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YMMV / Ben 10: Alien Force

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  • Accidental Innuendo: The show has Kevin uttering the line "I don't know if I can pound your Grandma!" He means he's unsure he can fight her... but still.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Gwen's and Kevin's crushes on each other are just their way of repressing that they're both attracted to Ben. Both attractions are at least partially taboo — Gwen's because Ben's her cousin, Kevin's because Ben's a guy — so the only solution is to try to force themselves to fall (however improperly) for each other. Because they're both lying to themselves and each other, they're both getting their signals returned, which is encouraging the charade. This explains why Gwen tells Kevin to ask her out without wanting him to, why Kevin tries to make himself appear attracted to Gwen without making a move, and why they both show Ben so much more subtle and genuine affection.
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    • Is Vilgax a Noble Demon and a benevolent ruler on Vilgaxia who genuinely cares about his people, or just a pragmatic villain who keeps a good image to get their support? Was he always like this, or did he change during the five years between this show and the Original Series?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Despite Grandpa Max apparently dying in season one, Ben and Gwen's fathers don't seem to be in particular mourning over him. To be fair, they're only seen in one episode apiece, but one such episode ("What Are Little Girls Made Of") does reference what happened to Max quite a bit.
    • Also, right after he seemed to die, Ben and Gwen immediately composed themselves. No tears, no anguish, no nothing.
  • Badass Decay: Kevin and Vilgax suffer a lot of this. The general consensus is that Kevin got better in season three after he received a new mutation (something that is even lampshaded in "Time Heals"), but Vilgax (ironically only featuring in that very season) never recaptured his former glory.
  • Base-Breaking Character: The ten new aliens Ben gets at the beginning of the show started out as this, due to most of them having powers that were essentially combinations of previous forms. Some fans saw them as blatant and lazy rip-offs, other perceived it as a clever way to have Ben get new aliens while still retaining a set of powers they were familiar with, and believed the powers had been merged creatively enough to make them interesting. However, with time they have come to be accepted by the fandom (some like Big Chill even becoming Ensemble Darkhorses), and those who still criticize them as rip-off now mostly consists of really hard-core Original Series fans.
  • Broken Base:
    • The series as a whole started the split in the fanbase that would keep getting worse in the following sequels. While a lot of fans despised the show (see Contested Sequel) and swear by the Original Series only, some of them actually loved the Darker and Edgier take and found it an improvement for maturing the main characters (particularly Ben).
    • The retcon about Gwen inheriting her affinity with magic/mana-manipulation powers from her grandmother being an alien. Some saw it as a pointless retcon taking away diversity from the team (based on the idea aliens should be Ben's gimmick), others think it added more background to the character and finally gave an explicaton why she was inexplicably so good at magic back when she was 10. Alternatively, others feel the idea was good, but poorly executed due to making it unclear if Gwen's powers were really magic, fully aliens or both.
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    • To a lesser extent, there is a similar split about Kevin being half-alien and his father being a Plumber who was Max's partner, though the reasons are slightly different than the one above. While the problem about Kevin being half-alien rather than mutant and removing the diversity remains, fans against this change are mostly complaining it contradicts both the franchise's chronology and Kevin's initial backstory. Those who support it feel it gives a bit more depth and motivations to the character. This would eventually lead to an equally controversial retcon in Omniverse.
    • As a whole, Kevin's Heel–Face Turn; some fans felt he worked better as a villain, complain this took away one of Ben's coolest and most iconic Arch-Enemies, and feel the change in his personality was forced. Others like him as a protagonist for his snarky humor, and think it developed him from a generic Ax-Crazy villain to a more interesting protagonist.
    • While most fans agree about Vilgax suffering Villain Decay, there is some debate around the fact he is implied to be a benevolent ruler on his planet, and the scene of him rescuing a little girl from his species (who then hugs him). Some consider this gives him Hidden Depths and makes him potentially more interesting than a bland Evil Overlord, other see it as yet another instance of him being made less scary, and feels it seems out of character for a guy who once blew up a planet just to test his new weapon.
    • Gwen's design is a decisive matter. There are criticisms that she doesn't look like Gwen while others think it worked well. Her having long hair is also debated against.
