Ben 10: Alien Force (B10AF) is the sequel to the popular Ben 10 series that ran for 4 seasons. Where Ben 10 was a fresh new idea and generally a series with a bright disposition, B10AF moves the series 5 years into a darker and more mature future. This is not a bad thing. The series was ready for an upgrade and the viewers and fans were also maturing.
The series is run by the enigmatically titled “Man of Action”, a group of 4 individuals who IMO are not only rather creative, but successful television producers. The latter being a difficult art in its own right. They did not hold too tightly to their own creation’s continuity when remaking the franchise into B10AF. During the original series we got glimpses of the future which seen through the light of B10AF may or may not be able to come true now.
With the show now revolving around three unusually powered teenagers, the producers felt that original series mainstay and anchor, the grandfather Max, needed to be out of the way. I like the Max character. While I agree he does not fit the B10AF dynamic, the show is poorer for his absence. His final exit midway through the series thankfully leaves room for a possible return.
Ben uses an alien device on his wrist to transform into 10 powerful alien forms. For the sake of freshness, and with little explanation the device changes its look and now provides 10 completely different alien form options. The good news is ones you did not care for are no longer an issue. Of course, the ones you liked are not back either. (I miss the tough-guy Diamondhead.) That said, some of the new forms are interesting and the last one introduced in episode 13, Alien X, is:
- Downright strange
- Impossible to use
- And incredibly overpowered – all at the same time.
Ben is joined by his cousin Gwen, who is the whole package. Smart, a very good martial artist, and adept at powers we now find to be derived from her part alien heritage rather than magic. In a great casting decision Ben’s rival from the original series, Kevin Levin (“Kevin Eleven“), is the third member of the powered trio. He brings the attitude, street smarts, and a bit of a romantic interest for Gwen (lucky guy).
Unlike the original, people seem to die or befall nearly as bad fates in B10AF. It is not a show for young children. That said its subject matter and plots are more dramatically diverse for older children, teens, and even adults (like we in the Fortress).
You never know where an episode of B10AF will take you. In the season finale you will find the trio barreling down the corridors of a spaceship — in Kevin’s classic car. The Earth is one button press from destruction, and we all have to deal with the uber-powerful but frustratingly hamstrung Alien X for the first time.
If you liked the original Ben 10, you will likely enjoy B10AF after some adjustment. If you are unfamiliar with the original or it was too “kiddy” for you, B10AF is worth checking out. If you are looking for an unusual domestic show with a science fiction theme give it a try.
Check out our Ben 10 franchise takes: