I know at least a bunch or two (that's a valid unit of measurement now) of my watchers already watch the show Steven Universe, because I've done a couple of bits of fan art and there have been comments. For those of you who don't, however, and who like good cartoons, or just good TV, you deserve to do yourself a favour and look this show up.
The show is created by Rebecca Sugar, who was originally a storyboarder, writer and composer for Adventure Time (you'll probably remember the episodes with the killer songs - that was her). She left the show in 2013 to work on her own project for Cartoon Network, becoming, in the process, the first woman to create a show for the studio. At the time I wasn't sure what to think about that, since I loved her work on Adventure Time and didn't see the merit in her leaving the team to produce what was sure to be just an Adventure Time-esque side project while that series was still going strong. How wrong I turned out to be.
So the show is about the crystal gems, which are these superpowered ladies from space who protect the world from evil magical monsters. Steven himself is a happy-go-lucky half-gem, half-human kid who lives with the three gems since his mother (who was one of them) died to give birth to him. The series is characterised by a mixture of slice-of-life drama, comedy, and action, and these elements are blended beautifully with stellar artwork from storyboarders and animators through to background artists (seriously, the background art in this show is unlike anything you've ever seen before). The voice performances are spot-on, and the writing has so much heart that it's frankly impossible not to fall in love with this show and its characters if you give it even the slightest chance. Every character is well-developed and likable in their own way. It's also worth mentioning the diversity in terms of ethnic representation and body image the show offers, which can't get enough support in today's TV landscape, not to mention the radically different portrayals of femininity its characters are painted with, which is just brilliant in what is still very much a male-dominated area of entertainment.
Although it had a few issues with some long hiatuses (and what show doesn't, these days?), Steven Universe really hit its stride this year and has offered us something that other cartoons have failed to for a very long time: consistency. My wife and I avidly look forward to tuning in to Steven's world once a week because we're guaranteed an awesome time. Now that Adventure Time has deteriorated into a series of bizarre, un-entertaining and vague 'statements' rather than actual stories, and is, in my opinion, becoming less watchable and enjoyable by the week, it's so great to know Steven Universe will be there to restore my hope in modern cartoons. Its only competition airing right now is Gravity Falls, another fantastic show all around, but one that is, we agree, slowly getting edged out by how brightly Steven Universe has come to shine every week. I literally cannot recall being disappointed with an episode of this show, and I would recommend it to pretty much anyone - kids, adults, people that love cartoons and people who don't. It's art and it's entertainment and it's just amazing storytelling.
This coming week there's going to be what they're calling a 'Steven Bomb'. Instead of just the one weekly episode, there's going to be at least one episode every day starting from Monday, leading up to the season finale. If you haven't been watching Steven Universe, you owe it to yourself to just binge the whole damn thing and be here on Monday to experience what's going to be an awesome week for TV animation. If you're already with me and are as psyched about it as I am, what can I say, except bring it on!