exhaustive.
For convenience, characters are broken down into good guys and bad guys - though the definition is often fluid - gathered together by the series that first introduced them.
Series One - Good Guys
Bray (Dwayne Cameron)
Starting off dark, mysterious and seemingly untrustworthy, everybody (but Lex) seems to trust Bray immediately. Then, if they're female, they fall in love with him. Bray is always trying to do the right thing by those around him, often to an annoying degree. A natural leader, it's generally down to Bray (and his current squeeze) to formulate the next plan-of-action, which as a rule turns out to be excessively altruistic and self-sacrificing, logical and ultimately ineffective.
Dal (Ashwath Sundarasen)
Wise beyond his years, Dal was planning to leave the city with Amber, and set up a modest farm, away from the chaos created by the collapse of civilisation. Initially angry at being robbed of his dream by a group of kids to whom he feels no sense of responsibility, he soon becomes an integral member of the Mall Rats, often teaming up with Jack to achieve a vital task, be that scavenging for food or medicine or creating a trap for their enemies.
Amber (Beth Allen)
Strong, beautiful and with a slightly naïve, but ultimately virtuous sense of how the new world should be, Amber decided not to leave the city with Dal because she felt they had to look after the poor little kiddies. A born mother, fighter, diplomat and leader, Amber is largely responsible for the strength and unity of the Mall Rats, giving the timid courage and pulling the more strongly opinionated back into line when they stray from the Tribe's chosen course. A survivor, Amber is often down, but never out, returning even when you really thought she was gone for good.
Trudy (Antonia Prebble)
One of the most complex and therefore interesting, of the characters, Trudy juggles many roles in the programme. She is a mother, lover, orphaned daughter, tribe-member, and, simply, a teenage girl. Trudy's desire to secure a place for herself (and her baby) in a new, terrifying society, and just to be loved, force her to enter unexpected, often disastrous relationships and allegiances, and more than once she finds herself having to choose between protecting her own interests and those of her friends. The show deals with these choices in a sophisticated way and rather than simple 'loyalty = good, selfishness = bad' messages, we are presented with an honest world where concern about one's own interests is never totally unreasonable and self-preservation isn't just necessary, but encouraged.
Salene (Victoria Spence)
Salene changes a great deal in reaction to the events that have befallen her. She starts the series as a frightened child, forced to protect Cloe, Patsy and Paul because they are younger than her, but never quite comprehending just what has been forced upon her. She soon, however, is forced to grow up far more rapidly than is healthy, and in a way lives through the whole of a girl's teenage years in the course of just one. This plays itself out in a variety of fears, battles, hopes and loves, and there is never any suggestions that she will simply cope with whatever is thrown at her.
Lex (Caleb Ross)
Tough, arrogant, selfish and heartless, Lex is only out for himself, and doesn't care who knows it. He finds himself a member of the Mall Rats only as the better option to being thrown out to the Dogs and Locusts outside, and it is a long time before he is truly welcomed into the group. Never truly earning trust, Lex is always trying to find ways of cutting a good deal for himself, even if it means selling out his Tribe. He is tempered only by his seemingly insatiable love of women, each who tries to tame him and who, while always partially succeeding, never really reform him.
Ryan (Ryan Runciman)
Stupid, but loyal and caring, Ryan represents the potential for brawn to overcome intelligence. It is never clear whether Ryan's failure to take any power which he could is down to Lex's constant manipulation of him, or whether he really does hide a good heart. However, there are certainly indications that he has no intention of allowing the world to become a cruel and uncaring place, instead going out of his way to help others, even when it is not in his best interest, or frequently theirs.
Zandra (Amy Morrison)
Innocent, naïve and never really facing up to what has happened, Zandra could never have survived if she were not to have allied herself with Lex and Ryan. Beyond this bond, however, there is no similarity to her male companions: she is more obsessed with her clothes and hair than seizing power or making 'money'. Zandra is fickle, silly, rash - essentially young - and while always eager to claim that she is different from the younger children she always ends up grouped with, her main argument seems to be that they have no idea about nail polish, rather than anything indicative of maturity.
