Steven Universe returns to our TVs on May 12 with the start of Season 3 and the next arc called In Too Deep. Many of the comments from the IO9 announcement were wondering if this is a series worth watching and what episodes to watch to get caught up.

Answering the first part is easy. If you like anime, manga, 8-bit gaming, old movie serials, and great music and storytelling, you will enjoy Steven Universe. James Whitbrook wrote an excellent article about the series over on the mothership that is a great overview of the series. Well worth reading...

Answering the second part is...not so easy. Right up front, the first half of the first season is all about world building. We’re introduced to Steven and the Crystal Gems, the world they protect, and some of the problems they are enduring being both strangers in a strange land and survivors of a horrific civil war. I equate Episodes 1-24 with the first half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s all setup and origin story. If you made it through that, then you can make it to Episode 25 & 26 where there is a HUGE pay-off for the story thus far. The second part of the first season deals with the fallout from Episodes 25 & 26 and leads up to the big reveal in the season finale.

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Since this show is a series, many of the episodes have call backs to previous episodes or are a part of the overall storyline about Steven and the Crystal Gems and their battles. To help out fellow Niners and O-Deckers that want to see what the series is all about, I’ve come up with a “machete list” of episodes. I’ve taken a different tact though. Instead of watching them in particular order, I’ve chosen episodes to skip. While these episodes are important to learning about the background characters, they don’t really do much for the overall storyline of Steven Universe. Don’t get me wrong. These are all still good episodes (Except the Uncle Grandpa crossover...I just don’t get that show). Go back and watch them if you want. Some are pretty funny, a few have some great songs that are definite earwigs, and all are pretty good at showing Steven interacting with his friends. This list is to help everyone get caught up a little faster by skipping a few of the less relevant episodes.

Season 1

Episode 4 – “Together Breakfast”

Episode 5 – “Frybo”

Episode 18 – “Beach Party”

Episode 21 – “Joking Victim”

Episode 30 – “Island Adventure”

Episode 33 – “Garnet’s Universe”

Episode 41 – “Horror Club”

Episode 47 – “Shirt Club”

Season 2

Episode 3 – “Say Uncle” (non-canon crossover with Uncle Grandpa)

Episode 4 – “Love Letters”

Episode 16 – “Sadie’s Song”

If you want to read the episode summaries instead, The Steven Universe Wiki is a great place to start. Each episode of Steven Universe is about 11 minutes long. All episodes are available at Hulu Plus and Amazon.com. Their numbering of the seasons and episodes may be different than what I used, but the titles remain the same.

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Have a different opinion, question about why I left an episode in or out, or want to add more to the show discussion? Let me know in the comments. Last of all, “Believe in Steven!” all over again on Cartoon Network, May 7 12, at 7pm EDT.

EDIT to correct date of Season 3 premeire... May 7 is my CA:Civil War viewing date.