Tuesday, May 2, 2017

On The Air: Ben 10 (2005)

The reason the original Ben 10 is labeled as "On The Air" is because the chumps at Cartoon Network decided to reboot the series last year, a clear case of fixing something that wasn't broken.

Ben 10 had been a profitable franchise for CN, such that the network decided they needed to make live-action movies spun from the series. You have to remember that this was around the time that now-deposed executive "Stupid" Stuart Snyder was in charge, and thought live-action would function as well on CN as it has on rivals Nickelodeon & Disney Channel. What a maroon!

Digression over.

The basics: 10 year old Ben Tennyson finds what he thinks is a fancy watch. What it really is, though, is the Omnitrix, which allows him to access the powers and abilities of 10 alien beings, hence the show's title, Ben 10. The Man of Action studio, which includes writers Joe Kelly & Steven T. Seagle, developed the series, but I am not entirely sure if they've been lured back to CN for the current series, which launched in October.

Ben 10 spawned three sequel series, all of which will be covered in due course. We would also see that Ben's cousin, Gwen, would discover that she herself is not only a sorceress in training, but half-alien as well.

Following is the intro:



The back & forth sniping between the cousins you can dismiss as being natural, the closest thing to sibling rivalry this show has. However, the bickering would give way to the formation of natural teamwork and bonding between Ben & Gwen, almost as if they should've been brother & sister instead of cousins. I haven't seen the new version yet, but that will also be addressed in due time.

Rating for the original Ben 10: A-.

20 comments:

Steven Dolce said...

I wish this show got rebooted by [adult swim] instead of CN.

hobbyfan said...

Why is that? It wasn't meant for [as]. The later series, maybe, so I'd guess you'd want to see Gwen & Kevin getting busy.....

Silverstar said...

'Cause that's what action cartoons need...an even smaller niche audience.

-Seriously though, Ben 10 was created to sell toys to young boys; excluding kids from watching would not only alienate their prime audience but it would also guarantee that no toys would be sold, thus rendering the show D.O.A., since action cartoons depend largely on merch sales to survive.

Goldstar said...

There's always fan fiction if one wants to see that.

I'm guessing that the decision to give Gwen the sorcery angle was made due to complaints made by the girls watching at home who no doubt weren't crazy about Ben having these cool alien transformation powers while Gwen gets diddly. And, yeah, I too feel that Gwen could have easily been written as Ben's sister rather than his cousin.

Ben 10: Alien force was one of the most boring cartoons that I've ever seem, although I thought that the Anodite thing was kind of cool.

Goldstar said...

In regards to the prospect of an Adult Swim version of Ben 10, my response would have to be no. The Ben 10 franchise was never intended for adults, so I really don't see how an AS version of the series would work. If we've learned anything from Fant4stick, it's that doing a dark, edgy take on something that was intended to be light hearted isn't necessarily a good idea, as you often end up alienating most of said franchise's fan base.

hobbyfan said...

And yet today, guys, you have idiots in Hollywood who are darkening every "light hearted" property that ever came along just because they can. Not all of them work, but because Hollywood is creatively bankrupt, such that the pending "Baywatch" movie is an action comedy, a la "Starsky & Hutch", "CHiPs", and "21 Jump Street" (guess which one made the most money of that trio), when it could be handled differently.

To get back on topic, when I responded to Steven, I was trying to figure out why he wanted Ben 10 on [as], which, as we agree, is where it doesn't belong. Reviews of Alien Force, Ultimate Alien, and Omniverse are coming this month as well.

Steven Dolce said...

Did you guys even see the new reboot CN released? Abosolutley atrocious.

hobbyfan said...

As I wrote, I haven't seen it yet. Will discover for myself later.

Silverstar said...

I haven't seen the new series (haven't tried to, honestly; I've only seen bits and pieces of Ben 10; the show just isn't my jam), however I don't see how turning a kids' franchise into an Adult Swim type thing would be an improvement.

Steven Dolce said...

@Silverstar Samurai Jack was a kids show and that got turned into an [adult swim] show.

Silverstar said...

I'm aware of that (you're not talkin' to Zeke from the Creek here), but I still don't think that would work with Ben 10. Jack was already more mature and less toyetic than the average CN show, so not much tweaking was required for the changeover. Ben 10 is a completely different animal entirely. The latter was designed specifically to appeal to preteen toy-buying kids, it's not the same thing at all. Not every show would work as an edgy adult franchise.

Goldstar said...