Cloe (Jaimee Kaire-Gataulu)
Cloe is another of the younger children forced to grow up far too fast, always eager to prove that she can play with the big kids and doesn't need babysitting. However, Cloe does tend to need babysitting. She will get herself into scrapes, not through any great idiocy, but simply thoughtlessness - adopting a goat, for example, even if there is nowhere safe for it to graze. Later, however, Cloe proves herself and, though the path to her becoming a woman is not smooth, you get the feeling there's no chance of that in the world of The Tribe, that she's doing as good a job as can be expected of her.
Jack (Michael Wesley-Smith)
A proud geek, Jack is never happier than when he is tinkering with some contraption or electronic component. A misfit who finds himself ideally suited to a new world where his skills no longer place him firmly at the edge of society, ostracised by his peers; but, instead, a vital member of a new community. There is a definite tension between Jack's desire to rebuild many of the creature comforts from the old world and the push to create a new society, no longer so reliant on machinery and technical wizardry without which everyone is lost.
Tai-San (Michelle Ang)
Zany, spiritual and with a real hint of arrogance and stubbornness, it is Tai-San who attends to the Mall Rats religious/spiritual/pop-psychological needs. For any occasion, she has a ritual to be performed, for any problem, she has sagely advice. The Mall Rats depend on Tai-San in many ways - sometimes perhaps too much - frequently she seems to have her own agenda, whether that be to seduce anyone she is attracted to, to ensure that nobody could ever take her place or just to look good!
KC (Ari Boyland)
A cheeky, but lovable (aren't they always) rogue, KC is always looking for the next scam. There's a very real feeling that if any of the girls were ever to think of him as anything other than a friend (and a bit of a joke, at that) he would be instantly transformed. It's just a pity that this isn't ever going to happen. KC can, however, be relied upon to play his part in whatever the latest wacky scheme the Mall Rats have put into action is, and more than once has risked everything to protect his friends.
Patsy (Sarah Major)
Patsy, another younger member of our intrepid band, finds herself the only one able to understand her deaf brother's sign-language and thus is responsible for him. Not yet able to think long-term to any degree, Patsy is generally more concerned about the source of the next meal than the safety of her new friends. Rather too easily persuaded, Patsy's allegiances occasionally switch dramatically, though in the end, she usually finds her way back to those who have supported her.
Paul (Zachary Best)
Profoundly deaf Paul never lets his disability hamper him and he's always at the centre of the crazy scrapes that his sister, Patsy, and her friend Cloe always find themselves in. Paul's (almost) super-power is his acute ability to sense vibrations and he is frequently better at detecting intruders than the rest of the bunch (whose hearing, frankly, can't be up to much!) - a fact which time and again the rest of the tribe forget, seemingly unable to remember how he saved them from one crisis to the next.
Series One - Bad Guys
Ebony (Meryl Cassie)
Conniving, back-stabbing, ruthless and brutal, Ebony is only out for herself. Or is she? Love her or hate her - and for plenty of Tribe fans Ebony is their favourite character - Ebony is one of the most complex and interesting, characters in The Tribe. It is generally far from clear what her motives are and, while it is often tempting to assume that she is simply out for revenge, indulging petty spite or just trying to grab power wherever she can, the truth is never that simple. Ebony feels that she has been betrayed or abandoned by everyone she has ever loved, and while we never know just how much this is excuse or a genuine reason for her behaviour, her absolute distrust of other human beings seems deep-founded and, perhaps, justified.
Zoot (Daniel James)
We don't really get much of a first-hand look at Zoot, creating an enigma, with far more about him we don't know - and more questions unanswered - than that which we do. Zoot seems about as far as can be from the person he was before the virus and yet we see a certain inevitability of circumstances leading to where he ultimately ends up. Strong, persuasive and about as misguided as they get, the world according to Zoot is one ruled by 'power and chaos', and yet there is a large and attractive element of self-assertion in his world-view. Perhaps, in the end, Zoot represents just what The Tribe is all about.
Series Two - Good Guys
Danni (Ella Wilks)
When Danni becomes Bray's latest bit of fluff, she also takes it upon herself to change the Mall Rats main aim from self-preservation to a sort of United Nations, wading into serious conflicts and attempting to bring tribe leaders together to solve their problems. Despite her noble aims, Danni comes across as self-important, opinionated and frankly annoying. In fact, large portions of the fanbase have formed a vociferous anti-Ella Wilks movement. Ultimately, Danni's drive stems from (misplaced) guilt and it is never entirely clear that she is an altruist at all, rather that just trying to sleep at night.
