Ben 10 is a series of cartoons made by a group called Man of Action (Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, and Steven T. Seagle) that has aired on Cartoon Network since 2005. It was the group's first collaboration.
The series follows a boy named Ben Tennyson who, on the first night of a summer road-trip with his grandfather Max and his cousin Gwen, stumbles across an alien device known as the Omnitrix which bonds itself to his wrist like a watch. Ben finds that the device has alien DNA encoded in it which allows him to transform to a variety of alien species, with their own set of skills. From then on, Ben uses the device to take on any threats that come his way, while causing a few bouts of mischief in the process. As he grows as a hero, Ben learns that he didn't gain the Omnitrix by coincidence and finds that his family has been involved with aliens long before he has.
Taken as a whole, the Ben 10 franchise is Cartoon Network's longest-running series with 414 episodes across 23 seasonsnote , five made-for-TV movies, 40 shorts, and 5 specialsnote . It also has the highest number of episodes and seasons among all Cartoon Network original series.
- Ben 10 (2005-2008): The original series, centering on the cross-country road trip mentioned above. Established all the major elements seen throughout the franchise, from the Plumbers to the various alien races, and lasted four seasons for a total of 52 episodes, plus a TV movie. The ONLY installment of this continuity that Man of Action had significant involvement with. Alex Soto (Teen Titans) served as supervising producer.
- Ben 10: Alien Force (2008-2010): The Darker and Edgier Time Skip continuation of the series set mostly in Ben's hometown of Bellwood. Five years have passed since the original show and Ben is now a teenager living a normal life, but that all changes when a new alien threat is discovered. Ben must once again wear the Omnitrix to combat it, helped along by Gwen and former villain Kevin. It lasted three seasons for a total of 46 episodes, underwent an art overhaul, and had Dwayne McDuffie of the Justice League fame as the supervising producer.
- Ben 10: Ultimate Alien (2010-2012): A direct continuation of the Alien Force series. Ben now has a new Omnitrix called the Ultimatrix which allows him to transform into "Ultimate" versions of his original aliens and his identity as a shape-shifting hero has been revealed to the world. It lasted three seasons for a total of 52 episodes and once again had Dwayne McDuffie as supervising producer.
- Ben 10: Omniverse (2012-2014): The Denser and Wackier fourth iteration of the series. Aliens are now well-known to the Earth and Ben has now joined the Plumbers police force, working with a new partner named Rook. The series also dedicates some episodes to show events that happened during the weekend road trips that Ben had with Gwen and Max between the original series and Alien Force. It lasted eight seasons for a total of 80 episodes, underwent another art overhaul to recapture the tone of the original series, and serves as the end to the classic continuity. Matt Youngberg (Transformers: Animated) served as supervising producer.
- Ben 10 (2016-2021): The fifth series and a Continuity Reboot. Even more comedy and slapstick-driven than Omniverse, this installment has the most drastic art shift yet in order to reflect the new tone. Despite taking a "back-to-basics" approach, some elements and characters from later entries of the original continuity do make an appearance. It lasted five seasons for a total of 184 episodes, plus a TV movie. Man of Action returned to serve as executive producers, with John Fang (Generator Rex) serving as supervising producer.
- Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix (2007): Ben and Gwen travel through outer space in order to find the creator of the Omnitrix after a fight causes the device's self-destruct sequence to activate, which could potentially destroy the universe if not fixed. Though it premiered during the middle of the show's final season, it serves as the canon Grand Finale to the original series.note
- Ben 10: Race Against Time (2007): An Alternate Universe Live-Action Adaptation that takes place shortly following the events of the original series. Ben must go up against a new foe named Eon, who is after the Omnitrix in order to start an Alien Invasion.
- Ben 10: Alien Swarm (2009): The second live-action adaptation, this time based on Alien Force. Ben, Gwen and Kevin find themselves caught up in a conspiracy involving alien nanochips that hold a dark secret that could leave to a world takeover. Unlike the previous live-action film, this one is canon and is referenced directly during the events of Alien Force.
- Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens (2012): A CGI film set shortly after the events of the original series and later made canon to the original continuity. The Omnitrix once more gets damaged during a fight and must be repaired. While handling the problem of the malfunctioning watch causing Ben to randomly teleport around the world, the characters must also deal with a bounty hunter that wants the device.
