On A Tangent

The ultimate site for a generation sidetracked by the fandom life


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Marvel Monday: The Fairest of Them All

This week on Marvel’s Agent Carter, we got our first glimpse of the baby Black Widow spiderlings in the midst of their daily routine.  Wake up, share stolen bread, learn English from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, (isn’t Marvel lucky it’s a Disney property) and then engage in combat to the death. Just your everyday, average little girl stuff. And with that opening sequence, we plunge into this week’s episode.

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Fandom Friday: Climb Ev’ry Mountain (Except That One, Because It’s Impossible)

To continue our theme of Sound of Music song titles…

I’ve been thinking recently about my own reading habits.  As a child, I was a voracious reader.  By the time I was ten, I was checking books out of the library ten at a time (that was the limit that the public library allowed for children), only to bring them back three days later.  I often look back on those days with a mixture of nostalgia and humor, imagining the Matilda-like image of my young, insatiable self.  Unfortunately, as I’ve aged, it has become harder and harder to maintain quite that speed of literary consumption.  At my lowest point, back in 2013, I only managed to read 18 books in an entire year.  But this year, as a semi-New Year’s resolution, I made myself a promise in two parts: 1) I was going to do a little bit of leisure reading every day and 2) I was finally going to finish all those books that had been sitting on my to-read shelf for years and years, collecting dust while I smothered under the weight of all my assigned reading.  (Never let it be said that being an English major is a walk in the park.)

The book that haunts my English-major nightmares.

To begin this journey, I started with the books that I had filed under my “currently-reading” shelf on Goodreads.  They were books that I had picked up at some point, then put down again for various reasons (schoolwork, only a limited number of books fit in my suitcase going abroad, etc.) and never finished, but couldn’t bring myself to put back on the to-read shelf, denying the progress I’d already made. Most of these books had been there for perhaps a year, maybe a bit more.  But there was one outlier in all this, the dark shadow at the back of my bookshelf, lurking, waiting: Dune. Continue reading


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Howard Stark: Genius, Billionaire, Playboy… Narcissist?

Welcome back to Marvel Mondays, where Leah gushes about all things Peggy Carter and contemplates cutting her hair so as to better cosplay our favorite leading lady.

This week on Agent Carter was less action and more exposition, giving us a little breather after the shocker that came at the end of last episode.  Tuesday’s episode also saw the return of Howard Stark, genius, billionaire, and everyone’s favorite scoundrel.

“”And what does it say now?” asked Arthur. “Mostly harmless,” admitted Ford with a slightly embarrassed cough.” – Douglas Adams, HHGTTG

…well, perhaps not everyone’s favorite.  Howard Stark is a pretty polarizing character, even in the fictional Marvel world.  Today’s review is going to dissect what we saw of Howard, look at Peggy’s fantastic upbraiding of him, and take a guess at why it is that many viewers — and Peggy herself — just can’t bring themselves to dislike Howard, despite all his faults.
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Marvel Mondays: “Time and Tide” Review

Welcome back to our Agent Carter reviews!

Since we had a week of hiatus (boo) and also a special feature last Monday, this week we’ll be talking about the episode that aired two weeks ago, “Time and Tide”.  (Spoilers for the episode below the cut!)

This week I’d like to examine a theme that occurred to me as I was writing my first draft of this piece. Originally, I planned to divide this review into two sections: one about Jarvis and his character revelations, and the other about Peggy and her battle with injustice.  But as I was looking over my notes and thinking about the two, I realized that this episode isn’t just about Peggy’s battle with injustice. In fact, Jarvis’s story too, is a battle with injustice in a way, as are a myriad of other small moments in the episode.  So today, we’re going to take a look at prejudice and injustice in the world of Agent Carter. Continue reading


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Gifted in Reel Life: The Change and Growth of Claudia Donovan

GHF_JanuaryToday, we have a special feature article for our readers.  This week, Laney and I were graciously asked to participate in a blog hop titled “Gifted in Reel Life” as a part of the Gifted Homeschoolers’ Forum.