Ellie (Jennyfer Jewell)
Ellie is slightly self-obsessed and permanently stroppy, but ultimately benign. She sets herself up as a journalist believing that dissemination of truth is an essential part of the creation of a new world. Her (noble) integrity frequently finds her having to report the mistakes that her own Tribe has made and there is always a question of whether a free press really is a necessity, or even helpful, in a formative society. Often ruled by her emotions more than is helpful, she takes forever to find the right bloke - and no time at all to find the wrong one.
Alice (Vanessa Stacey)
Proving that big is beautiful, Alice is Ellie's big sister and is deeply protective of her young charge. A formidable opponent (in the ring as well as outside) in the moments when Alice lets her heart rule her head, you wouldn't want to get in her way. Alice is older and wiser than many of the other members of the Tribe, but in a way seems to lack the vision necessary to make her a big player in world affairs and seems all too often relegated to glorified bodyguard, rather than decision maker.
May (Laura Wilson)
May is a born - or perhaps bred - survivor. She is a loner who finds it hard to see the view of others and can't take on the responsibility that this would require. She takes a long time to decide whether her place is with the Mall Rats or not. Naïve, and prone to self-deception, May finds herself changing from someone who trusts nobody, to someone who trusts people rather too readily, and in the hope of finding love - or safety, or a family - she loses much of the survival traits that have kept her alive.
Series Two - Bad Guys
The Guardian (Damon Andrews)
The mysterious, driven and quite likely insane leader of the 'Chosen' is known simply as 'The Guardian'. He understands how to manipulate people and the power that religion can wield over the lives of its followers, and will go to any lengths to make people succumb to his will. It is never clear whether he really does believe he is creating a new, peaceful world and there are certainly strong hints that it is his right-hand man, Luke, that is responsible for the slight improvements brought about by the Chosen's otherwise oppressive, brutal regime and that The Guardian himself is acting out a power-complex or is following genuine religious zeal wrapped around a core of pure insanity.
Series Three - Good Guys
Pride (Nick Miller)
Pride is a member of the Eco Tribe, who leaves his home in the forest and living-with-nature to help in the fight against the Chosen. He does not, however, abandon his training, nor his belief that the future lies in harmony with nature, rather than the precarious balance that was once created by humanity's fight against nature. Spiritual, selfless and driven, Pride is sometimes less than honest with himself about what is really driving him and on more than one occasion this results in a successful outcome of a plan whose main aim he quickly realises was not something he truly wanted.
Ned (Bevin Linkhorn)
Big, brawny and only out for himself, it is often unclear whether Ned has any redeeming features whatsoever. He is a pig when it comes to eating, women and even taking care of his younger siblings, Andy and Tally. While largely distrusted by the Mall Rats (and with good reason) he has a complex relationship with Alice, being in something of a similar situation to her. It seems likely that he would make a useful member of the team, at least in terms of muscle, were he to fully commit to it; but this seems something he is incapable of doing, unable to stop thinking about number one.
Series Three - Bad Guys
Lieutenant Luke (Jacob Tomuri)
Luke is the Lieutenant of the Chosen, and the person that translates The Guardian's latest ravings into actions. While he initially goes along with this, it is clear that his aims are somewhat different from those of The Guardian and that he may have been wrong to believe that his Tribe was striving for a peaceful world, onto which the Chosen have imposed safety for all. There is a deep struggle for Luke, whether he can give up the power to achieve this goal and whether the realisation of this goal by any means would undermine the very thing for which he is striving.
Series Four - Good Guys
Dee (Kelly Stevenson)
With a dodgy accent stuck somewhere between Northern England and New Zealand, Dee used to be a Mosquito, but joined the Mall Rats in the hope that they might be able to resist the new threat posed by the Technos. Strong-willed, and a real go-getter, Dee doesn't let anyone talk down to her, much less boss her around. Put in a position of responsibility, Dee takes her work very seriously and always thinks about her duties before any opinions on what she might like to be doing.
Mouse (Jacinta Wawatai)
Tiny Mouse is the youngest ever Mall Rat, but astoundingly eloquent and often sensible for her age. While she likes fun and games as much as the next kid, she also demands responsibility from those around her and is well aware of the complexity of the situation around her, even if she can't comprehend the details. Always eager to join in, Mouse frequently gets herself into scrapes, following other Mall Rats in the mistaken belief that she can help out - though, while occasions when she does are rare, there are some when she is just the right kid for the job.
Sammy (Lucas Hayward)
With the strange disappearance of Mouse's brother, Charlie, an older (but otherwise direct) replacement comes in the form of Sammy. In many ways more of a child than Mouse, Sammy is not the greatest of influences on his young friend, except to the extent that he is loyal and cares about her a great deal. Impressionable and easily manipulated, Sammy doesn't always think of the consequences of his actions and often causes crises which never just involve him, but always envelop the whole group.
Patch (Morgan Palmer Hubbard)
Nerdy Jack-replacement Patch knows all about computers and this turns out to be the most useful of knowledge when the Mall Rats are faced with a new technologically advanced enemy. Astoundingly clumsy, if there's something to be tripped over, Patch will trip over it. Twice. Seemingly altruistic and kind without flaw, there seems no end to Patch's kindness and virtue, making his total inability to communicate with the fairer sex implausible to say the least.
Series Four - Bad Guys
Ram (Tom Hern)
Ram is the leader of the Technos. A genius, confined to a wheelchair, Ram turned to technology to provide an escape from his disability. However, this still does not allow him the freedom he might desire and he still relies on a group of close allies to help him get his way. Always playing his cards close to his chest, it is rarely possible to work out just what Ram is scheming, though you can generally be sure that it is a well-thought out scheme, with no regard for the people that must be sacrificed to make it happen and no alternative but success.
Jay (James Napier)
With every duplicate of the Chosen and every duplicate of The Guardian, there must be a duplicate Lieutenant, and it is Jay who takes this place as Ram's right hand man. If something needs to be done, Jay's the guy to do it, though not without some consideration on his part as to how the objective should best be achieved, and even whether it should be attempted at all. As with Luke, Jay is uncertain whether the price being paid for a new world order is too great and whether Ram is really the man to do it.
Ved (Dan Weekes)
Jay's younger brother and another member of Ram's inner circle, Ved is the computer programming genius, who, along with Ram, creates the technology which enables the Technos to achieve their objectives with such ease. More firmly behind the cause than his brother, it is often Ved who reminds Jay of his duties and not the other way round, and it is frequently obvious that there might be a very serious aspect to this sibling rivalry, and that Ved might seriously wish one day to outrank his brother.
Java (Megan Alatini)
One of Ram's two wives, Java is one of the only people able to temper Ram's opinions and one of the closest people to the leader of the Technos. Having a complex relationship with her husband, sometimes Java is able to get what she wants out of Ram, but at other times she is shut out completely. Able to look after herself, particularly with good martial arts skills, Java wields substantial clout within the Technos, even going so far as to issue orders entirely independently of Ram.
Siva (Monique Cassie)
Ram's second (concurrent) wife and Java's sister, Siva, too, is in Ram's inner circle. Strong, but emotionally vulnerable, it is Siva who is most terrified by Ram's wild temper and it often falls to her sister to calm her down. Siva, too, is a martial arts expert and teaches recruits how to look after themselves. While frequently straying from the party line in terms of how she feels about the Technos' activities, Siva is slightly less able that her sister to stand up to their husband and is more often seen pleading than lecturing.
Clearly the names by which the characters are referred to are not standard English names. Some take this to support the claim that the city isn't supposed to be on Earth, at least not present-day Earth. Other indications suggest, however, that these names may have simply been adopted by the children since the virus, as part of their self-assertion. Zoot, for example, was known as 'Martin' before the virus, and the frequent 'relaunches' the children insist upon, with entirely new hairstyles and make-up (frequently achieved in the time it takes to walk from one room to the next) are very occasionally accompanied by new names to reflect their new image.
In the world of The Tribe children have an annoying habit of disappearing - frequently. Major characters are written out without the blink of an eye and they are lucky if anyone even notices they are gone. While such disappearances seem perfectly plausible in a world without telecommunications and with slow transportation at best, it doesn't really make great television.
Occasionally a character with a particular connection to another might mention them, irritatingly frequently, in a vague 'Oh where oh where have they gone' sort of way. Do not be deceived - even this doesn't guarantee their return - and more often than not boredom, rather than the return of their loved one, is what shuts these people up. In fact, as if a deliberate attempt to flummox Tribe actors' agents, trying to negotiate a good deal for their clients being written out, dead characters seem to have a better chance of turning up again in The Tribe than someone who has disappeared!