A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ben 10: Omniverse is the fourth installment in the Ben 10 TV franchise, which also boasts a number of movies, games, and an extensive marketing line. The story centers on now-16-year-old Ben and his new partner, who hit plenty of bumps on their way to becoming an efficient team. The good news is that there are strong messages about respect, patience, and being a good role model, all of which Ben learns because of his unexpected relationship with Rook. The bad news is that, like all of the Ben 10 stories before it, this one has a lot of cartoon violence marked by laser guns, hand-to-hand fighting, explosions, electrocution, and the like. Because there's no blood and the players are aliens (or, in Ben's case, in alien form), the content's impact is less than it would be if they were people engaged in battles, but the bottom line is that fighting is how these characters typically solve their problems. Expect some playground-style name-calling ("dweeb," "bubble brain," etc.) and plenty of kid-pleasing comical mishaps as Ben learns the ropes of his new alien forms.
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What's the story?
BEN 10: OMNIVERSE opens with the departure of Ben Tennyson's (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal) longtime alien-fighting partners, Gwen (Ashley Johnson) and Kevin (Greg Cipes), who are heading off to college, leaving Ben and his Omnitrix to run defense against invading villains by himself. But when an eager young alien named Rook (Bumper Robinson) is slated as his new partner, Ben finds himself in the unexpected role of teacher to this by-the-book go-getter, and it's going to take some time for both of them to adjust. Unfortunately time is a commodity they can't afford after Ben discovers an underground city teeming with quirky aliens, including a few old enemies looking to settle a score with him and a mysterious new stalker named Khyber (David Kaye) lurking in the shadows.
Is it any good?
Ben Tennyson has grown up before viewers' eyes as his character has evolved through multiple TV shows and movies, ultimately becoming the 16-year-old star of Ben 10: Omniverse. In many ways, this series is a starting-over point for Ben as he breaks in a new partner whose naivety reflects just how far Ben has come since his first alien encounter years ago. Kids who've followed his previous adventures will enjoy this latest addition to the story, marked by a new Omnitrix and 10 new alien personalities at Ben's disposal.
Of course, Ben's new maturity doesn't preclude his penchant for impulsiveness and bending the rules -- usually to a comical end -- both of which contradict Rook's carefully measured approach to alien fighting. The partners' vastly different personalities create some problems for them, but they also offer opportunities for each to adjust his expectations and appreciate the other's unique talents, which ultimately makes for a stronger team and a more effective defense against the show's villains.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about responsibilities. Kids: What responsibilities do you have at home? At school? What are the repercussions if you don't fulfill them? How does that affect other people around you?
Kids: How do you deal with unwanted changes in your life? What lessons can you learn from making it through a difficult time? How does facing challenges teach you about your inner strength?
If you could take on an alien life form, what would it look like? What features do you think would be the handiest in doing Ben's job?
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