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Man of Action...Too Soon!
After their successful Ben10 was signed over to another production team, the four-man crew that is Man of Action started planning and producing a new series: Generator Rex. This is a show with several interesting concepts and characters, and a whole lot of potential. Unfortunately, alot of it has thusfar been sadly wasted. Why, you ask? Two Words: Bad Pacing.

Man of Action initially got a 20 episode order for the show, and there was no guarantee that they'd be picked up for any more episodes. Apparently, Generator Rex is a story they really wanted to tell, and tell it they do. But this is the problem: the story moves too fast. Events that should happen at a later point happen too soon. We're hardly given time to breathe and take everything in before we're rushing to the next important event.

The first episode does what's expected of it and introduces the story, heroes, and villains. Now, the second episode is all right. But then comes the third, in which Rex meets his love interest, Circe...who is revealed to be a part of The Pack in that same episode. Come on, even Terra from Teen Titans had more time to get trusted and betray her lover! Then in the fourth episode, Rex learns that his friend Noah is actually a spy hired by Providence. Yeah, three episodes since Noah's debut and already we get this. Rex then runs away from Providence...only to return in the very next episode.

We thankfully get a breather episode afterward, but THEN we get one in which Van Kleiss launches a big invasion on New York City, teasing Rex about the secrets of his past all the while. The next episode centers around the previously underutilized Breach...who dies at the end of it. The final episode to air thusfar has Rex meet one of the main scientists responsible for creating Evas, reveals that Van Kleiss had a hand in it as well, and also reveals that Rex has a brother somewhere out there.

You see the problem? Imagine if the creators of Avatar The Last Airbender rushed to tell their whole 3-season story in just one 20-episode season! Would it have been as satisfying? The answer: No. Generator Rex isn't a bad show at all, but it would have been so much better if the story and it's major points were spread out over a longer period of episodes, giving the audience more time to care.
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comment #3410 zam 15th Jul 10
I honestly do not see the problem here. Not all stories move at the same pace. You think it should move at a slower pace, but none of your arguments have done anything to establish why this pacing is objectively bad.
comment #3418 76.230.47.208 15th Jul 10
^ I sum it all up at the end: the pace moves too fast for the audience to deeply care about the characters and events in the story. Why should we care about Rex feeling betrayed by Noah when we barely got to see their friendship develop...heck, we barely got to know Noah! Why should we care about his heartbreak over Circe? She hasn't had enough screentime to be very interesting or that good a love interest to Rex? And if we had more episodes to spend more time with Rex and care more about him, we'd be able to better share his joy in learning he has a brother out there. Instead, it comes across as an Ass Pull.
comment #3427 ManwiththePlan 16th Jul 10
Gotta say, while I see what you're trying to say, I disagree. To tackle each point:

Circe? Is not Terra. The point is not to see her struggle and eventually fall. She is already on the opposing side, more interested in what VK has to offer than what Rex does. Their relationship is nowhere near the mutual interest Beast Boy and Terra had; much more similar to Rogue and Scott in the early days of X-Men Evolution. This makes her different, not wrong, and I personally enjoy that we're not getting yet another Doomed Relationship with angsting on both ends. They know where they stand, and can continue from there.

Noah? We the audience get the reveal of his betrayal FROM EPISODE ONE. To have to watch continuously as the two get closer, especially with Providence's manipulations clear to everyone but Rex, would personally be aggravating for me as a viewer and speak far worse of Noah as a person (to the point that come the reveal, I know I would be unable to like him). Also, as Rex's first and only friend, the sense of betrayal is perfectly reasonable, even if the two have only known each other for a short amount of time; he's still the first, and yet only gained because Providence needed a spy. Should there have been more indication of Noah's struggle in the previous episodes? Yes. But that is a writing misstep, not a pacing one.

Rex's escape from Providence? Could only end in a quick return; he really has nowhere else to go. Temporary anger, as a teen, is normal, especially with such manipulation. But they're still his best shot of finding out his past while also helping others, and I think the ending indicates that Rex feels a strong connection to his makeshift family, enough that he is willing to give it another go. I think it would have been interesting to see it go on longer, but I doubt it'll be the only time this happens. More like a warning bell that he is willing to leave if he perceives an injustice against him.

