rodlox (rodlox) wrote,

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Meme: tv shows that should've been: "Unilateral"

I really forgot about this.

Back in January, Noveltea asked me to make Fairies in the modern day world. (Or if fairies aren't your thing, another fantasy creature - no vampires or werewolves.)

many of you may remember this meme went along the lines of
1. Comment to this post with "I surrender!" and I'll assign you the basis of some tv show idea. (Science fiction show, medical drama, criminal procedure, etc...)
2. Create a cast of characters, including the actors who'd play them
3. Add in any actor photos, character bios and show synopsis that you want.
4. Post to your own journal.

I call this tv series

Yifei Liu - Jordana Le
Honeysuckle Weeks - Anon "Ta"
Sarah Shahi - Mab
Dichen Lachman - Oread
Maggie Q - Rakshasa

Guest appearances:
Dr. Kara Cooney: episode 3 "Where the Sand don't Shine."
Lucie Idlout: episode 4 "All Trade Winds."
Carol Ann Ford: episode 9 "Doctor Doctor."
Daniella Farinacci: episode 11 "Landslid."
Dr. Jennifer Clack: episode 14 "Seagone."

Call them the Fae. Call them spirits or shades or embodiments. They're real. They always have been. Nor are they regional beings - every one of them has free range over all of the Earth. And they never stick out unless they chose to.

Masters at control and legality, they came together and reached an agreement. Thousands of years ago, a Treaty was signed. By the terms it contained, the fae agreed to keep to the edges. The fae swore to appear disunited and defeatable.

Mankind was not consulted, or even given a vote. The weak and the bickering inherited the Earth because the treaty was Unilateral.


Werewolves and vampires and magic and ghouls and centaurs do not exist. If God or gods exist, neither hide nor hair of them has been seen, save in the minds of mystics.

The world has only humans, fae, and all the animals and plants.

Under the terms of the treaty, a restricted number of humans are permitted to know about the existance of the broad polity of the fae. But in return, those humans must keep an eye on the fae, and report any fae who is veering out of the agreed-upon paths. But those humans must be accompanied at all times by a fae minder - to ensure that the human watcher does not abuse or misinterpret their power.

For thirteen thousand years, the Treaty has worked reasonably well.

Now, its weight rests on the shoulders of one Jordana Le.

Main Characters:
"Oh good, you're awake."
"Where - why have you taken me?"
"You made a deal. I'm to ensure you honor your word."
"I always do."
"That's why you're still breathing."

-from the opening minute of the pilot.

Jordana Le
"Speaking of dynamite, that's what you lot are like. Even when you're using your powers, its like an unlit stick of dynamite...or a firecracker far overhead - faint and with no indication of how powerful you are."
"I take it you were the tyke who held a lit one?"
"A sparkler."
-Jordana & Kangaroo (played by Daniella Farinacci)


A columnist for a city newspaper, she prided herself on having covered events "in half the Chinatowns on Earth." These days, she wonders if her skill with languages has a bearing on why she was singled out for the deal. And then there are days she thinks her linguistic ability has as much bearing as her mother's long-aching hip.

While she found it easy to make friends before, Jordana tries to keep herself to herself after being unceremoniously yanked into this new life. Not that the fae (or the people she meets in her assignments) help matters in that regard.

Jordana's thankful that, while her job is to keep the fae under control, she isn't asked to physically overpower them. Though she tries, once or twice.

By the finale, Jordana is starting to understand the full reason why the fae would hobble themselves with the Treaty.

Anon "Ta"
"I shall be back, Anon."

-Jordana, Anon.


For a thousand years, she has had no portfolio beyond errand girl, message relayer, and the like. And, lacking a portfolio or a distinctive trade, she was not permitted a proper name. Hence, Anon.

Anon has one of the most wide-ranging palates of the fae, and loves that Jordana's willing to try even half of the menu.

She has the nickname "Ta" because she often says "ta" as she is leaving, or immediately before leaving. As she once remarked when Jordana asked about it, "What, you were expecting something profound?"

Recurring Characters:
"Camoflage? Seriously, you can do that?"
"Well not with the woods. You need to be really really good for that."
"In a crowd. Or in a not-so-crowded. The light changes or we tilt our heads, and we look different."
"Anyone can do that. It's just a trick of the light."
"Not a trick when we do it. And how many ethnicities can you be in a minute?"

-Jordana, Anon.

"What do I call you?"
"Ruler of Millenia, High Queen of the Sidhe, the Open Hand, the -"
"Um, do you have anything shorter?"
"Holder of the Mandate of Heaven."

-Jordana, Mab.


Mab is one of those fae who sees no reason to wear the same clothes now, that she did three thousand years ago; or to wear clothes stereotypically associated with her - those are one of the few things she and Rakshasa agree upon.

Fae society is a knotwork of debts, favors, vows, and sworn oaths. To break any one of those, invites your superiors to make cause with those who were in fealty to you, to move against you and destroy you. The Treaty ties into the mesh of fae interrelationships; that is its strength. But if the fae chose to destroy the Treaty, that same mesh would crush the Treaty into dust.

