Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Television’

While you wait for the new X-Files, read David Duchovny’s book

March 26, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Television No Comments →

It has been confirmed that The X-Files will return in ten new episodes featuring Mulder and Scully, who are not so much TV characters as long-lost relatives.

In the meantime, David Duchovny has published a book.


Before he got sidetracked, Duchovny had impeccable literary nerd credentials and was at Yale writing his doctoral dissertation on Thomas Pynchon. His novel is peopled by talking animals. We’re not into anthropomorphic animal novels, not even Animal Farm or the many, many cat detective books, and we suspect that cats are insulted by anthropomorphism, but we’ll read this because it looks odd and funny. Also when we moved into our apartment we didn’t have a bed and we slept on the couch, and for years we didn’t see the point of buying a proper bed when Mulder slept on a couch, too.

LitWit Challenge: Write us some Claire-Jamie-Frank fan fiction and win a set of Outlander books

March 25, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest, Television No Comments →


Do you love the time-travel fantasy series Outlander? How much? Enough to flex some writing muscle and produce a Claire Beauchamp-Jamie Fraser-Frank Randall story?

Win a set of the first four books in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series in our LitWit Challenge. Just write a short story of at least 500 words involving any or all of the major characters Claire the time traveller, her 20th century husband Frank, or her 18th century husband Jamie. Post your stories in Comments on or before noon on Sunday, 5 April 2015. We’re giving away two of these sets, each of them just slightly smaller than Jamie Fraser’s bicep.

Questions you may be asking:

What era should the story be set in? Any time period, including the distant future, as long as the characters are recognizably Claire, Jamie and Frank.

Can the story be R-rated? Yes, we will add warnings in case readers have to avert their eyes.

Does it have to be Claire and Jamie or Claire and Frank, or could it be Jamie and Frank? Knock yourself out.

Could it be Frank and Black Jack? If you can solve the grandfather paradox, knock yourself out.

Puedeng kami ni Jamie? Puede.

Lola T will help us judge the entries, so points will be awarded for kileg.

This LitWit Challenge is brought to you by our friends at National Bookstores.

Game of Thrones TV series will spoil the books

March 23, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Television No Comments →

We will know how A Song of Fire and Ice ends before the books are published, though the details may differ. Benioff, Weiss, Harington and Bradley admit it to the Oxford Union (at 34:30).

Have a love-hate relationship with Girls

March 20, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Television No Comments →

Mamet, Kirke, Dunham and Williams of Girls. More grist for hate-watchers: They are all children of famous people.

I was so repelled by the characters that I had to watch the next episode in the hope that they had fallen onto some train tracks. And the next one, and the one after that. By the fourth episode, I got it. The terrible decisions Hannah and her friends made, their cringe-making delusions and defenses: they were the point of Girls. Yes, it’s about four young women making their way in the world—note SATC reference in the pilot—but with their flaws intact and on aggressive display. They’re imperfect and they offer no apologies.

Read our TV column The Binge in BusinessWorld.

On Marvel’s Agent Carter, the villain is sexism.

March 13, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Television No Comments →

agent carter

When last we saw Peggy Carter in the second Captain America movie, she was an ailing lady in her 90s processing the fact that the love of her life, Steve Rogers, had not only survived a 70-year deep freeze, but was physically still in his 30s. Such are the problems of having a thing with Captain America, not least of which is that you will wrinkle and sag, but he will always look like Chris Evans.

The miniseries Marvel’s Agent Carter, which recently concluded its eight-episode run on ABC, is set immediately after the events of the first Captain America movie. There’s something to be said for miniseries—with less time for pointless fillers, we get to the good parts immediately. Granted, this is an action-adventure series with the blunt force trauma approach of comics, and not Breaking Bad, the gold standard in character development. It is 1946, World War II is over, and Peggy Carter is working in New York for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). The war had upended the social order: with the men fighting in Europe and the Pacific, women had taken over jobs traditionally held by males in factories and offices. Now that the men have returned, women are once more relegated to support staff in the workforce.

Read our TV column The Binge at BusinessWorld.

Penny Dreadful: The Avengers Assemble of the Grotesques

March 06, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Television 2 Comments →


Penny dreadfuls were cheap 19th century British magazines containing sensational tales of bloodsucking ghouls, accursed sarcophagi and other oddities. I imagine they were the print equivalent of Inday Badiday’s old TV program See-True, which in the 90s provided our daily ration of women giving birth to fish, men getting pregnant, and assorted weirdos, mostly of the showbiz variety.

So if a TV series calls itself Penny Dreadful, you know that it is not meant to be a searing analysis of the human condition. It is designed to frighten and disturb you, which is a challenge in these jaded times. The Showtime series created by John Logan (Sam Mendes is one of the executive producers) is only occasionally scary, but it may entertain you out of your wits.

The first two episodes, throbbing with foreboding and full of striking images, are directed by Spanish horror director Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage). We are introduced to the regulars one by one. In late 19th century London Ethan Chandler, an American sharpshooter in a Wild West show, is recruited by Sir Malcolm Murray and his ward Vanessa Ives for a dangerous mission. He becomes their security escort when they enter a lair of pale, fanged, ornery creatures immediately identifiable to us as vampires but entirely new to these Victorians.

Read our TV column The Binge at BusinessWorld.