Ben 10 (TV series)

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Ben 10
Ben 10 logo.svg
Genre Fantasy
Science fiction
Action
Adventure
Comedy
Superhero
Created by Man of Action (Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, and Steven T. Seagle)
Voices of Tara Strong
Paul Eiding
Meagan Smith
Steven Jay Blum
Dee Bradley Baker
Jim Ward
Richard Steven Horvitz
Richard McGonagle
Fred Tatasciore
Dwight Schultz
Charlie Schlatter
Tom Kane
Richard Green
Michael Dorn
Rob Paulsen
Theme music composer Andy Sturmer
Opening theme "Ben 10", performed by Moxy
Composer(s) Andy Sturmer
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 52 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Sam Register
For Cartoon Network Studios: Brian A. Miller
For Cartoon Network: Tramm Wigzell
Producer(s) Kelly Crews (Season 1)
Donna Smith (Season 2–4)
Alex Soto (supervising producer)
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Cartoon Network Studios
Broadcast
Original channel Cartoon Network
Picture format Standard-definition
Original run December 27, 2005 (2005-12-27)  – April 15, 2008 (2008-04-15)
Chronology
Followed by Ben 10: Alien Force
Related shows Generator Rex
External links
Website

Ben 10 is an American animated series created by Man of Action (a group consisting of Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, and Steven T. Seagle), and produced by Cartoon Network Studios. The series is about a 10 year old boy named Ben Tennyson who gets a watch-like alien device called the "Omnitrix" (the prefix omni means all). Attached to his wrist, this allows him to transform into various alien creatures. He then uses these powers to fight evil from earth and space.

The pilot episode aired on December 27, 2005, as part of a sneak peek of Cartoon Network's Saturday morning lineup. The second episode was shown as a special on Cartoon Network's Fridays on January 13, 2006, and the final regular episode aired on April 15, 2008.

The series gradually became popular among audiences, evolving into a franchise, being nominated for two Emmy Awards, winning one for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation". Ben 10 was succeeded by Ben 10: Alien Force, which itself was succeeded in April 2010 by Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. A new series called Ben 10: Omniverse premiered in September 2012.

Premise[edit]

The series centers around Ben Tennyson (Tara Strong), a ten-year-old boy on a cross-country summer vacation, with his cousin Gwen (Meagan Smith) and their grandfather Max (Paul Eiding). On their first night camping in their grandfather's RV affectionately named the "Rust Bucket," Ben finds an alien pod with a mysterious watch-like device named the Omnitrix. The device then permanently attaches itself to his wrist giving him the ability to transform into a variety of alien life-forms each with its own unique skills and powers. With his new found super powers Ben has to learn the responsibilities of being a hero. During their vacation, the Tennysons are attacked by various enemies ranging from space aliens to supernatural entities.

Cast and characters[edit]

Further information: List of Ben 10 characters
  • Benjamin Kirby "Ben" Tennyson:

Ben is shown to be a cocky, immature boy, who is not above enjoying attention and enjoys making jokes even during fights. Though his immaturity makes a bad impression on some people, Ben is good-hearted, noble, and loyal, and his actions are motivated above all by a strong and sincere will to help and save others in need. He will stop at nothing to protect his family or anyone in danger whether human or alien. Ben proves to be resourceful, intelligent(Ben has been known to have Eidetic Memory), shrewd and cunning when needed, which saved him from many situations, especially when the Omnitrix cannot activate or doesn't provide him with the alien he originally wanted.

  • Gwendolyn "Gwen" Tennyson:

She is depicted as a kind and intelligent girl. Overall, her most notable skill is her innate, if latent, ability at magic. She got her powers from her alien grandmother, Verdona Tennyson. She is extremely skilled at magic as in "Tough Luck" when she picks up Hex's staff to defeat Charmcaster, Charmcaster replies that it can only be worked in the hands of a master magician and Gwen could still fire a yellow energy beam from it even though she hadn't learnt about them.

  • Grandpa Maxwell "Max" Tennyson:

Max mentions having spent his childhood Summers on his Uncle Jedediah's farm, where he learned about the merits of hard work. A "not-quite-all-there" Max, under the effects of Zombozo's happiness-draining, mentions having been afraid of heights as a kid and then, when "enough was enough", Max "climbed up to the top of the water tower" and "scared the fear" right out of him. It was shown that Max had a childhood friend called Donovan Grand Smith, who sums up Max: "growing up he always was the worrywart never the risk-taker", like himself. Thirty years earlier, Donovan and Max had both been broke when Donovan offered Max a business opportunity which he turned down. Max later became a Plumber (Donovan thought Max was an actual plumber), establishing that Max's career as a Plumber lasted for about twenty-eight years before he retired (Max mentioned that after twenty-eight years on the job, he'd never figured out who was behind the Bermuda Triangle). It was revealed that Max had been an astronaut and would have been the first man on the moon, but left the program before the Apollo Moon mission. In his own words, Max said he just "took his step for mankind in other ways".

