An uchronia is a variation of our history, a change in the course of events that creates a completely different outcome. Christopher Columbus tries to go to India and… he lands in India! That would be an uchronia. But what about the uchronias we can find TV?
We have seen examples of uchronias in many different TV shows, but I can’t recall any show that makes of this concept its central theme. J.J. Abrams has given us a few examples but again, not a single show has focused its attention on that: Fringe‘s red universe never suffered the 9/11 attacks and the twin towers still stand on New York’s skyline, but this does not exactly qualify for an uchronia, it is a parallel universe, history has not changed from a turning point, it has never been the same history (just slightly different).
Lost pulls out a really interesting “semi-uchronia” in its sixth season. If we perceive the story of the show like History, the last season creates a variation of one of the most important events of the show: the crashing of the Oceanic Flight 815. At the end, as we all know, the reimagination of the story turns out to be a sort of a limbo space, but until the last minutes of Lost we all thought of it as an alternate reality for our favorites castaways, an uchronia.
NBC’s Kings looks like an uchronia in which New York City is rule by an absolute monarch, but the truth is that its kingdom is actually Gilboa and so the uchronian elements only relay on our imaginary in the sense that Gilboa recalls contemporary NYC. We also have the Doctor (The Doctor? but Doctor Who?) who plays with time in all possible ways. In the first episode of the new series, London’s population discover the Cybermen, an alien race, and human history will never be the same.
But finally, this week, one example of a pure uchronia in television has been released: Amazon’s new pilot The Man in the High Castle where the Second World War was won by the Nazis. After this event, Germany and Japan invaded North America and the result is what we see in the series: a fascist dictatorship. But besides that, the really interesting thing about the pilot episode (which will surely become a series because of the positive reviews and audiences’ opinion) is that, like Lost, creates its own uchronia: our reality.
In this America rebels distribute a film that shows an uchronian world inside this uchronian world: the true America, the winner of the Second World War. Consequently, our world is still present inside this fictional version of America, but as an uchronia. Isn’t this the ultimate way to justify and defend the present EEUU? To see it as a simulacrum. As J. said in his previous post: “fiction is now reality”.
The Homecoming Queen