B10:UA Season One was 20 episodes. A little unusual, but syndicated animated shows apparently march to a different drum. Season two: 32 episodes? And they took a hiatus of months after the first 12. The Fortress has decided not to wait. We are weighing in on the first half. Who knows when the season will end?
Is there an arc this season? Not really. It is a parade of single episode enemies both old and new. Fortunately the Ben 10 universe is interesting, vast and diverse. With 9 combined seasons of Ben 10 franchise, there are plenty of embittered, goofy and strange opponents to revisit our “hero”. We almost want to call him an anti-hero since he is so lackluster, self centered and uncaring.
Is Ben getting more likable this season? They may be trying a little. It would not take much considering last season’s rock bottom status. However we also think people are just getting used to his leaden personality. He was more likable as a bratty grammar school kid.
After Kevin’s monster period last season, he has returned to be the most likeable member of the three stars. Who does not like the “rogue with a heart of gold”? It is a tried and true formula you may have seen before.
Yes, Kevin is Han Solo. Ben is Luke, however only in his heroic action role, not in likeable personality. And Gwen is indeed the wise-cracking, hard-nosed, no-nonsense, down-to-business, cool-headed Princess Leia type (all those dashes!). Although she has a little attitude, the team is getting along better. They have moved through their Star Wars: A New Hope banter, through their Empire Strikes Back bickering, and finally into their Return of the Jedi acceptance and teamwork.
Last season Gwen was unhappy all the time and did not like it. This season Gwen is unhappy all the time and is resigned to it. Speaking of females in the show, what happened to Ben’s supposed girlfriend Julie? You will be hard pressed to find a bigger bit- uh, …un-pleasable girl with constantly nagging bad attitude. We know Ben is not great catch, but still. All the Julie episodes this season have higher levels of uncomfortableness.
Here are other questions you may ask:
- Is there any daylight this season? Very little.
- Is the world still a strangely uninhabited place? More or less.
- What about the only female this season without an attitude? She’s a robot.
One thing the Fortress was especially pleased with was the rebirth of the Forever Knights, our favorite villains. We thought they were launched well with their mysterious King way back in the original series. Since then their status has fallen to “losers”, and finally “a joke”. But the return of their founder, Old George, with some high-tech gizmos no less will hopefully reinvigorate them for the rest of this season and beyond. We’ll see.
The writing continues to be quality, although quirky and perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea. Sometimes episodes are slow-moving and resolve less than satisfying ways. At least there is less unfun anticipation of the three leads arguing. They do it less now.
Is this (half) season worth watching? We think so (despite annoying Julie). Especially if you want to see appearances by Azmuth, Professor Paradox, Grandpa Max, and …Vilgax? Well sort of.
Check out our Ben 10 franchise takes: