Steven Universe

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This article is about the television show. For show's main character, see Steven Universe (character).
Steven Universe
Steven Universe.png
Genre Drama[2]
Created by Rebecca Sugar
Directed by
Voices of
Theme music composer
  • Rebecca Sugar
  • Aivi & Surasshu
  • Jeff Liu
Opening theme "We Are the Crystal Gems"
Ending theme "Love Like You", performed by Rebecca Sugar (from Season 2)
Composer(s) Aivi Tran
Steven "Surasshu" Velema
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 55 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Rebecca Sugar
  • Ian Jones-Quartey (co-executive producer, from Season 2)
Running time 11 minutes
Production company(s) Cartoon Network Studios[3]
Original channel Cartoon Network
Picture format 1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Surround
First shown in July 27, 2013 (pilot)
Original airing November 4, 2013 – present
External links

Steven Universe is an American animated television series created by Rebecca Sugar, former storyboard artist, writer, and composer for Adventure Time. It is produced by Cartoon Network Studios, and is the first show by the studio to be created by a woman. The series, rated TV-PG, premiered on Cartoon Network in North America on November 4, 2013.


In Steven Universe, the world is protected from evil by the Crystal Gems, a group of intergalactic warriors who draw their power from special magical gem stones. The four Gems are Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl, and Steven. Steven is a boy who inherited a gemstone from his mother, a Crystal Gem named Rose Quartz. As Steven tries to figure out the secrets of his gem, he spends his days in Beach City doing activities with the other Crystal Gems, his father, or other humans, whether it's helping them save the universe or just hanging out.

Throughout the first season it is slowly revealed that the four Crystal Gems in Beach City are the remnants of a once great interplanetary civilization of Gems. Most of the locations visited by the Gems are ruined shrines or locations that were once of great importance to Gem culture, but have become derelict and fallen into disrepair during thousands of years of neglect. The second half of the season deals with this theme in greater depth, revealing that the Gems are cut off from their home world and that the monsters and artifacts they encounter throughout their adventures are actually Gems who have lost the ability to maintain rational humanoid forms. In the last few episodes of the season, it was also made clear that the plans of the "Homeworld Gems" for Earth and its inhabitants were not benign – and that after 5,000 years, their attention is once again drawn towards Earth. This is expanded upon with the introduction of two new characters from the invading Gem home world: Jasper and Peridot. It is revealed that the Crystal Gems, lead by Rose Quartz, rebelled against the machinations of the Gem home world and won, but remained on Earth as both its protectors and as exiles.


Concept and creation[edit]

The titular character, Steven, is loosely based on Sugar's younger brother Steven Sugar.[4] Growing up, Sugar would collaborate with Steven and other friends to create comics.[5] In an interview with The New York Times, she commented on developing the background of the show's protagonist, expressing her desire to base the character from the viewpoint of her brother growing up "where you're so comfortable in your life because you get all the attention, but you also want to rise up and not be the little brother."[6] The show is set in the fictional Beach City, which is loosely based on Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach, Delaware, all places that Sugar visited as a child.[4]


According to Sugar, production for Steven Universe began while she was working on Adventure Time. Her last episode for the latter series was "Simon & Marcy"; following that episode, working on both series simultaneously "became impossible to do". Similarly, she encountered difficulty in the production of the episode "Bad Little Boy".[7] Steven Universe features songs and musical numbers produced by Sugar along with her story writers, who collaborate on the lyrics for each song. According to Sugar, not every episode is meant to feature song. She has instead opted to use them only occasionally to avoid forcing creativity.[7]

On November 14, 2013, 13 additional episodes were ordered for the first season.[8] On July 25, 2014, the series was renewed for a second season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.[9] The second season began on March 13, 2015, the day after the first season ended.


