With the “In Too Deep” schedule progressing nicely, it seemed that Steven Universe fans could look forward to smooth sailing with a full month of regular new episodes. However, the waters have become a lot more muddied with the recent French release of three episodes – ahead of the American schedule.
In the United States, the most recent episode aired is “Same Old World”, with the immediate follow-up episode “Barn Mates” set to air this Thursday, May 26th. However, even the best laid plans can go awry, because this past Saturday, Cartoon Network France surprised viewers by airing the episode first, along with two others, “Hit the Diamond” and “Steven Floats”. The episodes were released in both the French dub and the original English.
It is very rare for American cartoons to have an international release before the domestic one, though not unheard of. The culprit in this case seems to be the sheer length of the hiatus between the the January Steven Bomb and the current four week “In Too Deep” event. This gap allowed international airing schedules to catch up and overtake the American scheduling.
This has caused understandable confusion and contention in the Steven Universe fandom. While technically an official release, there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding how to treat these episodes until their American premieres. “Hit the Diamond” won’t be airing until the 2nd of June, and “Steven Floats” doesn’t even have an official American release date yet, though it’s speculated that it will be some time in June. On Twitter, show writer Matt Burnett has had to remind fans that he’s unable to speak about “future” episodes, and has ceased answering questions entirely.
In a show with such a heavy plot and continuity, spoilers run rampant, and many fans have watched the episodes illegally simply to avoid having major plot points revealed. Others have expressed frustration with the situation, citing how this will make the subsequent hiatus longer still, and fearing that the “leaks” may cause a dip in the episodes’ ratings when they do finally air stateside. Considering the way TV ratings are calculated, and the relatively small size of the American online fandom compared to the show’s total number of viewers, the impact is unlikely to be very large. Regardless, the incident does serve to highlight the some of the unexpected complications caused by Cartoon Network’s atypical scheduling decisions.
Author: Laura B
Lover of fantasy and science fiction, fascinated in how they impact the real world. Professional writer and science communicator.
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