This event focuses on portrayals of gifted individuals in media, a topic which is near and dear to both my sisters and me.  All three of us were tested for gifted programs at an early age, and spent countless hours in gifted programs in elementary school that gradually petered out as we advanced through middle and high school. (Laney’s note: my and our oldest sister’s middle school “gifted” program consisted of advanced science and advance English class, and in high school, despite being at a advance program chock-full of G&T kids, consisted of a designated counselor who gave us worksheets once a month. Leah’s was even less.)  As such, many a discussion of media in our household has been peppered with critiques of gifted characters and the way they are portrayed, particularly in television and film.

It is sad to say that even in the diversity of today’s programming, the majority of gifted individuals on the big or small screen tend to fit a certain mold.  They are generally white, predominantly male, employed in math or science fields, and often find themselves ostracized from their communities as a result of their intellect.  However, when Laney first broached the topic of “Gifted in Reel Life” with me, this was not the image that sprang to my mind.  In the sadly small smattering of gifted individuals that appear in modern media, I knew exactly who I wanted to write about – a character who I believe to be one of the best and most well-rounded portrayals of giftedness on television in recent years. Without further ado, I present: Claudia Donovan. Continue reading


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Fandom Friday: A Problem Universally Acknowledged

Agent_Carter_New_Logo“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single female protagonist in possession of her own show must be in want of a husband.”

… or something like that.  This is what I’ve come to think of as the “Agent Carter problem”, as our fabulous heroine is the most recent in a long line of heroines to be drawn into this argument.

The participants? On one side, we have those already engaged in speculation about who could be the “man saved by Captain America” with whom Peggy Carter has her future son and daughter. See the article that has caused the most uproar here.  On the other side, an outraged Peggy fanbase who derides the former group for reducing a powerful, dynamic woman to a romantic interest. Seems like a simple enough binary, right? Continue reading


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Marvel Mondays: The Hero We Want, The Hero We Deserve

Agent_Carter_New_LogoIn which Leah watches Agent Carter.  And by “watches Agent Carter”, she means feverishly takes notes on how to live her life. A-hem. Moving right along.

Last week saw the premiere of the much-anticipated Agent Carter mini-series, which Marvel is using to placate us in the hopes that we will forget about that little chunk of our collective heart that was ripped out by the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. mid-season finale. *sob*

But what a placation it is! This Monday treated us with not one, but two episodes to reacquaint ourselves with Peggy Carter in all her glory.  I could probably write a full thesis on the things that were done right in these first two episodes, but to spare you all the labor of reading it and my hands the labor of typing all that, I’ve cut it down to five elements of Agent Carter that I thought were done well. Continue reading


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The Schedule of Events!

Here at On a Tangent, we seek to bring you interesting and thought-provoking content about the things you (and we) love most! We also seek to fangirl about things that are cool, because, well, they’re cool.  With those goals in mind, here’s what you can look forward to on the blog for the foreseeable future!

Marvel Mondays: Hosted by Leah, Marvel Mondays will be tackling that phenomenon that’s taking over the known universe with its fast-paced action and wit, and endless string of actors named Chris. (Seriously, where do they get these guys?)  For the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about Marvel’s newest smash hit, Agent Carter, discussing sexism in the workplace, the nefarious scheming of the mysterious Leviathan, and, of course, our fabulous leading lady.  Meanwhile, we also might get snippets of Leah’s never-ending quest to hit 100% completion on LEGO Marvel Superheroes.

Worthy Women Wednesdays:  Wherein we talk about our favorite female characters, historical figures, and current women doing amazing and interesting things.  We’ll be adopting monthly themes, starting out with a discussion of some of the under-appreciated characters in one of our favorite girl-centric shows: Gilmore Girls!

And finally, Fandom Fridays:  A grab-bag of rants, reviews, and chatter, where you never know quite what you’re going to get.  Laney will engage you with poignant commentary, Leah will discuss her favorite role models villains, and we might even bring in a guest blogger or two!

So grab onto some rigging, get your sea legs ready, and prepare to sail off on a tangent!