Cartoon Network Studios
The title song of Steven Universe, Rebecca Sugar’s earnest fantasy epic, reassures regular viewers that “We’re the Crystal Gems. We will always save the day. And if you think we can’t, we will always find a way.” In this superhero saga, empathy is perhaps the most important superpower—and our real-world human society needs empathy now more than ever. On its surface, the animated series develops a complex mythology centering around the Crystal Gems—“polymorphic sentient rocks” who adopt more or less humanoid form as they protect young Steven and his human friends from cosmic threats. But for its fans, much of the pleasure is in its healing subtext which fosters emotional intelligence and explores issues of identity and community. Steven’s masculinity relies not on physical superiority, but emotional strength, as the heart of a family built not on blood, but mutual concern, compassion, and respect. The Crystal Gems refuse to remain in fixed human categories, always insisting on being accepted on their own terms. This season rewarded fans with the first same-sex wedding on an animated children’s program. After realizing that their relationship was based on someone else’s idea of who they should be, Ruby and Sapphire take the opportunity to remember their own individuality, while still choosing to spend their lives with the person they love. Steven Universe is a fantastical, even surreal series which nevertheless speaks to the human heart. That’s why the people of the Peabody Awards believe in Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl, and … Steven Universe for a Peabody win.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Creator: Rebecca Sugar. Executive Producers: Rebecca Sugar, Curtis Lelash, Jennifer Pelphrey, Brian A. Miller, Rob Sorcher. Producer: Jackie Buscarino. Art Director: Liz Artinian. Supervising Directors: Joe Johnston, Kat Morris. Writers: Paul Villeco, Katie Mitroff, Jeff Liu, Miki Brewster, Lamar Abrams, Christine Liu, Hilary Florido, Amber Cragg, Tom Herpich. Story by: Matt Burnett, Ben Levin, Rebecca Sugar, Kat Morris, Joe Johnston. Talent: Zach Callison, Estelle, Michaela Dietz, Susan Egan, Deedee Magno Hall, Uzo Aduba, Lisa Hannigan, Patti LuPone, Erica Luttrell, Toks Olagundoye, Jennifer Paz, Reagan Gomez-Preston, Shelby Rabara, Grace Rolek, Tom Scharpling, Charlyne Yi. Music Composers: Aivi & Surasshu, Rebecca Sugar.