Steven Universe: Upcoming SUMMER OF STEVEN
July 13, 2016 1:55 PM - Subscribe

At last, the long hiatus is at an end! Sure, there were five episodes a couple of weeks ago, but starting Monday of next week Cartoon Universe will be showing new episodes of Steven Universe every weekday for four weeks. With how deprived show fans have been (and how fanatical they tend to be), the excitement over new episodes has been running extremely high! Are you new to the show, or need to catch up? Don't worry, I got yo' number....


It's a show on the Cartoon Network. Famously the creation of the network's first ever female creator, Rebecca Sugar, who wrote many of Adventure Time's best episodes and songs, including I Remember You (the episode that revealed the long and tragic history of Marceline and the Ice King). A whole show created by that woman! It couldn't possibly live up to expectations, could it?

It could. It did. It exceeded them. It's ostensibly a show for kids but it has an honest and healthy view of adult relations. Many are calling it one of the best things on TV. There's a large and devoted MeFi fandom for the show, which keeps growing, thanks largely to Small Dollar's excellent posts.


The way I like to explain it is this way:

There's a show about a young boy who lives in a beach house in Delmarva with his three wacky aunts. His mom's gone, but his Dad's great, he lives close by (in a van) and is a major part of his life. Along with his aunts (who are kind of town outcasts), his Dad and the other citizens of Beach City, his hometown, he has adventures.

There's a show about an ancient race of immortal alien warrior women. Thousands of years ago, a sect broke off from their distant homeworld, which was trying to turn the Earth into one of their colonies. To protect the world and humankind from their race, they betrayed them and successfully waged war to protect us. Now there are just three of them left, and they call themselves the Crystal Gems. They raise the son of their departed leader, a gem/human hybrid with strange powers, who has adventures.

Both these shows are Steven Universe.


Because it's good! The show really has something for everyone:
  • The story, once it kicks in gear, is solid classic sci-fi!
  • It's genuinely hilarious!
  • It's got amazing action sequences!
  • It has many female characters who aren't defined by their relationships with men!
  • The Crystal Gems are presented believably as millennia-old beings who are still realistic people.
  • The citizens of Beach City, however, are also real and interesting people in their own right.
  • Its presentation of same-sex relationships is a television landmark, as its depiction of an intergender character (who I shouldn't say too much about, as it'd be a huge spoiler....)
  • And it's incredibly weird, in a good way. Just wait until you find out about Garnet....

Yes. It wasn't the fandom's most shining moment, honestly. But again, as with most fandoms, you cannot judge the whole based on its worst members. And unlike PONY, the Steven Universe fandom is largely devoid of the crap that came from growing out of the 4chan community.


Steven Universe has pretty heavy continuity, and it helps to watch the episodes in order. Considering there's been 83 episodes to date, even if they're just 11 minutes each, that's a lot to catch up on. Most (if not all) of the show is on Hulu, and you can purchase whole seasons from the Play Store and iTunes, in addition to those oThEr MeAnS that one doesn't mention in polite internet company.

The show, for some reason, is super easy to binge watch (I watched the whole first season in a 12 hour stretch!), but it should be said that it starts out very slow. Most of the whole first half of the first season (26 episodes) consists of episodic adventures, sometimes actually against monsters-of-the-week. You will think that Steven is annoying at first -- he's supposed to be, but grows out of it. A popular fan pastime is to try to come up with a good ordering of episodes to introduce people to the show as quickly as possible, but the truth is, the best way to experience it is to watch them all in order. There are very few throwaway moments in the show, and little side things you wouldn't believe turn out to be very important later on.

