Steven Universe

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Steven Universe
Steven Universe.png
Genre Adventure
Action
Comedy-drama
Fantasy
Format Animated series
Created by Rebecca Sugar
Written by Rebecca Sugar
Paul Villeco
Joe Johnston
Jeff Liu
Raven M. Molisee
Kat Morris
Ian Jones-Quartey
Aleth Romanillos
Lamar Abrams
Matt Braly
Hilary Florido
Luke Weber
Creative director(s) Ian Jones-Quartey
Voices of Zach Callison
Estelle
Michaela Dietz
Deedee Magno
Matthew Moy
Kate Micucci
Tom Scharpling
Opening theme "We are the Crystal Gems", written by Rebecca Sugar & arranged by Jeff Liu
Composer(s) Aivi & Surasshu
Nick Demayo (additional music)
Rebecca Sugar (additional music)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 26 (16 aired)[1] (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Rebecca Sugar
Producer(s) Jackie Buscarino
Chuck Austen (supervising producer)
Running time 11 minutes
Production company(s) Cartoon Network Studios[2]
Distributor Cartoon Network
Broadcast
Original channel Cartoon Network
Picture format 1080i (16:9 HDTV)
First shown in July 27, 2013 (pilot)
Original airing November 4, 2013 – present
Chronology
Related shows Adventure Time
External links
Website

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.

On November 14, 2013, the show was renewed for a second season. [3]

Plot[edit]

In Steven Universe, the world is protected from evil threats by the Crystal Gems, a group of intergalactic female warriors who use the power of special gem stones embedded on their bodies to summon magical weapons. 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 to using his gem, he spends his days in Beach City doing activities with the other Crystal Gems, whether it's helping them save the universe or just hanging out.

Characters[edit]

Official release poster by creator Rebecca Sugar; from left to right: Pearl, Amethyst, Garnet, and Steven (center)

Main characters[edit]

  • Steven Universe (voiced by Zach Callison)[4][5] – The main character, the youngest member of the Crystal Gems, and the only male on the team; his gem stone is a rose quartz that he inherited from his mother, Rose Quartz. His gem, embedded in his bellybutton, summons a shield which may also act as a projectile. Despite this, he has yet to determine how to activate it at will. He is an enthusiastic and often musical person, talented on the ukulele and prone to breaking into song. He is eager to prove his abilities and his worth as a Crystal Gem. The 3 remaining Crystal Gems, Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl, take the combined roles of older siblings, maternal figures and teachers in his life, looking after Steven at his young age. They live together in a combination suburban house and magical crystal temple.
  • Garnet (voiced by Estelle)[4] – A physically imposing, disciplined warrior, Garnet is the de facto leader of the group (in Rose's absence); her gem stone is a red garnet which is embedded into each of her hands. She is twice the height of Amethyst, and has dark, reddish-hued skin and a large black afro. Activating her gem stones summons a pair of large gauntlets. She has a calm and collected personality. She is physically the strongest member and is a mentor to Steven, though she rarely speaks more than a few pragmatic words at a time, often only to get the other Gems to lay off Steven. She always wears a visor, under which she has three eyes.
  • Amethyst (voiced by Michaela Dietz)[4] – The impulsive and passionate "wild child" of the Gems; her gem stone is an amethyst which is embedded over her heart. She has violet-colored skin and white hair almost to her ankles and she appears to have a slight cleft in her lip. Activating her gem stone summons a studded energy whip. Amethyst is very joyous and carefree, and despite being a magical entity who does not need to eat or sleep, she does so because she enjoys it. She loves to roughhouse with Steven and trade jokes. While the other two tend to support Steven in words, Amethyst often takes concrete action that ensures Steven's involvement.
  • Pearl (voiced by Deedee Magno)[4] – A precise and intellectual strategist, Pearl is the mental powerhouse of the Gems; her gem stone is a pearl which is embedded in her forehead. Activating her gem stone summons a teal-colored long-handled sword or short spear. She has pale, almost paper-white skin and wears a tutu in keeping with her dainty, ballerina-like physique. She is also the most outspoken of the three fully-fledged Crystal Gem members. She cares deeply for Steven's safety, but occasionally pokes fun at his antics. She strives for structure and logic and gets easily flustered when things don’t go as planned.