The New York episode is key. It reveals VK as a threat. It is not his master plan in the general sense; it in fact serves as his presentation to the world as an enemy. In a way this is slow pacing; rather than have VK already a clear enemy, only in this episode does he become a definite Magneto-type figure.

Breach was far from underutilized. She was a member of the team who, ultimately, was probably too powerful for her own good. Her episode puts her in the spotlight and shows that other henchmen than Circe have their own plans and issues, pointing specifically to a possibly aggravated case of OCD. She is then destroyed likely as an example of her illness and how nanites have complicated it, the lengths to which the team is willing to go for Rex, and again, because she is far, far too powerful and complicates fight scenes. Again, more a writing failure in making such an intriguing character so hazardous to the plot than a pacing one.

Then, in episode nine (originally meant to be ten, but an unaired episode pushed it up), we have actual movement on Rex's past. Movement that raises far more questions than it answers. This takes place HALFWAY through season one. Pretty much putting it exactly at the point such a turn should be.

If we want to talk about individual episodes? I'm all for talking about poor pacing. Many of the early episodes are rushed to provide maximum action. But the pacing of the season itself is one of the things I'm enjoying about the show, and I hope it continues to be so aware of when to start and stop, without trying to conform to the models of other shows.
comment #3452 108.7.50.8 18th Jul 10
^Win
comment #3782 zam 7th Aug 10
Dude, the pacing is actually what helps it. Avatar had a long, overarching story, and Rex is a totally different beast, or should I say EVO? :P

As the one post above mentioned, if Noah's secret had been kept secret for too long, it would have become boring (as we've already seen the 20+ episodes of "Heheheheh, I'm really not your pal!" done to death). Having it be revealed early on helps avoid the cliche of Rex hating him for X-amount of episodes and being a sourpuss.

For one, american cartoons don't have the luxury of being 50+ episodes (at least not the heavily story driven ones) and so there are going to be quicker storylines whereas an anime can take it's time (which is often a turn off for some who don't want to wait 10 episodes for the hero to go through one day). If anything, it's really the fact that they only have 13 episodes for the season (unless the break allowed them to pull episodes from the next to use and extend season 1) and thus have to tell what's is needed to be told in the first act.

While it's true some events like Rex going solo did resolve in only an episode, it worked out quite fine for me. He didn't have that much to be angry about, and it was said he's had fits like that in the past. It's actually quite possible that later on (maybe even in the finale of season 1) he may leave and be on his own for more than a single episode after something really serious (possibly White Knight having knowledge of his brother's whereabouts, or his parents) that would prompt him to leave for a longer time.
comment #4523 OrpheumZero 22nd Sep 10
I think it could be done well in 20 episodes. The problem is that they use up Reveals and Whams too soon. Noah's reveal would have been better if they'd done it later and had some fun with the secrecy in the meantime. Van Kleiss's attack on NYC would have worked better later in the story. They could make him a Villain With Good Publicity until then so his betrayal of the world would have more impact.

It's not a matter of actual length so much as proper buildup to climactic moments. Without that buildup they just don't work as well as they could.
comment #4619 Saieras 30th Sep 10
20 episodes sound like a lot but it's not if you have too many characters to cover or special stories you want to tell. In addition, the format that keeps being pushed onto animation producers is to make episodes as interchangeable as possible so they can be aired in any order. I think this is why the writers of Gen Rex introduce plots then solve them in as few episodes as possible. I agree that it it would be better if they had more room to develop them, but they may just not have that luxury.

Overall, I like this series, as they keep coming with interesting angles on the situation, and the characterization is good. About the only character I don't care much for is Bobo... he's supposed to be the Plucky Comic Relief but comes across as more of an annoyance. (Still, I wouldn't mind seeing an episode centered on him, if only to know how and why is he working for Providence- he doesn't seem too useful, and in fact, is a bad influence of Rex by his own admission.)

Hopefully the series will be popular enough to get more seasons and thus, more room to breathe.
comment #5200 Sijo 21st Nov 10
OK, update: Generator Rex has actually gotten a hell of alot better in terms of pacing, so most of the issues I bring up in the review are moot now. It's a situation of Growing The Beard, and I quite like the show now.
comment #11755 ManwiththePlan 5th Dec 11 (edited by: ManwiththePlan)
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