Ben 10

Timeline Problems in the Ben 10 Universe

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Much as I like Ben 10 - and I do - the continuity of the show has always been problematic. Some of that is the unavoidable result of time compression in the show. The original series ran from December of 2005 to May of 2008, yet it took place entirely within the space of 90 days, one summer. The sequel series ran from April of ‘08 to March of this year (2010 for all of you folks reading this in the future. How are those flying cars and starships working out for ya’ up there?), and was set over the course of one school year.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: “Hit ‘Em Where They Live” (Season 1, Episode 3)

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Six Six (Or possibly Seven Seven, I can never tell them apart) tries to shoot Ben’s annoying hippie mother, but Grandpa Max saves her, chasing the guy off, though injuring himself in the process.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: “Duped” (Season 1, Episode 2)

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Here we are two episodes into the new series, and they’ve already got a really long way towards addressing and overcoming my reservations about the previous series, “Ben 10: Alien Force.” This new show is brighter, fuller, generally funnier. While it still feels like our characters are operating in a big vacant world where there’s usually only three or four people, there are at least other people walking by in the background.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10 Ultimate Alien : “Fame” (Season 1, Episode 1)

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We’re now in our second Ben 10 spinoff. As regular readers here will not, I’ve been a big fan of this franchise since uberscribe Dwayne McDuffie took over three years back. Here’s just a quick and entirely gratuitous look at how the franchise has evolved since its inception, by way of the opening credits

The original intro:

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EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10 Alien Force: “The Final Battle, Parts 1 and 2” (Season 3, Episodes 19 and 20)

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And so it’s done. The series is over and done. Alien Force has ended. This series was originally intended as a two-season arc-driven series, mostly centered around the “DNAlien” threat, which reached it’s climax in the last couple episodes of Season 2, in a multi-part finale. Ratings were unexpectedly good, and so Cartoon Network agreed to extend the show by a year, and postpone the development of the next Ben 10 spinoff accordingly.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10- Alien Force: “Vendetta” (Season 3, Episode 18)

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Penultimate episodes are always kind of a crapshoot: They can either stretch and try something new - like Stargate: Atlantis did - or they can just phone it in, content in the knowledge that it’ll all be over soon. Alien Force chose to stretch, and good for them! After last week’s weird misstep, the show is back in fine form, with the darkest episode they’ve ever done.

PLAY BY PLAY

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EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10 Alien Force: “Above and Beyond” (Season 3, Episode 17)

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Grrr. Is there anything worse than an episode where the audience is deliberately misled into thinking there’s real peril going on, only to find out that it’s all just a training exercise? Really, it’s just the worst bait-and-switch available.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10 Alien Force: “Time Heals” (Season 3, Episode 15)

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Before we begin, I just want to point out that "Retrospeculative TV" is now a once-a-week feature, and not a Tuesday/Thursday thing like it has been. In fact, it was always intended as a once-a-weeker, but since we started it in the winter doldrums, when none of our shows were cranking out new episodes, we figured 'why not double up until the season gets rolling again?'  Now that the season *is* rolling again, we're cutting out the Thursday Retrospeculative.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10 Alien Force: “The Secret of Chromastone” (Season 3, Episode 16)

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Ben has a cold. While attempting to cure it with a Bitteroot and Ecanasia smoothie, Tetrax the diamond guy shows up, and forces Ben to change into Diamondhead, then pounds him until his body shatters and releases Chromastone. Tetrax gives him a red jem, and Chromastone flies away.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Ben 10 Alien Force: “Primus” (Season 3, Episode 14)

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Alien Force’s streak of good episodes continues tonight with a fun little romp that kept getting bigger and bigger to the point where I felt it had to be a two-parter, yet it managed to resolve itself in a way that never felt particularly rushed or forced.

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Vilgax is talking to his advisor, who’s baiting him to do something rash (“Speak carefully. Your advice is valuable, not irreplaceable”), and he reveals that he got info from Ghostfreak four episodes back that’ll allow him to get the Omnitrix and kill Tennyson once and for all. And it will, too!

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