Other characters[edit]

  • Greg Universe (voiced by Tom Scharpling) – Steven's father, who formed a romantic relationship with Steven's mother, another Crystal Gem called Rose Quartz. Formerly a one-man rock band with a short-lived music career, Greg currently lives in his van and runs a car wash in Beach City. Always nearby, he is actively involved in Steven's life. He's typically seen wearing a low-collar tank top despite having a sunburn pattern from a high-collar tee-shirt.
  • Rose Quartz – Former leader of the Crystal Gems and Steven's mother, who gave up her physical form giving birth to him.
  • Opal (voiced by Aimee Mann) – A powerful gestalt Crystal Gem formed by Amethyst and Pearl fusing together both physically and mentally. Pearl has stated she and Amethyst only form Opal for "deadly situations"; due to the fact that the two Crystal Gems are at constant odds with each other, it is difficult for them to find the mental and physical harmony necessary to create and sustain the being. She appears as a four-armed giant with a mix of the two characters' physical attributes and two opals embedded in her chest and forehead. Her weapon (formed out of Amethyst's whip and Pearl's spear) is a bow that shoots energy arrows.
  • Lion - Steven's new pet lion whom resides with Steven in his temple.
  • Connie (voiced by Grace Rolek)[6][7] – A girl around Steven's age. She is usually seen with a book in hand and appears to be intelligent yet introverted and lonely. She moves frequently so she is unable to build lasting friendships. Steven's friend and love interest.
  • Lars (voiced by Matthew Moy) – A teenage worker at "The Big Donut" shop. He often picks on Steven. He admires the "cool kids" Jenny, Sour Cream, and Buck Dewey. He has stretched earlobes.
  • Sadie (voiced by Kate Micucci) – A clerk at "The Big Donut", who shares the same shift as Lars. Unlike Lars, she is generally friendly towards Steven and supportive of his adventures.
  • Jenny - She has a very cool personality and likes hanging out with her friends Sour Cream and Buck Dewey at Fish Stew Pizza. She drives around in her family's pizza delivery car. Her character design parallels Amethyst's.
  • Sour Cream (voiced by Brian Posehn) - He has a very easygoing and honest personality. Normally seen with Jenny Pizza and Buck Dewey. Fans speculate that he may be related to Onion. His character design parallels Pearl's.
  • Richard Fryman (voiced by Billy Merritt) – The owner of Beach Citywalk Fries. He often gives Steven fry bits upon Steven's request.
  • Peedee Fryman (voiced by Atticus Shaffer) – Younger son of Fryman and Steven's friend.
  • Ronaldo Fryman (voiced by Zach Steel) - Older son of Fryman. He runs a Tumblr blog called "Keep Beach City Weird".
  • Mayor Bill Dewey (voiced by Joel Hodgson) - The mayor of Beach City.
  • Buck Dewey - He has a laid-back personality and dislikes "nasty stuff." Buck is the son of Mayor Dewey. Likes to hang out with Jenny and Sour Cream. His character design parallels Garnet's.
  • Jamie (voiced by Eugene Cordero) - A postman, who delivers the mail in Beach City, likes Steven's Cheeseburger Backpack.
  • Onion - Steven's chubby, mute friend with an onion-shaped head. Seems to lack virtue.
  • Mr. Smiley (voiced by Sinbad) - The owner of Beach City Funland. Steven usually causes him a lot of trouble.

