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 this cartoon features more of the explosive exchanges that were prevalent in the two previous incarnations of the Ben 10 series, so if violence is an issue for you, then this one isn’t a good choice for your kids. Teenage Ben is a brooding hero who’s struggling with the double stresses of fighting aliens and managing his newfound worldwide notoriety, and the show feels a little more intense because of it. Alien monsters and Ben’s own transformations can be frightening for kids as well. In other words, tweens with a good grasp of fantasy vs. reality should be fine, but younger or more sensitive kids might find the show too scary.
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What's the story?
BEN 10: ULTIMATE ALIEN picks up where Alien Force left off, with now-16-year-old Ben Tennyson (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal) still taking on a host of alien intruders to Earth. His enemies have gotten stronger and more elusive, but Ben’s acquired a revamped Omnitrix called an "Ultimatrix," which puts more variety and power at his fingertips. With his friends Gwen (Ashley Johnson) and Kevin (Greg Cipes) at his side, Ben also faces the daunting task of handling his newfound fame after his long-kept identity is revealed.
Is it any good?
Kids who have followed Ben’s journey from the original show won’t notice many changes besides his age in this latest incarnation of the series. He’s still a morphing master, now drawing on an even more extensive wealth of alien forms and honed skills to wage war against the imposing creatures. In addition he sports slick new rides for both road and air travel, which is sure to impress gadget-loving tween boys.
That said, this grown-up Ben has more on his plate than just blasting aliens now that the whole world knows who he is, and it makes for some uncomfortable times when his efforts to help people are misinterpreted as menacing and dangerous. There’s a noticeable change in his demeanor, which is more brooding and reflective than jovial, and by association, the show seems slightly darker than in the past. Then, of course, there’s the frequent battles between the good guys and the bad, which might frighten kids and sends iffy messages about nonviolent methods of resolving conflict.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fantasy. What is fantasy? What aspects of this show are rooted in fantasy? How much of it is realistic? Is fantasy appropriate for everyone? How can you tell the difference? Do you like shows that have a lot of fantasy? Why or why not?
Tweens: Do you believe in the existence of aliens? What evidence exists to support the theory that they exist? Do you think we’ll ever know for sure if they do?
What did you think of the violence portrayed in this show? Was there too much violence? How does it compare to other cartoons you’ve seen? Is violence more upsetting when it’s in a live-action show than in a cartoon? Why or why not?
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