- Ben 10 Versus the Universe: The Movie (2020): A movie set in the 2016 continuity. Ben goes to try and take on Vilgax in space but ends up stranded in the Null Void. As he tries to find a way out, Gwen and Max must team with Kevin to protect the world during his absence.
- Ben 10/Generator Rex: Heroes United (2011): An Intercontinuity Crossover with Generator Rex set during Ultimate Alien. While in pursuit of an alien, Ben is accidentally warped to Rex's universe and inadvertently gets involved with Rex to fight a strange nanite creature known as Alpha.
- Crossover Nexus (2018): A special crossover episode of OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes that involved 2016 Ben as one of the main characters in which he joins KO, Garnet, and Raven in saving CN City from destruction by a supervillain.
- Ben 10,010 (2021): In the distant future, the Earth is under attack by an alien horde called the Xerge. Gwen, now President of the United States, must track down and persuade her cousin to come out of retirement to help fight back the threat.
- Ben Gen 10 (2021): When a series of misunderstandings between Ben and a young Generator Rex result in the Omnitrix shorting out and infecting people across the Eastern United States with alien DNA, they must try to work together and solve the crisis before Providence utilizes their own deadly solution.
- Alien X-tinction (2021): When the Tennysons are attacked by a villainous, dimension-hopping Ben using Alien X to cause havok, they must work together with versions of themselves from across the omniverse, including the classic continuity, to combat the threat.
- Cartoon Network Action Packs (2006-2012): Strips collected as Ben 10 Classics
- Cartoon Network Fusionfall (2007)
- Ben 10 Alien Force: Doom Dimension (2010)
- Ben 10: Ultimate Alien (2010)
- Ben 10: Omniverse - No Laughing Matter (2012)
- Ben 10 Omniverse (2013-2014)
- Ben 10 (2013-2014)
- Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War (2014)
- Ben 10: The Truth Is Out There (2019)
- Ben 10: For Science (2019)
- Ben 10: Mecha Madness (2019)
- Ben 10: The Manchester Mystery (2020)
- Ben 10: The Creature From Serenity Shore (2020)
- Ben 10: Protector of Earth: Ben, Gwen and Max deal with their usual rogues gallery while trying to reclaim the Omnitrix's aliens from a space mosquito. (Platforms: PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and Wii)
- Ben 10 Alien Force: An original story of Ben, Gwen and Kevin being recruited by a undercover Plumber to retrieve parts for a dangerous weapon. Naturally, all isn't what it seems. (Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP, and Nintendo DS)
- Ben 10 Alien Force Vilgax Attacks: Pretty much what is says on the tin. Ben and the group take on Vilgax once more. (Platforms: Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii and Xbox 360)
- Ben 10 Alien Force: Rise of Hex: Once again the title tells you everything you need to know. (Platforms: Wii via WiiWare and Xbox 360 via Xbox Live).
- Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Cosmic Destruction: Ben, Gwen and Kevin find themselves hopping the globe to stop different menaces from destroying the cites. (Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and Wii)
- Ben 10: Galactic Racing: A Mario Kart-style racer. (Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Play Station Vita)
- Ben 10: Omniverse: Ben's Omnitrix goes haywire once more and warps Ben and Rook into the past where they meet the former's 11-year old self. When Malware gets his hands on Rook's weapon and creates an alternate future, the three set out to stop him and fix the damage. (Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U (one of its launch titles in fact).
- Ben 10: Omniverse 2: Ben once again takes on the Incurseans. (Platforms: PlayStation 3, Wii, WiiU, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS)
- Ben 10: Up to Speed: The player will play as Ben and his alien forms to collect some collectibles scattered around the levels while avoiding any obstacles and enemies similar to Temple Run. (Platforms: iOS)
- Ben 10 Power Trip (2020) The Tennyson family go on an European holiday until it is interrupted by Hex awakening four mysterious crystals and summoning monsters from the Void. (Platforms: PlayStation 4 , Switch, Xbox One and PC)
Tropes across the franchise:
- Bizarre Alien Biology: All over the place.