If you need to know how many episodes to watch until it "gets good," well, there are glimmers of greatness throughout, but....
  • #5, "Frybo," has a genuinely gruesome monster.
  • #6, "Cat Fingers," is both hilarious and frightening.
  • A lot of fans list #12, Giant Woman, as a turning point in their perception of the show.
  • #16, Steven The Sword Fighter, introduces a unique attribute of the Crystal Gems in a shocking way.
  • #17, Lion 2: The Movie, is my personal favorite introduction episode, in a drop-them-in-the-deep-end way. It's neither Lion nor Connie's first episode, but it's both characters' first great episode.
  • #20, Coach Steven, has a great song, and focuses on Pearl, who may be the Crystal Gem with the most issues....
  • From episode #22 on, pretty much every episode is great, with special mention of the season half-ender, Mirror Gem and Ocean Gem....
  • There are freaky Gem Mutants wandering around now, all amalgamations of body parts, the result of experiments performed by homeworld. These have begun to be noticed by the human world; Dr. Maheswaran, Connie's mother, has tried to treat them in the hospital.
  • Connie is learning swordfighting!
  • We learned that Amethyst has a very good human friend, Vidallia! And she's Onion's mother!
  • Pearl and Garnet had a serious falling out for a few episodes, over Pearl tricking Garnet into fusing with her into Sardonyx. They seem to have patched things up since then.
  • Peridot has changed sides! (To defend the Earth, she called her boss Yellow Diamond a clod to her face, a fact that still shocks her.) After some time living in Steven's bathroom (she's glad to be out) she's living at the Universe family barn.
  • Lapis Lazuli is also back on Earth and unfused from Jasper. She's more standoffish about being on Earth, but is glad to finally not be trapped anywhere. She's staying at the barn with Peridot.
  • Jasper's whereabouts are unknown. A small team of Rubies arrived from homeworld looking for her. Steven told them she was "on Neptune," and they believed him. Well, most of them believed him.
  • Yellow Diamond, Peridot's former boss, seems to have a beef with Earth and wants to see it destroyed.
  • Deep down beneath the Earth's crust is the Cluster, the end result of the fusion experiments homeworld was running over thousands of years. A massive artificial fusion of millions of gem shards, it was envisioned as a doomsday weapon that would destroy the Earth when it incorporated. Peridot and the Crystal Gems built a drill, drilled down to it, and there Steven discovered he could communicate with the gem shards in the Cluster. With their help, he bubbled it, rendering it safe, at least for now.
  • After a long time away from Beach City working on the drill, Steven and the Crystal Gems are finally back at the temple, which is where we pick up the next episode, Steven Floats. (Some of us have seen it already; it was aired on French television and has spread around the internet.)
(Big spoilers!) That's probably Bismuth. A clip of her was released by Cartoon Network (with the cooperation of the show creators this time!) to get fan speculation running. Observant viewers know that they've seen her before, or maybe another one of her.... She'll be showing up near the end of the Summer of Steven.
posted by JHarris (9 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Pearl, who may be the Crystal Gem with the most issues....

Amethyst, tho.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:20 AM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Unpopular opinion but I liked this show most in the earliest episodes when it was at its most slice of life-y :'( sad that there's nothing to fill the hole that Bee and Puppycat left
posted by Panthalassa at 3:55 AM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

You're going to like the next set of episodes then Panthalassa, because (spoilers)

in one of them, Steven, Amethyst and Peridot lament the fact that they're all too short to go on the roller coaster at Funland....
posted by JHarris at 1:50 PM on July 16, 2016

OH GOD, an official short preview: Steven introduces Peridot to "TubeTube."
posted by JHarris at 3:34 PM on July 17, 2016

Lucky Peridot's fingers can work the screen, since presumably gem skin isn't like human skin.
posted by tracicle at 7:18 AM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

If I were to handwave it, gem bodies are made of light, which is just electromagnetic radiation. Capacitance touch screens work by detecting variations in a weak electric field. Gem bodies thus (mumble mumble) and that totally explains it!
posted by JHarris at 7:03 PM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

(Silently willing Small Dollar to make the post....)
posted by JHarris at 7:13 PM on July 18, 2016

I've reached the end of season 3 (on Hulu) and I need more. MORE.

Where do you recommend I stream this? Looks like Amazon is one possibility. CanIStreamIt is uncooperative at the moment, so I'm not sure where else I should be looking for post-season-3 episodes right now.
posted by duffell at 12:28 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

I hear that Play store may also have episodes.
posted by JHarris at 12:35 PM on August 4, 2017

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