Hello interweb, Nate here! So apparently Ben 10 is getting it’s first reboot and being the huge Ben 10 fan that I am I thought I would discuss my thoughts on this new series. The series is suppose to begin airing in the fall next year however some sneak peaks have been released to the public that gives us a general feel for how the series is suppose to go.
Now before I tackle the actual reboot let me go over my opinions on the Ben 10 franchise as a whole and whether or not rebooting it would be a good idea. Now I’ve been a huge fan of the show ever since the first series and I’ve been following the series ever since. Now like I said before, this is the first actual reboot of the series as they’re creating a new continuity and universe for the character. Previous incarnations that aired after the original series, such as Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, and Ben 10: Omniverse, all were sequels to the original Ben 1o series. Now the original series is by far my favorite incarnation of the character, Alien Force was also really good but in my opinion wasn’t as good as the original. Ultimate Alien was awful and the gimmick of having “evolved versions” of his aliens were just kinda dumb in my opinion (evolution doesn’t work like that). While Ben 10: Omniverse was quite controversial among the Ben 10 fandom, I felt like it was an improvement from Ultimate Alien even if I wasn’t a fan of the animation style.
So with that said, do I think a reboot is a good idea? Well while I wish they would’ve decided to just make a another sequel and have it be based around Ben 10 Thousand (a grown up Ben in the future where he has over ten thousand aliens; if I remember right he lost count so it’s more then 10 thousand), a reboot is honestly a fine place to start. Although since no series can live up to how great the original show was, I kinda want them to do a slightly grittier reboot where Ben gains the Omnitrix at an older age (say 15? 16?) and while it’ll still throw a few jokes in there make a slightly darker tone. Kinda like the 2003’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot versus that original 80’s cartoon.
However they clearly didn’t go that route. This Ben is 10 again and seems to be on the summer-long road trip similar to the first series with 10 aliens (both old and new). Now the show is getting a lot of flack because it has a new focus on comedy. A think a lot of fans feel like this is taking the Teen Titans Go! approach and taking the show and dumbing it down to appeal to younger kids. Now I’m not a fan of Teen Titans Go! but I am open to this idea. It worries me considering that the original series already had comedy in it but it could work and I’m trying to keep an open mind. Maybe I’m biased since I have so much nostalgia for the original series, but I really want this reboot to be a good show and I’m not letting some previews stop me from giving it a try. However, while some of the released clips I don’t mind, some are admittingly kinda bad. Like take this clip for example.
Yeah, I kinda cringed at this one. Like I can see Ben showboating during a battle since he’s 10 and can act immature, but this is pushing it. The appeal to Ben 10 is that it’s a 10 year old’s fantasy. He has superpowers, and uses said powers to protect people but he does it less because it’s “the right thing to do” and more of “hey, being a hero is cool”. On occasion he has used his powers for selfish purposes but it’s less like using them to rob a bank and more of “what if I use this alien to cheat on my favorite video game” sort of thing. Moral lessons have been taught but it’s not really the focus of the show. The show is more about showing off a fantasy than giving deep and provocative moral lessons like Steven Universe, Avatar: The Last Airbender, or Adventure Time. However as much as it doesn’t really have any provocative ideas to present, it does have lovable characters and great moments to make it worth watching.
Now besides the new focus on comedy, my biggest worry for the show honestly is the animation. Below I have the sneak peak of the cartoon where Ben turns into his alien Diamondhead to save a theme park. Now after that sneak peak, I have a video of his transformation of the same alien but from the original series. See if you can spot the difference!
Yeah, the animation is far cheaper and doesn’t look as good. It looks like Ben 10 if it was done in cheaper Gravity Falls animation. The original series has the best animation by far but Alien Force/Ultimate Alien’s animation still held up as decent animation if not just unoriginal considering how much it reminded me of Bruce Timm’s DCAU style. Omniverse was my least favorite and this series seems to be going down the path of cheaper and simpler animation.
Also the alien designs are weird. Some look decent like Diamondhead and Four Arms (who has a really big chin for some reason) but than you have some aliens who just look off. Stinkfly got a totally new design change which I really don’t like. The original design looked really cool with it’s insect-like body and the four stalk eyes, but now he looks like some weird cross between a mosquito and a fairy. And the fact that he shoots his slime out of his nipples is just too weird. Wildvine is now one of his orignal 10 but they took away his root like legs which was always a neat part od his design and changed them for legs more similar to Swampfire. Granted I do like XLR8’s spikes on his back since it looks cool. Overflow is a new alien to the series and he just reminds me of a Water Hazard knock off so I’m not sure why they didn’t just make Water Hazard one of his original 10. And I really want Wildmutt back, he was one of my favorites and with the new focus on comedy I can actually see a lot of use in Wildmutt.
Overall, I am worried but at the same time I’m trying to keep an open mind. Ben 10 remains one of the best shows from my childhood and it’s nice how it doesn’t seem to be dying any time soon. I really want the series to end up like Transformers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ya know, franchises so popular they get a crapton of reboots. Some are good, some are bad, but because there’s so many different versions of the same cartoon everyone has their favorites. The 2003 Ninja Turtles is my favorite incarnation of the team but some people prefer the original and some even prefer the current one (it’s still running, right?). And The first live-action Turtles movie I really liked and I even like the Michael Bay one too, but the CGI animated movie was garbage. So hey if the same thing happens to Ben 10 I’d be happy. Even if I don’t like this version, I still have the original to rewatch and maybe in the future they could create a really good reboot that I enjoy too. And I really want a live action movie that’s actually good (never cared for Ben 10: Race Against Time or Ben 10: Alien Swarm).
That’s all I really have right now in terms of thoughts. When the first season airs I’ll review it and see what I think then but in the mean time I’m hoping that it’s at least decent. Heck, if it’s better than Ultimate Alien than that would definitely be a plus!