Development[edit]

Concept and creation[edit]

The titular character, Steven, is roughly based on Sugar's younger brother Steven Sugar,[8] who is now a background artist for the online web series, Bravest Warriors, created by Pendleton Ward of Adventure Time fame (he is also the background artist for Steven Universe as well). Growing up, Sugar would create miscellaneous comics between herself and Steven, as well as with other friends.[9] In an interview with The New York Times, she commented on the development of the titular character's background, 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."[10] 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.[8]

Production[edit]

According to Sugar, production began on the show concurrently while working on Adventure Time. Her last episode for the series was "Simon & Marcy", in which working on both simultaneously "became impossible to do". Similarly, she would encounter difficulty around the production of the episode "Fionna and Cake".[11] The series 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 will feature a song, instead opting to feature one every couple episodes "where it always feels right".[11]

Broadcast history[edit]

The pilot episode for Steven Universe, along with a few other pilots, were released on Cartoon Network's video platform on May 21, 2013.[12] They were taken down and redirected to a 404 page shortly after.[13] On July 20, 2013, Cartoon Network uploaded an edited version of the pilot to both their official website and Facebook page.[14] The pilots were also exhibited at the San Diego Comic-Con,[15] 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.[16] The series premiered on November 4, 2013 on Cartoon Network, with two episodes.[4]

Reception[edit]

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."[17]

The series has received mostly 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."[18] 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."[19] The AV 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."[20] Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times was highly postive, commenting that the series was "very good" and concluding with "[Rebecca] Sugar's good at this stuff — which is all that really counts."[21] 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."[22]

Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media, however, was more mixed. Ashby gave the series 2 out of 5 stars, promoting the series "for older tweens [than] for kids" in her review.[23]

Episodes[edit]

Steven Universe series overview
Season Episodes Originally aired
Season premiere Season finale
Pilot July 27, 2013
1 26[24] November 4, 2013 June 11, 2014

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cartoon Network Orders More Episodes Of Rookies Uncle Grandpa, Steven Universe". Deadline.com. PMC. 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  2. ^ McLean, Thomas J. (2012-09-11). "Cartoon Network Greenlights Steven Universe, Uncle Grandpa Series". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  3. ^ http://m.deadline.com/2013/11/paw-patrol-season-two-cartoon-network/
  4. ^ a b c d e D’Amato, Adrienne; Lach, Dawn; Ungerson, Shana (2013-10-03). "Steven Universe" (Press release). Cartoon Network. Characters tab. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  5. ^ "Résumé of Zach Callison". Zach Callison: The Official Website. 2013. Section for voice-over work. Retrieved 013-08-11. 
  6. ^ Connie - Steven Universe Wiki
  7. ^ "Steven Universe" recap: "Bubble Buddies"
  8. ^ a b Cavna, Michael (2013-11-01). "'Steven Universe' creator Rebecca Sugar is a Cartoon Network trailblazer". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ 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 ..." 
  10. ^ Ito, Robert; Jeremy Egner (2013-07-26). "Rising Animators Spring Into Motion". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Amidi, Amid (2013-05-21). "Sneak Peek: Cartoon Network's Steven Universe by Rebecca Sugar". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  13. ^ Woerner, Meredith (2013-05-22). "Watch the amazing, fantastic and stupendous pilot of Steven Universe". io9. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  14. ^ Bricken, Rob (2013-07-20). "The first look at Rebecca Sugar's amazing new cartoon Steven Universe". io9. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  15. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (2013-07-22). "Cartoon Network Sneak Peeks Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  16. ^ "Cartoon Network presents Steven Universe". Panels & Autographing. New York Comic Con. 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ "'Steven Universe,' TV review". New York Daily News. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  19. ^ "‘Steven Universe,’ and a sweet one it is". Media Life Magazine. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  20. ^ "A cartoon with an Adventure Time pedigree breaks down barriers". The AV Club. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "Review: 'Steven Universe' is a gem". Los Angeles Times. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  22. ^ O'Leary, Devin D. (2013-12-12–18). "Sci-fi gets Sugar-coated in Cartoon Network's Steven Universe". Weekly Alibi 22 (50).  [page needed]
  23. ^ Ashby, Emily (2013-10-29). "Steven Universe". Television Review. Common Sense Media. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  24. ^ The Futon Critic staff (2013-11-14). "Cartoon Network Orders More Episodes Of Rookies Uncle Grandpa, Steven Universe". Deadline.com. PMC. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 

External links[edit]