Main villains[edit]

  • Vilgax:

One of the most feared aliens in the galaxy and arch-enemy of Ben. Vilgax is vicious, arrogant, and dangerously relentless, as he will stop at nothing to take the Omnitrix, which he wishes to use in order to create a transforming super army. In the past, Vilgax was an enemy of Grandpa Max. Vilgax was injured and remained in a regeneration chamber in the first season, but when completely healed, he was cybernetically enhanced, giving him colossal size, strength and durability that made him a match for every alien Ben could access at that time.

  • Kevin Levin:

An 11-year-old delinquent sociopath with a mutant power that allows him to absorb energy. He uses the ability to commit crimes to benefit himself, never caring if it hurts anyone. He originally wanted to team up with Ben to become unstoppable, but after Ben refuses the offer, he absorbs power from the Omnitrix instead. He uses this to frame Ben for robberies using the alien forms, but the constant changes makes his DNA unstable and he eventually becomes a combination of all ten of the alien forms. Becoming a monster makes him hate Ben more than ever, as he blames him for his new form, and he swears revenge, becoming Ben's secondary arch-enemy: "Kevin 11".

  • Dr. Animo:

A scientist whose career was cut short when it was discovered that he was performing twisted genetic experiments on animals. He had hoped that his research would win him the Verties Award, which is an award in veterinary science. Because of the nature of his research, he lost the award to another doctor named Kelly. This drove him insane, and he dropped off the map for five years until he could perfect his research. After being defeated by Ben for the first time, Dr. Animo makes himself a personal nemesis to the boy, always hoping to defeat him and rule the world. His powers include controlling animals, reviving them and creating them.

  • Zs'Skayr:

An Ectonurite who was originally one of Ben's forms. Zs'Skayr was sampling Flourana DNAs into the Omnitrix but ended up having his own DNA sampled along with it creating a clone of him and Ben's form "Ghostfreak". His powers include invisibility, intangibility, possession, tentacles, energy beam projection, telekinesis and firing energy beams from his hands.

  • Charmcaster:

A gifted human who was the teenage niece of Hex. She first appears to be loyal to her uncle, but was actually using him to get power for herself. She becomes Gwen's personal nemesis. Her powers include mana manipulation and spell-casting.

Themes[edit]

The Omnitrix (The Omnimatrix)[edit]

Main article: List of Ben 10 aliens

The Omnitrix (The prefix omni- means all, the trix means matrix) was originally created by a Galvan (Grey Matter's species) named Azmuth and Albedo. The Omnitrix was intended to allow beings to experience life as other species in order to bring understanding and foster peace in the universe.

In the first form that Ben found, the Omnitrix looked like a wristwatch, primarily black and gray in color, with a gray (or black) dial in the middle (like a watch face) and had a green hourglass shape on it (actually the intergalactic "peace" symbol, also on Plumber's Badges and Azmuth's home world). However, many beings, like Vilgax have seen the Omnitrix' abilities as something that could be used as a powerful weapon.

According to Xylene, the Omnitrix was originally intended for Max, but since she was in battle she sent it to the forest by mistake. When Ben found it, his DNA was close enough to Max that it mistook him for Max and locked itself on Ben's wrist.

Active Mode

The default mode for the Omnitrix which means it can be used and that it has recharged or totally working properly. Actual usage time is unknown (between ten and twenty minutes, most commonly ten), and can time out at inopportune moments, it seems to time out faster the more it's taxed by activities such as fighting. However, if regular transformation is tampered with, Ben can't turn back (Ditto, for example, isn't allowed to revert when Ben's Ditto clones were not all merged, nor does it allow Ben to transform multiple times).

The Omnitrix also possesses a Master Control, activated by inserting a certain code into the Omnitrix. Once the Master Control is unlocked, the user can remain in an alien form indefinitely and is able to switch between alien forms at will just by thinking it, speaking the name of the alien given by the user, or operating the Omnitrix which can still be found on the body when activated.

