Steven Universe is one of the best children’s TV shows that can be found on the TV screen at the moment. In brief, it is an animated series centered around Steven Universe, a half-human, half-alien boy who has been raised by three members of an alien species called Gems, which are sapient crystals that generate humanoid bodies for themselves. On initial inspection, it doesn’t seem that much different from other children’s TV shows, but once someone becomes willing to continue, they discover that it possesses plenty of complexities that make it just as well-suited for an adult audience.
Here are some of the reasons that adults should watch Steven Universe:
A lot of cartoons are episodic in nature. In part, this is because of the short attention spans of children. However, it should also be noted that the channels broadcasting such TV shows do a lot of re-runs, meaning that they actually want stand-alone episodes so that their viewers can start following a series at any point instead of having to get in from the start. Steven Universe is one of a number of children’s TV shows that are not afraid of having overarching narratives, which have made it that much better for adult viewers. In brief, the TV show focuses on the titular character’s coming-of-age story in the shadow of his alien mother, who led a rebellion to protect her adopted home from a colonization that would’ve destroyed all life on Earth. All while he interacts with the survivors of the war as well as those who have come into being in a society shaped by said war in addition to a wide range of human acquaintances.
Complex but Nonetheless Sympathetic Characters
The characters of Steven Universe behave like real people, which is pretty impressive when much of the cast is made up of sexless and genderless aliens who just look like human women. For example, Garnet is one of the most composed characters on the TV show, but there are times when she can become panicked, thus serving as a reminder that there is no such thing as a perfect person or for that matter, a perfect relationship. Likewise, Pearl’s love for Steven is complicated by her grief over the death of his mother, while Amethyst’s jokester personality is derived in part from her self-loathing as a result of her creation. Even the enemies are full-fledged people in their own right, as shown by how Yellow Diamond expresses her grief through anger whereas Blue Diamond expresses her grief through depression.
One of the Most Progressive Shows Out There
As stated, the Gems are technically sexless and genderless aliens, but that doesn’t change the fact that they appear as female. Combined with its complicated, genuinely mature depiction of non-heterosexual love, it is no wonder that broad swathes of the Internet has latched onto Steven Universe as one of the most progressive TV shows that can be found out there. Its inclinations in this regard are so much more than just surface-deep, as shown by the fact that it stresses love, empathy, and other traditionally “feminine” characteristics as components of true strength. Something that becomes all the more interesting because Steven is the one who has become one of the most empathetic characters on the TV show while striving to live up to the legacy of his mother.
Finally, it is worth noting that Steven Universe is fun. Yes, its characters suffer and struggle, but at the same time, it reminds us that life is well-worth living in spite of its imperfections and that people can overcome their problems when they work together. Simple truths, perhaps, but nonetheless powerful ones.