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Ben 10

Who Is Ben 10?

Produced by the Cartoon Network Studios, Ben 10 is an animated children's adventure series that has become hugely popular in the US, UK and various other countries throughout the world. Having first aired on the 27th of December 2005, the original Ben 10 series lasted until the 15th of April 2008, at which time it was superseded by Ben 10: Alien Force - a show that has adopted a much darker tone than the original Ben 10 series. Ben 10: Alien Force is due to be replaced by Ben 10: Evolution, which continues the development of key characters and storylines in tandem with the show's maturing fan base. So, who exactly is Ben 10?

Ben 10 refers to the show's leading character, Ben Tennyson, who stumbles across an alien pod one day and finds a device called the Omnitrix. Resembling a rather bulky watch, the Omnitrix enables whoever wears the device to transform into various different alien creatures, which are all distinct from one another in both appearance and characteristics. As most young boys would do, Ben slips the Omnitrix on to his wrist without realising what it is capable of doing; more importantly, the Omnitrix permanently attaches itself to Ben's wrist, thereby transforming him from just another ordinary boy to one who has remarkable special powers. As Ben is a good child, he makes the bold and noble decision to use his newly discovered powers in the battle against evil in all its various forms.

Ben is accompanied on his quest to fight evil creatures - both terrestrial and extraterrestrial - by his cousin Gwen and their grandfather Maxwell, who is more commonly referred to simply as 'Max'. Over time, Ben becomes more disenchanted with the Omnitrix, to which legions of alien creatures appear to be drawn. As such, he desperately longs for a normal life that is free of the device, which functions by mixing the DNA of the wearer with that of various alien creatures. In the second feature length Ben 10 film (Ben 10: Race Against Time), Ben, Gwen and Max attempt to resume a normal life but are attacked by an alien called Eon. This film is notable in that it introduced the underlying premise of Ben 10: Alien Force, which focuses on an older Ben Tennyson.

In Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben's character has aged by five years from the time of the original series. The 15-year old Ben has managed to free himself from the Omnitrix and has since resumed a normal existence. Unfortunately, Max unexpectedly disappears, which prompts Ben to slip the Omnitrix back on in order to search for his beloved grandfather. In the process, Ben must do battle with a host of old foes, including Vilgax, Hex and Ghostfreak. Ben 10: Alien Force involves much darker and more convoluted plots that are designed to appeal to fans of the original series, who have obviously grown up a little since Ben 10 first appeared on their television screens. The revised show also features Gwen Tennyson in greater depth; indeed, Gwen's inherent powers are afforded more attention and the plot explains how she has an alien lineage, which adds an extra dimension to the show. Kevin Levin - a reformed bad guy - also adds more weight to the character line-up as Ben's new sidekick.