The pilot episode for Steven Universe, along with a few other pilots, were released on Cartoon Network's video platform on May 21, 2013.[10] They were taken down and redirected to a 404 page shortly after.[11] On July 20, 2013, Cartoon Network uploaded an edited version of the pilot to both their official website and Facebook page.[12] The pilots were also exhibited at the San Diego Comic-Con,[13] and from July 27 to July 28, 2013, Cartoon Network aired a sneak peek of the pilot as part of Big Fan Weekend, along with the pilots for Clarence and Uncle Grandpa. A 30-minute panel dedicated to the series was hosted at the New York Comic Con on October 13, 2013, with Rebecca Sugar hosting.[14] The series premiered in the United States on November 4, 2013 on Cartoon Network, with two episodes.[15]

In Canada, it began airing on Cartoon Network on November 11, 2013[16] and on Teletoon on April 24, 2014.[17] It also airs on Cartoon Network channels in Australia from February 3, 2014[18] and in the United Kingdom and Ireland from May 12.[19]


Steven Universe series overview
Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
Pilot July 27, 2013
1 49 November 4, 2013 March 12, 2015
2 TBA March 13, 2015 TBA


A crossover episode with Uncle Grandpa, "Say Uncle", aired on April 2, 2015.[20]

Other media[edit]

Companion books[edit]

Several companion books are to be published:

  • Rebecca Sugar's Steven Universe's Guide to the Crystal Gems for Humans (October 2015, ISBN 978-0843183160) is to contain information about the Crystal Gems as well as original art.[21]
  • Max Braillier's Quest for Gem Magic (October 2015, ISBN 978-0843183177) is a "colorful journal and activity book" aimed at 8 to 12 year olds.[22]
  • Walter Burns's Steven Universe Mad Libs (October 2015, ISBN 978-0843183092) is a Mad Libs word game book.[23]

Video game[edit]

A tactical role-playing video game based on the series, Steven Universe: Attack the Light!, was released on April 2, 2015 for iOS and Android devices.[24] It was developed by Grumpyface Studios in collaboration with Rebecca Sugar for mobile devices. Players control the four Crystal Gems in fights against gem monsters.[25][26]


BOOM! Studios publishes an ongoing monthly comics series based on Steven Universe written by Jeremy Sorese and illustrated by Coleman Engle.[27] A preview appeared in Adventure Time: 2013 Spoooktacular #1.[28] The first issue was published in August 2014.


Initial announcements of the series have attained positive press for Sugar being the first female creator for any show produced by Cartoon Network Studios. When asked about her role as a solo female creator, she responded with gratitude towards the feedback, ultimately voicing her passion to be a role model "just in the sense that I get to make what the ultimate cartoon should be. I tried to be a role model [by showing that] anyone who wanted to could take really traditional ideas of animation and bring them into the present but keep all the trappings of what [was] used [to make cartoons great] in the past."[29]

The series has received very positive reviews. David Hinckley of New York Daily News gave the series three stars out of five and called the series a "good-natured drama".[2] Tom Conroy of Media Life Magazine wrote that the series had the "right mix of edge and heart" and complimented "the blend of snark and sweetness".[30] The A.V. Club gave the series a B+ and wrote, "Steven Universe is on its way to becoming something special, a show that's inviting to viewers regardless of gender, age, or any of the other social constructs Beach City gets along just fine without."[31] Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times was highly positive, commenting that the series was "very good" and concluding with "[Rebecca] Sugar's good at this stuff — which is all that really counts."[32] Devin O’Leary of Weekly Alibi praised the series premiere for its "cheerful, distinctive look", making a comparison to the "highly cartoonish art style ... a cross between the old Schoolhouse Rock! shorts and some long-lost 70s anime series."[33]

Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media, on the other hand, gave the series 3 out of 5 stars, promoting the series "for older tweens [than] for kids" in her review.[34] As of April 2015, the score has been switched to a 4 out of 5 stars in Ashby's review.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2014 Annie Award Outstanding Achievement in Character Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production[35] Danny Hynes and Colin Howard Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Production Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production[35] Steven Sugar, Emily Walus, Sam Bosma, Elle Michalka, and Amanda Winterstein (for "Gem Glow") Nominated
2014 Behind The Voice Actor Awards Best Male Vocal Performance by a Child[36] Zach Callison (for "Steven Universe") Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " Steven Universe: Season 1, Episode 1 "Gem Glow / Laser Light Cannon": Amazon Instant Video". Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "'Steven Universe,' TV review". New York Daily News. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  3. ^ McLean, Thomas J. (2012-09-11). "Cartoon Network Greenlights Steven Universe, Uncle Grandpa Series". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  4. ^ a b Cavna, Michael (2013-11-01). "'Steven Universe' creator Rebecca Sugar is a Cartoon Network trailblazer". The Washington Post. 
  5. ^ Zargari, Shahab; Ryan Brunty; Ryan Davis (2013-07-27). "SDCC 2013 Press Roundtable Interview Series: Uncle Grandpa, Clarence, and Steven Universe" (AUDIOVISUAL WORK). Verbicide Magazine. Retrieved 2013-08-12. [Steven Universe, 1:58–2:06] I've always loved working with my friends on comics, and growing up, I did a lot of comics, and me and my brother together, we would do a lot of comics ... 
  6. ^ Ito, Robert; Jeremy Egner (2013-07-26). "Rising Animators Spring Into Motion". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  7. ^ a b Kohn, Eric (2013-11-01). "Adventure Time Writer Rebecca Sugar on Steven Universe, Being Cartoon Network's First Female Show Creator And Why Pop Art Is 'Offensive'". Indiewire. p. 1. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (July 25, 2014). "Comic-Con Exclusive: Cartoon Network Renews 'Adventure Time,' 'Regular Show,' 3 More". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  10. ^ Amidi, Amid (2013-05-21). "Sneak Peek: Cartoon Network's Steven Universe by Rebecca Sugar". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  11. ^ Woerner, Meredith (2013-05-22). "Watch the amazing, fantastic and stupendous pilot of Steven Universe". io9. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  12. ^ Bricken, Rob (2013-07-20). "The first look at Rebecca Sugar's amazing new cartoon Steven Universe". io9. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  13. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (2013-07-22). "Cartoon Network Sneak Peeks Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  14. ^ "Cartoon Network presents Steven Universe". Panels & Autographing. New York Comic Con. 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  15. ^ D’Amato, Adrienne; Lach, Dawn; Ungerson, Shana (2013-10-03). "Steven Universe" (Press release). Cartoon Network. Characters tab. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (April 8, 2014). "Rebecca Sugar's 'Steven Universe' Headed to Teletoon Canada". Animation World Network. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ DHiggins (February 3, 2014). "New this week: Selling Houses, Tony Robinson's Time Walks, Freddie Flintoff and Big Cat Week". Foxtel. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  19. ^ Munn, Patrick (March 10, 2014). "Turner UK Unveils 2014 Programming Slate: 4 New Shows For Cartoon Network, New ‘Tom & Jerry’ Series & More". TV Wise. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Steven Universe's Guide to the Crystal Gems for Humans". Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Quest for Gem Magic". Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  23. ^ "Steven Universe Mad Libs". Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Dotson, Carter. "Cartoon Network Shows Off New 'Adventure Time' and 'Steven Universe' Games at PAX". Touch Arcade. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  26. ^ Jutte, Garrett (4 October 2015). "Steven Universe: Attack the Light! Video Game Coming to iOS". Guardian Liberty Voice. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  27. ^ Universe "BOOM! Studios Steven Universe". Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  28. ^ "Boom! Studios Announces ‘Steven Universe’ Ongoing Comic Book Series". Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  29. ^ OLeary, Shannon (2013-07-24). "Cartoon Network Shows to watch out for: Steve[n] Universe, Uncle Grandpa, and Clarence". The Beat. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  30. ^ "‘Steven Universe,’ and a sweet one it is". Media Life Magazine. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  31. ^ "A cartoon with an Adventure Time pedigree breaks down barriers". The A.V. Club. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  32. ^ "Review: 'Steven Universe' is a gem". Los Angeles Times. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  33. ^ O'Leary, Devin D. (December 2013). "Sci-fi gets Sugar-coated in Cartoon Network's Steven Universe". Weekly Alibi 22 (50). 
  34. ^ Ashby, Emily (2013-10-29). "Steven Universe". Television Review. Common Sense Media. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  35. ^ a b "Annie Awards Nominations". ASIFA-Hollywood. Retrieved September 24, 2014. 
  36. ^ "BTVA Voice Acting Awards". Inyxception Enterprises. Retrieved January 15, 2015. 

External links[edit]