- Just for starters, there's Diamondhead, who's made entirely of living crystal, which it can fire as a weapon and shape into weapons and tools. Or Heatblast, the one that's on fire...and catching a cold turns it to ice. Then there's Ghostfreak, whose species is weird even by alien standards.
- As if things can't get weirder, humanity is an example of bizarre biology in the Ben 10-verse; we're the only species in the galaxy that can interbreed with pretty much any other species. No one knows how or why, but it happens. This includes Pyronites (Heatblast's species), who are on fire and whose home world is a freaking sun. Except not really, the guy who was supposedly half-Pyronite eventually turned out to be a full-blooded human who was subjected to horrific experimentation to give him the powers of a Pyronite, then was given Fake Memories of his parentage to keep said experimentation a secret, presumably because the writers eventually realized the glaringly obvious obstacle preventing a human from properly getting it on with a Pyronite.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Vulpimancers have been shown to come in three different colors; light blue, dark pink, or orange.
- Clock of Power:
- Averted with the superpowered Omnitrix. While it is frequently called a watch, the alien artifact only loosely resembles one, and it's origins have nothing at all to do with telling time.
- Played straight with Sublimino. His pocket watch can hypnotize people, and turn them into sleeper agents to commit crimes on his behalf. In his debut appearance he tries to channel the watch's power through a giant clocktower to expand it's potential reach immensely.
- Ben 10: Alien Force: Paradox's Chrononavigator takes the shape of a fob watch, and helps him traverse the multiverse. It's design is later updated to resemble a gauntlet instead.
- Color Motif: The colors of each series' logo are black, green, and white.
- Emerald Power: The Omnitrix gives off a bright green glow whenever it does anything particularly powerful. Ben (and Gwen) himself has green eyes. His transformations happen in a flash of green light. Some the alien heroes (Stinkfly, Wildvine, and Upchuck) are green themselves. The trope only increased as the story went on. Starting with Alien Force, the Omnitrix itself becomes green, all the alien forms have green eyes, and Ben himself dresses in green. His alien forms do too, starting with Omniverse. It's eventually revealed his favorite color is green (like we didn't guess). He could generally rival Green Lantern at this point. Green is also the favorite color of the green-eyed Azmuth, the supergenius creator of the Omnitrix among other inventions.
- Loads and Loads of Races: Too many to count, really.
- Randomized Transformation:
Ben: You know what, Omnitrix. I give up. Surprise me.
- The Omnitrix was designed to allow its wearer to transform into any of the aliens it possesses a DNA sample of. However, while it was intended for the user to have full control over which alien they become, various factors throughout the different series have resulted in the Omnitrix transforming its current user, Ben Tennyson, into an alien other than the one he selected, with no way of predicting which one he will actually turn into. At times, this has resulted in Ben not even bothering to pick a form and just activating the Omnitrix while hoping for the best.
- The Omnitrix also has a Randomizer function to do this deliberately. However, in addition to not having control over the alien selected, Ben also can't control how long the transformation lasts before he is switched to a different form.
- Sapping the Shapeshifter: Ben has the ability to turn into multiple powerful alien species thanks to the Omnitrix. However, Ben can only remain transformed for a limited period of time, and an opponent could theoretically keep him fighting or restrained until the transformation gives out, returning him to a considerably weaker human form.
- Supernatural Hotspot Town: In Original Continuity, Bellwood is considered to be the main target of aliens, supervillains, magic users, supernatural creatures from another universe, etc. It could be blamed on the fact that it's protagonists' main base and hometown ... before it was revealed in Ben 10: Omniverse that it's capital of Masquerade on the Earth for centuries (the Undertown - the biggest city of aliens on the Earth is built directly under Bellwood).
- Transformation Discretion Shot: While Ben changing into his alien forms involves a Stock Footage Transformation Sequence equally frequently will we see Ben simply engulfed in a flash of light from the Omnitrix while he transforms as well as other instances where we see characters around him bathed in the aforementioned flash of light. In some cases, the transformation isn't seen at all.
- Wall Crawl: Several of Ben's alien forms including Grey Matter, Brainstorm, Spidermonkey and Ball Weevil can scuttle along walls and vertical surfaces using insectoid legs or mucus.