By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
While most of Europe aired the new Ben 10 rebooted series since fall of last year, fans from North America are still anxiously waiting. Teletoon Canada offered a sneak peek Monday night for what’s to come in Spring. This new series is better off packaged as two episodes for the time-slot it is given instead of 10 minutes (giving a lot more time for commercials), before jumping to another show.
Given that the intended audience is for kids with limited attention span, the 10-minute format is satisfactory. But I’m craving longer tales, and am hoping by binge-watching a bunch of episodes back to back will reveal a greater story arc.
Tonight’s broadcast sees Ben Tennyson (Tara Strong reprises the role) learning responsibility. His access to the internet gets taken away until he cleans the Rust Bucket, a camping van that he, his cousin Gwen (Montserrat Hernandez) and grandfather Max (David Kaye) rides in throughout their many adventures. When the alien Fly Guy attempts to steal it because it reeks of garbage, this boy has a lot to do before his family returns! Amusingly enough, they are off to visit a bat guano cave.
The new character designs takes a little getting used to. They recall a style also found in the new Teen Titans cartoon. The prerequisite introduction (how Ben acquired the Omnimatrix) is dispensed with to get to the story right away. If this first episode is any indication, there’s going to be a moral to every episode. Ben is your typical lazy kid, needing to learn about taking responsibility for one thing or another along the way.
While “The Filth” is certainly adamant in revealing how this boy should not shirk his chores, I am wondering how future episodes will sneak other words of wisdom to the viewers. Unlike He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, where what’s learned is recapped by the episode’s end, this series does not have the extra time to reinforce a point. We can enjoy this kid’s antics in saving the day, but not all of them involve saving the entire planet from destruction.
This new series has its moments of juvenile style humour to satisfy all ages. While some reboots work for introducing new viewers to a beloved show, and others … well, this one needs more episodes to reveal if there’s a central story arc tying the episodes together.