@Steven Dolce - You still haven't explained why you want to see Ben 10 made into an Adult Swim show or how that would work. You need to explain that if you insist on pushing this notion.

Yeah, that worked for Samurai Jack because that show always had an adult edge to it, but you can't apply that same strategy to every franchise and expect it to work. Samurai Jack has an adult protagonist while Ben 10 doesn't.

hobbyfan said...

I'm with the twins on this one. Ben 10 on [as] doesn't make sense, other than what I surmised might be the reason earlier. You need to elaborate a little bit more, Steven, rather than use Samurai Jack, which was never a kid-centric show to begin with, as an example.

Steven Dolce said...

@hobbyfan The reason why Ben 10 should have been rebooted by [adult swim] is because the new Ben 10 reboot ( which you have yet to see) is too light-hearted and only focuses on the comedy aspect of the original show. It's the same problem we have with other crappy reboots like Teen Titans Go! and Powerpuff Girls 2016. These three atrocious reboots only focus on the comedy aspect of the three original shows they were based on. They have no character development, no dark and serious tones, ugly animation styles, horrible humor, etc. THAT is the #1 reason why Ben 10 deserves a reboot on [as] instead of CN. Hell, even Teen Titans and Powerpuff Girls should have been rebooted by [as] instead of CN as well.

hobbyfan said...

Get it through your head, Steven. It doesn't belong on [as], which would actually crap all over it. You're just ticked that CN is insisting on cheap, unfunny comedy for revivals/reboots of earlier action adventure series. Teen Titans Go! still gets big ratings from daily spamming on CN & Boomerang, so it gets copied.

Silverstar said...

@Steven Dolce 3 things:

1. The thing to keep in mind is that the current crop of CN shows are aimed at KIDS, and by that I mean kids today, not people who were kids 20 years ago. These shows may not appeal to you or I, but kids are eating them up, hence why that style is often repeated, as Hobbyfan mentioned. I'm not thrilled with these shows either, but at the same time they have to keep ratings high and viewers happy, so you can't really fault them for producing the kinds of programming they think their main audience wants to see. These reboots don't appeal to us, but they're not made for us.

2. Putting these shows on [adult swim] wouldn't improve them. At all. Aside from the shows on Toonami, [as] is just as comedy-focused as CN is, only more lowbrow, so there they'd be just as 'funny', only with more toilet humor and gratuitous shock jokes. The answer isn't moving these shows to [as], it's improving the quality of the writing and execution.

3. The Powerpuff Girls was *always* a comedy. The show didn't have any "dark and serious" tones, and IIRC, the post-movie episodes weren't all that great. Teen Titans was likewise a goofy comedy that was occasionally intense, not a serious, intense show that was occasionally goofy. That's the thing about nostalgia: it tends to make us forget the bad and mediocre stuff and remember the good stuff as being better than it actually was.

Goldstar said...

Well, keep in mind that these reboots were designed to appeal to a new generation of fans. Bottom line: these are kids' shows and we're not kids. The reason why these shows are popular is because kids like them! We may not enjoy these shows, but they aren't made for us.

Also, I disagree with the notion that making a kids show "more adult" would make it better. It's a mistake to confuse angst for depth. Dark and serious doesn't always mean better, or even as good. Again, the bomb-a-saurus that was Fant4stick proved that. None of the shows that you mentioned would be improved by making them AS shows. Dark and serious is highly overrated. A Ben 10 series could conceivably have some serious moments, but the whole show being serious? Nah, it wouldn't work.

Warner Brothers doesn't need to turn Ben 10 into a dark angst fest. It just needs to be made better.

Goldstar said...

Also, sorry to drag this out, but I'd also like to point out that just because something is on, that doesn't mean that you have to watch it. Steven, if you prefer the original Ben 10, Powerpuff Girls and Teen Titans, then why not just watch the original series? The episodes are still out there and are still available for viewing, via home video or online streaming (legal, of course). Cartoon Network isn't going to cancel any of these shows as long as they continue to put butts into seats.

hobbyfan said...

I think the only real argument against the reboots is that, especially in the case of Ben 10 and the Titans, the earlier series aren't that old at all. The Powerpuffs' original series is around 20 years old. The first Ben 10 is 12, and the "original" Teen Titans turns 15 next year. That said, those shows are still relatively fresh in people's minds, and that fuels the hate for the remakes that put more emphasis on comic elements, and failing in that aspect.

Steven Dolce said...

I think CN has a pretty bad reboot fetish.