Like her predecessors, Mab sees no reason to bring an end to the Treaty. Therefore, as she has not been unseated for over three thousand years, Mab has broken squabbles and seen enforcement done to preserve the Treaty.

One of Mab's few living descendants is Anon, who, Mab hopes, will achieve sufficient stature one day to finally deserve a name.

As the absolute ruler for so long, all fae offer prayers to her as well as to their own ancestors (Anon and Rakshasa being the exceptions to Mab-worship, for different reasons)

Episodes 1 (Pilot), 2 (Not an island), 5 (Gravel rock), 8 (Sceptered), 13 (Eye of the), 14 (Seagone).

"Are you a -?"
"Say 'dryad,' and I will kill you."
"I thought you aren't able to do that."
"No, we're not supposed to. And I'll accept the penalties exacted for it. But ask Orestes how much I hate people calling me names. Oh wait, you can't."

-Jordana, Oread.


One of the traditionalists, Oread enjoys wearing earthen and metalic colors. She's also quick to anger. Her and Rakshasa don't get along, so when those two look to be working together - run.

"An earth spirit" is what some have called her. Others say "the embodiment of what is contained in mountains and rocks." Oread does not like the occupation presently filled by Jordana, and sees no reason why she should be nicer to Jordana than she was to the others who held that post.

Appears in Episodes 3 (Where the sand don't shine), 5 (Gravel rock), 10 and 11 (On the edge & Landslid)

"Don't worry, my blood doesn't multiply. Unless I need to defend myself."

As uneasy as she makes Jordana, Rakshasa likes her - likes most of her predecessors as well. She sees the human watchers as a needed balance - "a snake to keep pests from the storehouse, if you like."

Playful with a sense of humor, Rakshasa deals with humans more than Mab likes. Contrary to widespread opinion, Rakshasa has no desire to rule all the fae - but she's more than happy to play on that expectation, to grease the wheels of her plans.

First appears - cameo - in episode 4, but features in episodes 6 (Blood will), 8 (Sceptered), 12 (Out out), 13 (Eye of the).

"If you think that coconut is going to make me go away, you're better read than I thought."
"It'll work?"

-Rakshasa, Jordana.

"So, that whole thing about iron...?"
"Our most effective bit of disinformation in ages."

-Jordana, Mab.

"If the gods exist, they stepped aside ages before even Mab was born."
"So what, just ignore them?"
"Never said that. Just don't thumb your nose at them. That would be giving cause."

-Anon, Jordana.

"But if you exist..."
"Therefore angels do? I've read your articles, so I expected better from you."
"There's nothing else, Jordana. We've looked."
"Damn near destroyed a few continents in the process."

-Jordana, Mab, Rakshasa, Coatl (played by Ruth Wilson)

"But then the Treaty failed."
"How so?"
"People have known about your kind all along."
"True. But while they knew individuals and small groups, not once did they suspect the size of it all. Tended to reserve that sort of world domination for secret human cabals, they did."
"This is funny to you?"
"Immensely. Think of it - growing up with your education, you knew Queen Mab had a court and servants, right?"
"Did you ever consider that those servants included a Hindu demon, a Norse netmaker, a Greek spirit, or an Andean decapitator?"
"Job well done, then."

-Jordana, Rakshasa.

"You're all women - every single fae is a woman."
"Now why do you suppose that is?"

"What do you worship? I mean -"
"Do we worship, you mean."
"We do. Our ancestors."
"You're pulling my leg."
"I'm not having you on. Granted, most of our ancestors are still alive, and can kick our butts."

-Jordana, Rakshasa.

Random Factoids:
* Many who portrayed the fae, including Shahi, Lachman, and Q, enjoyed the opportunity to play with how different they could appear, with a minimum of makeup at all times.

* Some critics were angry that Unilateral showed us the fae having shows of fealty and loyalty, but not of love or passion.

* As the fae were more international in their range, hints were dropped that disparate figures were in fact the same fae...such as the Scottish Ghillie Dhu, the Greek Dryad, and the Japanese Kodama.

* Many reviewers felt that the reason why Unilateral was not picked up for a second season, was in part due to the disconnect of fae society: unlike most other supernatural shows, Unilateral featured not even a single one nonhuman who went to raves and did drugs and all the other things humans do - they interacted with humans, but they lived separate from humans.

* Many in the fandom felt that this was only because we only saw the upper classes of fae, and that the lower classes were hobnobbing with mankind.

The full episode list is 1 (Pilot), 2(Not an island), 3 (Where the sand don't shine), 4 (All trade winds), 5 (Gravel rock), 6 (Blood will), 7 (Calendar girl), 8 (Sceptered), 9 (Doctor Doctor), 10 (On the edge), 11 (Landslid), 12 (Out out), 13 (Eye of the), 14 (Seagone).
Tags: icons, meme, meme tv shows that should be, meme tv shows they should have made
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