For well over 200 years, America has celebrated its freedom from British rule by drinking all the untaxed tea it damn well wants—which is to say none, tea sucks, that’s why we dumped it in the ocean with the rest of the muggy swill. But the new ABC show The Thirteen threatens to upend all we’ve ever known about tea and possibly other things unrelated to tea, imagining a turbulent modern-day America that lost the Revolutionary War and remained under British rule—an unimaginable, upside-down world known as “Canada.” Though of course, the difference between America and Canada remains one of stubborn arrogance, as despite 200 centuries of constant defeat, this America will still be “fighting the British for freedom.” (“That’s the American spirit,” no one will say, the American spirit never having been invented.)
The premise hails from Jim Agnew and Sean Keller, who co-wrote the upcoming Nicolas Cage thriller Tokarev, and naturally involves figuring out a whole lot of thorny alternate history questions that will soon make them long for the simpler days of just giving Nicolas Cage a gun, like: Does this mean the whole rest of the British Empire is still around? Are all the other colonies beyond The Thirteen still under French and Spanish rule? Can we still get decent tacos, at least? These, and other questions that will soon be backburnered behind a romance between an American insurrectionist and a British soldier, probably, because this is still an ABC drama.