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Steven Universe casually shatters its own backstory with a pair of intense, internal episodes Steven Universe casually shatters its own backstory with a pair of intense, internal episodes

Every run of Steven Universe Beach City episodes gets followed by some climactic events tearing open part of our understanding of the broader Steven Universe mythos. Is this what you were expecting? Both of today’s episodes move inexorably, slowly, toward decisive conclusions that set up major pieces of the season’s…

Steven Universe tells some fun short stories structured as "Letters To Lars" Steven Universe tells some fun short stories structured as "Letters To Lars"

Steven Universe rarely does just one Beach City episode—usually there will be a few in a row, each focusing on a different character or group of characters to check in on how they’re growing and changing in between Steven’s Gem adventures. Here, the conceit of “Letters To Lars”—Steven writing Lars a letter to give him…

Garnet's anxiety is surprisingly sweet as Steven Universe goes "Pool Hopping" Garnet's anxiety is surprisingly sweet as Steven Universe goes "Pool Hopping"

Garnet’s future vision has long been one of my favorite science fiction elements of Steven Universe, and that’s not just because it’s cool that Garnet can see the future. Rather than merely using her ability as a way of solving plot problems, Steven Universe has spent time exploring what it means for Garnet to be able…

Sadie slays at "The Big Show" on a killer Steven Universe Sadie slays at "The Big Show" on a killer Steven Universe

None of Steven Universe’s Beach City characters have had arcs as complete as Lars and Sadie. Lars, grumpy and distant because he was afraid to try anything or appear vulnerable, has become a daring, confident space captain willing to engage in dangerous missions. Sadie, originally a wallflower smothered by her mother…

Garnet tells Steven Universe a story we've heard before about "Your Mother And Mine" Garnet tells Steven Universe a story we've heard before about "Your Mother And Mine"

It sure seems like we’re getting closer to a climax, right? Where almost every episode of Steven Universe has had forward momentum, if only for one or two side characters in Beach City or for our understanding of the Gems’ past, “Your Mother And Mine” is contemplative and quiet, more of a calm before the storm than a…

Cartoon Network's Apple & Onion isn't the freshest fruit, but it's still pretty tasty Cartoon Network's Apple & Onion isn't the freshest fruit, but it's still pretty tasty

The animated buddy comedy is a well-worn format at this point, with pairs ranging from Ren & Stimpy to Cow And Chicken to Billy & Mandy. The genre has endured, largely because it’s a sturdy foundation for all kinds of wacky adventures—as long as the audience can hang on to the two main characters, you can do pretty…

Future Man takes one final jump in a melancholy-tinged, action-packed finale Future Man takes one final jump in a melancholy-tinged, action-packed finale

This season of Future Man has been a bit meandering, letting its characters oscillate between being super psyched for their murder mission and having them run off to alternately parent a baby, do coke and run a restaurant, and play video games in a house with a cool bathroom. Thankfully, “A Date With Destiny” pulls…

The last temptation of Josh Futturman makes for a comically overstuffed Future Man The last temptation of Josh Futturman makes for a comically overstuffed Future Man

The main benefit of Future Man being a TV show instead of a movie is time. Additional time to build out characters, to flesh out the show’s time travel rules, and to allow for several different realities and reversals of roles. It’s why we got the two best episodes of the show so far, which are almost wholly contained…

Future Man splits its best episode between two insane period pieces Future Man splits its best episode between two insane period pieces

“Beyond The Truffledome” scatters Future Man’s heroes to different time periods, meaning the main cast shares few scenes together. It’s chunkily paced, with an extended sequence depicting Tiger’s time in the 1940s and ’50s before diving into Wolf recounting his glorious time as an ’80s guy. Josh Hutcherson is barely…

Future Man finally goes full Back To The Future, and it really is that new sound we've been looking for Future Man finally goes full Back To The Future, and it really is that new sound we've been looking for

Finally, an episode of Future Man full of cool stuff happening. “Operation: Natal Attraction” takes place entirely over the course of one night, evenly divided between Josh’s efforts to ensure that Kronish is on the boat with Leslie and Tiger’s attempt to get Wolf back on board with the mission. Only one of them is…

Future Man's riff on Fatal Attraction is decidedly non-lethal Future Man's riff on Fatal Attraction is decidedly non-lethal

Just to get this out of the way: I have not seen the film Fatal Attraction. It is entirely possible that the bulk of this episode, a farcical series of misunderstandings in Dr. Kronish’s house involving Josh wearing fishnets and chaps, a gay reverend, a dead cat, and a prostitute with excellent ’80s hair is much…

Future Man makes an unfortunately boring pit stop in 2017 Future Man makes an unfortunately boring pit stop in 2017

Who would have guessed that 2017 would be the worst possible setting for a time travel show? (Besides everyone.) If your characters have access to a time travel device that will let them go to any other years, why wouldn’t they? There have been a few strong episodes sent in the present, but as it becomes increasingly…

Future Man takes a trip to The Abyss in an extended homage to visionary linguist James Cameron Future Man takes a trip to The Abyss in an extended homage to visionary linguist James Cameron

There’s an odd contradiction at the heart of Future Man: The show is trying to do a plot straight out of an ’80s sci-fi movie, in a world where the characters know about and can play off of those conventions. That means that sometimes the show can have its cake and eat it too, but it also means that Future Man …

Future Man settles in for a madcap holiday dinner party/torture session Future Man settles in for a madcap holiday dinner party/torture session

Even though Future Man could send its characters anywhere in time and space, one of the show’s best episodes so far is also the closest thing it’s had to a bottle episode, taking place almost entirely in the Futturman house. With just 28 minutes until Jeri’s head blows up (or, roughly the length of an episode of…

Future Man forces everyone to projectile vomit at the world's worst office holiday party Future Man forces everyone to projectile vomit at the world's worst office holiday party

There have been quite a few time travel shows over the past several years, ranging from the funny (Time Traveling Bong) to the unfortunately, deadly serious (Time After Time). Future Man has positioned itself to potentially bridge that gap, playing the seriousness of its stakes and the intensity of its cast off the…

Future Man's science lab caper is one for the gobulator Future Man's science lab caper is one for the gobulator

Most of “A Fuel’s Errand” is sort of like a compressed second act, hitting beats that the movie version of Future Man might have gotten to after an hour or so. Josh is kicked off the anti-Biotic team in the wake of his failures in the last episode and the discovery that he is, in fact, a janitor. (Tiger adds insult to…

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