  • Character Rerailment: Vilgax's characterization and voice (though the voice was done by John DiMaggio rather than by Steve Blum) were a bit closer to how he was originally portrayed in the original series in the video game Vilgax Attacks!.
  • Contested Sequel: Quite a few people treat Alien Force as this and thus Fanon Discontinuity, mostly because of stuff like making Gwen's magic powers into alien energy manipulation and that a lot of things in Alien Force don't match up and even ignores stuff established in the original series. Still, some fans did appreciate this sequel, as noted in Broken Base above.
  • Crazy Awesome: Rath practically runs on this trope.
  • Creepy Awesome: Darkstar was complete Nightmare Fuel in his first episodes, and it definitely played in his favor to make him popular.
    • To a lesser extent, Big Chill.
    • Ax-Crazy Ben in "Above and Beyond". It was all an act, but it's amazing how Ben can make a surprisingly good villain.
  • Complete Monster: Vilgax. See that page for details.
  • Creepy Cute: Big Chill could be considered this. While his Reaper-like mannerisms and monotone voice do tend to be rather disturbing to some, it is mostly offset by the eerily beautiful color scheme of his wings and body, as well as an almost feminine, slender appearance.
    • His offspring are undisputedly, undeniably this. All together now: D'AWWWWWWW!
    • Surprisingly, in the episode Primus, Vilgax can qualify as this. He goes around as Goop and sounds excited, relieved and satisfied at the same time (which is normal considering it took him 5 years to finally get the Omnitrix from Ben and use it, not that he gets to keep it anyway).
  • Critical Backlash: While the show is by no mean flawless, it's definitely not as bad as Original Series fans tend to describe it. The first two seasons, especially the second, are considered quite good of their own by a lot of fans.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Jarret eating the Tiffin? Not funny. Kevin fainting after seeing this? Hilarious.
    • In the same episode, Kevin implying that Argit not only actually sold his grandmother, but got a top price from her.
  • Damsel Scrappy: Julie is perceived like this by some fans, but it's mostly an undeserved reputation caused by What Measure Is a Non-Badass?; she actually got kidnapped only thrice over the course of five seasons, which is fairly low as far as Super-Heroes' Love Interests go, and, by the time she got Ship, she was perfectly capable of defending herself of her own.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Albedo definitely has sympathetic motivations, as he essentially just wants to get out of what he sees as a Blessed with Suck situation, and this, combined with his unintentional Adorkable attitude and his cute design as an albino version of Ben, understandably makes him highly popular among fangirls, who tends to emphasize these aspects- thus forgetting his nastier aspects, thus as his huge ego and arrogance, blatant Fantastic Racism toward humans, willingness to hurt innocents or work with Vilgax in order to get out of his situation, and of course the fact he got himself in his current situation to begin with.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • You like Rath, dontcha? Everyone likes Rath! You know what happens to people who don't like Rath? LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, GUYS WHO DON'T LIKE RATH!!!
    • Big Chill also is fairly popular amongst fans for his cool design, similarities to Ghostfreak, and good voice.
    • Swampfire, who was Wildvine and Heatblast combined with an arsenal of powers and impressive design, was very popular with fans.
    • Albedo, who rarely appears (he only had three appearances in this show and two more in Ultimate Alien), is very popular among the fans, as mentioned previously. In fact, he was so popular that Omniverse raised him to Big Bad rank for an entire arc.
    • And let's not forget the time-travelling Doctor Expy Paradox, who even most of the Alien Force haters actually love.
    • It's hard to find anyone who doesn't like Ship, given that he's both insanely powerful and absolutely adorable. His creator/owner Baz-El, is no slouch either.
    • Darkstar, one of the scariest villains in the series and an Expy of Raven and Doctor Doom.
    • Fangirls and the furry fandom consider Argit as this.
    • Magister Labrid. Despite only appearing in the pilot and dying at the end of the episode, he's still quite popular and fondly remembered.
    • Reinrassic III; granted, he is an important character, but he only had three appearances in the whole show. Yet you would be surprised to see how many fanarts there are of him.
  • Evil Is Cool: Not as many cases as the Original Series, but the show still gave some fairly memorable villains. The Highbreed, Darkstar, and Albedo come in mind.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Charmcaster is still both evil and very beautiful. Ben and Kevin even lampshade it in the episode she appears in.
