Best of the 2010s: 10 animated TV shows that defined the decade

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Steven Universe
Photo Credit: Steven Universe/Cartoon Network Image Acquired from Turner Press /

10. Steven Universe (2013-2019)

The first show to make the list is one that was an easy pick from the start. Even though it wouldn’t exist if another show on the list didn’t happen, it was a must-have on this list. With its first episode airing in 2013, Steven Universe became a huge property for Cartoon Network. The show wrapped in 2019 via the series finale and a made-for-TV movie. Plans for an epilogue series are also in development.

For those who don’t know, the series follows Steven, a half-human and gem hybrid who lives with three other gems. While the youngest in the group, he fit in well as the three go on adventures to save the world. What might sound like a goofy premise spawned a much larger storyline and broader themes than fans may have originally thought? The show also featured music as a significant part of the series and was easily one of Cartoon Network’s most beloved shows of the decade.

While Steven Universe was popular as a TV series, it also garnered a large online fandom. There were sites dedicated to the series, countless pieces of fan art, cosplays and fanfiction written about the series. As far as fandoms go, Steven Universe might possibly be the largest one to be featured on this list.

Other than fandom, Steven Universe was applauded for tackling topics such as grief, LGBT representation, family and love. There was no better place to start than Steven Universe as it might be Cartoon Network’s most defining series aside from another entry on the list.