The extremely popular animated action series Ben 10 has gone through numerous refreshes, with varying degrees of success with regard to fan reaction. This month saw another iteration of the franchise via a new TV series simply titled “Ben 10.” Unlike Omniverse and Ultimate Alien, which both served as extensions of the original series, the new Ben 10 series is a reboot.
The rebooted Ben 10 series will bring the story back to a young Ben Tennyson, his cousin Gwen, and Grandpa Max as they travel across the country for their summer vacation. One thing leads to another, and the young hero-to-be comes across the Omnitrix. This mysterious wristwatch allows Ben to transform into 10 different aliens, each one possessing unique extraterrestrial superpowers.
Longtime fans will recognize the reboot’s plot to be unremarkably similar to the original, but there are a number of changes that North American fans can expect (the series has already debuted internationally, but NA release is set sometime in 2017.): first is the visual design – like Omniverse, the new Ben 10 series uses a stylized art style that makes effective use of exaggerated anatomy and facial expressions, albeit using a more vibrant color palette sans the thick flowing outlines notorious for giving many shows a cheap Flash-animated feel.
Additionally, the show has taken on a more compact runtime – dropping the old 22 minute episode format for a leaner 11-minute version. This may give fans the impression that they are going for a sketch comedy format, but Man of Action co-founder Steven Seagle assured fans in a TV Kids interview that it’s not “crazy comedy,” and will retain the original’s tone, albeit distilled into a more efficient runtime.
Lastly, Mr Seagle promises longtime fans that the reboot will capture the original’s appeal. In his own words:
“The way that Cartoon Network has evolved the show over time—visually and storytelling-wise—has kept people on board for the decade that we’ve been doing Ben 10. It constantly evolves and changes, and the changes of this new show might freak out some of our longtime fans, but that’s part of what we do. Every couple of years it’s a different show that still has the [elements] you loved before. We’re just doing that bigger this time.”