Time Out Mode

When the Omnitrix times out, it beeps and flashes, converting the user back to normal. It takes around 10 minutes to recharge, though it may take more time if tampered with. The main purpose of timing out is said to be to keep the original personality of certain aliens from overwhelming the user (such as the case of Ghostfreak).

The Omnitrix is powered by a special self-renewable power supply that will long outlive Ben. The Omnitrix has, on occasion, instantly recharged to protect its user from direct physical threat. This was shown when Ben was about to be killed by Kevin and then when Ghostfreak, who had escaped the Omnitrix at the time, tried to possess Ben, both times, despite just timing out moments earlier, the Omnitrix recharges instantly when Ben's life is put in direct threat. However, this may possibly be a safety mechanism where the Omnitrix taps into an emergency reserve of energy, as the Omnitrix almost immediately timed out mere moments later. This feature was apparently switched off after the recalibration. The Omnitrix has been known to 'malfunction', such as unexpectedly timing out, recharging instantly or changing into a different alien than was selected; however, these might be safeguards programmed to protect against someone stealing it.

It was confirmed by Dwayne McDuffie, the Omnitrix times out not to recharge its energy, but to prevent damage to Ben.

Capture Mode

When a new DNA sample has been unlocked for future use (it identifies the DNA against the database, then unlocks that code on the Omnitrix), or when the Omnitrix actually captures new DNA that is not already present on it.

Wrong Alien Method When the omnitrix reads the users mind, just in case when the omnitrix detects Vilgax, The Omnitrix will transform the user in other aliens instead of Waybig to make the battle longer just because Ben Transform in any alien before Waybig.

Self-Destruct Mode Activated In 30 Seconds

When in S.D.M. (Self-Destruct Mode), the Omnitrix counts down until it explodes. When in S.D.M. for a few days, the Omnitrix charges up enough energy to cause an energy ripple that will destroy the entire universe, also in the original series while the Omnitrix was in S.D.M. it sent out bursts of energy that threw Ben through the air. When in S.D.M is activated while the omnitrix was in Vilgax's Hand, he will throw Vilgax in the wall of his ship, recovering from the shockwave.

Other Features

  • The Omnitrix has Artificial Intelligence and Natural Intelligence that can read the mind of the user and transforms him/her into the alien form like Alien X it thinks is right for the situation when activated; it might be why Ben turns into another alien instead of the one he chose;
  • When it's near to Azmuth, it has been shown to pin-point the direction to reach him by turning its dial;
  • When transformed, the Omnitrix can protect the host from negative influences, like possession by an Ectonurite or the mutation effect of Corrodium or Dr. Animo's mutant ray, the same effect applied to Kevin during his second mutation, as it came from the Omnitrix too;
  • If someone tries to tamper with it against the host's will, it creates a large feedback pulse for defense;
  • The Omnitrix has a failsafe that it works when an alien was removed from the Omnitrix intendedly by the user, the omnitrix will never accept any DNA from the species that already removed in the Omnitrix like Feedback.

Allusions[edit]

  • "And Then There Were 10" starts with a space battle, just like in the opening scene of Star Wars Episode IV.
  • The Forever Knights appear to be inspired by the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) from the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, both organizations viewed themselves as superior races descended from ancient times and their goals are to search for paranormal artifacts (such as alien tech for the Forever Knights, while the National Socialists search for occult items) to help out their causes. The Forever Knights' hatred of everything alien also appears to allude to the National Socialists' anti-Semitic views of the Jewish and other enemies of the Third Reich who are not considered Aryan purity.
  • Another possible source of inspiration for the Forever Knights might be the "Torchwood" Institute as presented in the more recent series of Doctor Who. Torchwood, like the Forever Knights, is dedicated to collecting Alien Tech ruthlessly and to the very specific goal of ensuring the dominating position of a presumed British Empire on planet Earth.
  • Another possible source of inspiration for the Forever Knights might be the rumors and common conspiracy theories regarding "Area 51" in the U.S.A. According to these theories, Area 51 is a location where aliens or their dead bodies have been kept, dissected and analyzed. In the movie Independence Day, Area 51 is also a place of alien tech research where an alien battle pod is analyzed and repaired and then used against the same Earth-invading alien civilization.
  • In "Ready to Rumble", when Porcupine curls up and rolls into the enemy, is much like Sonic the Hedgehog's Spin Dash.
  • "Ben 4 Good Buddy" is a reference to "Ten 4 good buddy".
  • "Big Fat Alien Wedding" is a reference to the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding; and the events are similar to the classic tragic story Romeo and Juliet.
  • Eye Guy is a reference to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers villain, also called Eye Guy.
  • In "Midnight Madness", has a reference to the Midnight Riders[disambiguation needed]; the "Mega-mall-opolis" is a parody of the Mall of America in Minnesota; and Sublimo is derived from subliminal.
  • In "Super Alien Hero Buddy Adventures", the North brothers are named Kane and Abel, which most likely refers to Cain and Abel from the Bible.
  • In "The Big Tick", all the hand positions Cannonbolt used were Peter Parker's hand positions when he was trying to find out how to shoot webs in the first Spider-Man movie. Also, the plot about an intergalactic planet eater, the creature having its servant(s) go to the world before and the fact that its servant(s) move around on hoverboards is similar to the plot of Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
  • In "Ghostfreaked Out", was made a reference to Ghostbusters' phrase I ain't afraid of no ghost!, where Acid Breath says I ain't scared of no ghosts!.

Episodes[edit]

Seasons Episodes U.S. First air date U.S. Last air date Main Antagonist(s)
1 13 December 27, 2005 March 25, 2006 Vilgax
2 13 May 29, 2006 October 9, 2006 Kevin 11
3 13 November 25, 2006 April 21, 2007 Zs'Skayr
4 13 July 14, 2007 April 15, 2008 Forever King Driscoll, the Negative 10

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Ben 10 was created by "Man of Action" and was produced by Cartoon Network Studios. Man of Action is a group consisting of comic book creators Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, and Steven T. Seagle. The group worked on Ben 10 concept roughly 3 years before Cartoon Network picked up the series.

Early on in development, it was decided that a villain would be within the Omnitrix. After Ghostfreak was created the creators added dialogue into the first season to give the audience that there is something more to Ghostfreak.[1] Originally Cannonbolt the 11th alien transformation in the series, was going to be in the original set of aliens, but was replaced with Ghostfreak.[1]

When doing test animations for the series the first alien transformation to be tested was Four Arms. It was the most popular transformation out of all the aliens for "Man of Action".[1] Many of the unused designs for Upchuck were recycled into in the episode "Ben 10,000" as two of Ben's aliens "Spitter" and "Articguana", and as villain Sploot.

Steven E Gordon worked on a very early version of the show, his concept work reveals that Ben Tennyson was originally going to be a red headed young boy. Gordon also has early designs of the Omnitrix which look more like a watch than the final version, as well different designs and names for the alien transformations.[2] Some of the beta names for the transformations were "StrongGuy", "Inferno", "RazorJaws", "Dragonfly", "Plantguy", and "Digger". Some of the early designs for the early aliens are more human and super hero like similar to Dial H For Hero.[2]

Theme Song[edit]

The theme song for the series was written by Andy Sturmer and sung by Mz. Moxy.[3] The main title were created by Renegade Animation. The flash animated sequence during the main title was designed to let the audience know that the show is going to be fun and not just an action show.[4] The opening credits were altered in the third season and beyond to reflect that Ghostfreak was no longer to be used, and was replaced by Cannonbolt as the ninth alien.

Casting[edit]

Kris Zimmerman was in charge of casting and was the voice director. Tara Strong voices the title character Ben Tennyson, Upgrade, Benwolf, Lucy Mann-Tennyson, Ken Tennyson, and Sandra Tennyson. She also voices Future Gwen and Buzzshock in "Ben 10,000". Meagan Smith voices Ben's cousin Gwen Tennyson, and Paul Eiding voices Grandpa Max and his version of Upgrade.

Steven Blum voices Ben's alien transformations Heatblast and Ghostfreak, as well as the series main villain Vilgax. Dee Bradley Baker voices Ben's transformations Stinkfly, Eye Guy, and Wildmutt, Baker also voices Ben's school bully friend Cash Murray, and many of his enemies such as The Limax, Six Six, Acid Breath, and the character Elsgood. Baker also notable for voicing many various characters and aliens. Richard Steven Horvitz voices Ben's Grey Matter transformation and the villain Sublimino. Richard McGonagle voices Ben's Four Arms transformation, and the villain Exo-Skull. Fred Tatasciore voices Ben's aliens Ripjaws, Cannonbolt, and Way Big, Tatasciore also voices a future version of Ben in "Ben 10,000". And Jim Ward voices the transformations Diamondhead, XLR8, and Wildvine, and the character Gordon Tennyson.

Additional voices[edit]

Films, Sequels, and Spin Offs[edit]

TV films[edit]

Two Ben 10 films have been released at different times during 2007 and 2008. The first is a regular animated feature called Secret of the Omnitrix, in which the Omnitrix is accidentally set to self-destruct and Ben must track down its creator to stop it. A trailer of the film was released with the film Billy & Mandy: Wrath of the Spider Queen, and it aired August 10, 2007. Michael Ouweleen described the film's villain, which was actually Vilgax, as "like Darth Vader without the sense of humor."[5] A different version of Secrets of the Omnitrix, which introduced a different alien (Eye Guy) to the one in the original (Heatblast), aired on September 1, 2007. A third version (in which XLR8 was featured) aired on October 20, 2007. It was stated during the premiere of Alien Force that Secret of the Omnitrix was intended to be the chronological finale of Ben 10, even though it was broadcast long before the last episode, which was not canon.

A CGI movie titled Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens was first released on March 11, 2012 in Asia[6] and on March 23, 2012[7][8] in the US. The movie focuses on a 10-year-old Ben returning to school after the summer.[9][10] The movie was released in 2 different versions on Asia. The Filipino viewers will hear the Philippine winners while the rest of Southeast Asia will hear the Malaysian kids.[11]

Theatrical films[edit]

Ben 10: Race Against Time is the first film in the series. It revolves around Ben (Graham Phillips), Gwen (Haley Ramm) and Grandpa Max (Lee Majors) returning to their hometown of Bellwood and attempting to adjust to being ‘normal’ again. Unfortunately, their lives are once again disrupted by a mysterious alien known as Eon (Christien Anholt), who has an unexpected connection to the Omnitrix.

Main article: Ben 10: Alien Swarm

Ben 10: Alien Swarm is the second film in the series. It is about Ben (Ryan Kelley), Gwen (Galadriel Stineman), Kevin (Nathan Keyes) and Grandpa Max (Barry Corbin). In the movie the group stumbles upon a hive of alien nanobots using humans as host bodies in order to take over the world. The Nanochips, or "alien swarm", are controlled by a single consciousness and Ben and his friends must work together to stop them.

Sequel series[edit]

Ben 10: Alien Force is the sequel to the show set five years after the original series. As an indirect result, this series is darker in tone compared to its predecessor. The series premiered on Cartoon Network on April 18, 2008 and ended on March 26, 2010. It has since been premiered in Canada, on Teletoon.[12] A video game of the show is now out for the Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable.[13]

Another sequel series, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, premiered on April 23, 2010 and takes place 3–4 weeks after the finale of Alien Force.[14]

Protector of Earth[edit]

This is the first Ben 10 video game, released in autumn 2007.

Following the success of the Ben 10 animated TV series and films, various Ben 10 merchandise has been released for general sale. These items include Ben 10 books, action figures, card games such as Top Trumps, toys, video games - notably Ben 10: Protector of Earth, bedding, and footwear.

FusionFall[edit]

Ben 10 appears in Cartoon Network's online MMO FusionFall. The character design for Ben Tennyson was changed when the original Ben 10 series ended and was replaced by Ben 10: Alien Force. In the game, he serves as a "Player Guide" offering guide-based missions and special items that can only be used with certain guides.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Complete Second Season: Commentary for "Ghostfreak Out" (DVD). Warner Bros Entertainment.
  2. ^ a b "Steven E. Gordon". Retrieved February 3, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Moxy Music". Archived from the original on 16 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  4. ^ The Complete First Season: Commentary for "Secrets" (DVD). Warner Bros Entertainment.
  5. ^ "CN Upfront: "Ben 10" Live Action and Animated Movies In Production-UPDATED". Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-25. 
  6. ^ "Coming Up In March - Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens". Cartoon Network. Retrieved February 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ Zahed, Ramin. "'Ben 10' Movie to Premiere on March 23". Animation Magazine. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Ben 10 Week – New Movie Destroy All Aliens!". Cartoon Network – Coming Soon. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ http://www.animationmagazine.net/tv/cartoon-networks-set-cg-ben-10-tv-movie-for-2012/
  10. ^ http://www.toonzone.net/news/articles/38225/sdcc2011-ben-10-destroy-all-aliens-trailer-released
  11. ^ Pulumbarit, Oliver M. "Filipino kids’ voices in ‘Ben 10’". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ Ben 10: Alien Force at Cartoon Network
  13. ^ Ben 10: Alien Force Game at GameSpot
  14. ^ http://news.toonzone.net/articles/29112/animation-news-from-the-2009-cartoon-network-upfront-updated-1257-pm-with-images

External links[edit]