    Ben: Was she cute?
    Kevin: More than cute; hot!
    • Michael Morningstar too, when he doesn't have his zombified face.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: If you haven't already noticed that there's a large fanbase who hates Kevin/Gwen and wants Ben/Gwen, this is probably the first time you've ever visited TV Tropes (though oddly, Ben/Julie isn't quite as reviled after Julie got Rescued from the Scrappy Heap).
    • There are quite a few who want Kevin/Ben as well.
  • Fanfic Fuel: The whole Plumber's Kid is based around the idea that a lot of alien-human hybrids exist on Earth due to former Plumbers mating with humans. This makes for an excellent justification for fans to create their own half-alien Original Characters.
  • Foe Yay: Gwen with both Darkstar and Charmcaster. Ben and Kevin qualify as "Former Foe Yay".
  • Franchise Original Sin: While the overall story arc was well-received, there were many Filler episodes often seen to the detriment of the story arc, some going at odds with the tone being established, but were able to be freely ignored if the viewer so pleased. These problems (too much Filler and goofy plots) have since become one of the biggest criticisms of Omniverse, where later arcs have so much filler that the story arcs are shorter and developments become abrupt due to it.
  • Fridge Horror: Imagine being Alien X. You're all-powerful, capable of bending time and space... and unless the voices in your head agree to do anything, you're stuck in place, forced to stand by while horrible things happen.
  • Genius Bonus: The Tiffin. If you know what the term means then it's no surprise that he's going to be eaten.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: While the show is seen as a Contested Sequel in USA, it generally was a much bigger hit than its predecessor in the United Kingdom.
  • Growing the Beard: The first season didn't really have a clear story arc after the first six episodes, and although the remaining episodes were mostly good quality and added characterization, it was easy to forget what the point of the series was to begin with. The second season improved things a bit, making elements from previous episodes matter, giving a slightly clearer progression, rescuing Julie from the Scrappy Heap, and actually concluding in a real finale. Sadly, the third season didn't work that well.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Nearly averted with Max, whom they were planning on killing off, but decided not to.
  • Memetic Loser: As noted in Never Live It Down, Vilgax is constantly seen as a poor villain and a joke in this series due to the Villain Decay he suffered. While said decay is real, it's nowhere near the level fans tend to attribute him - he's still a major threat and nowhere close to an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, he's just not on the same level he was in the original series.
  • Memetic Badass: Rath himself. List of achievements from his first appearance alone: Defeating The Vreedle Brothers and the other aliens they hired (Alongside Gwen and Kevin), Jumped into space without a suit and took down the entire crew of an Incursean Battle Ship alone (Sans The Commander), Defeated Vulcanus, Dove head first into Jarett's mouth to retrieve The Tiffin that he (Jarett) ate, Threatened Jarett when he tried to declare war., and finally, threatened the Lewodan Ambassador for tricking him (Ben/Rath). And he just keeps getting more awesome with each appearance.
  • Memetic Molester: Darkstar could almost rival Slade in this department. Really, you could make reasonable arguments that fanfics depicting him as a rapist are not that Out of Character with him, especially since he canonically is a stalker toward Gwen.
    • "No juice for you!"
    • Also, Rath's "Lemme tell yah something" catchphrase have become quite popular.
  • Moment of Awesome: Rath diving into the giant Trigonesque alien to rescue the Tiffin and escaping by punching the guys teeth out from the inside and threatening to "knit [his] organs into a sweater" if he tries to retaliate.
  • Narm: Vilgax's so-called ultimate form? A giant green octopus. It’s sad because it could have been a great scene if not for limited efforts on the design and a fight that is not even seen on screen.
    • Ragnarok pretty much loses all credibility when it’s revealed the key he was looking for goes in his forehead.
    • The name "Plumber" worked in the Original Series because it was a codename used by a secret government organization. This show had them upgraded to Space Police whose existence was pretty much common knowledge in most of the galaxy, making the name lose its original context and as such now sound ridiculous and out of place.
  • Narm Charm: Ben's "Reason You Suck" Speech to Cash, as well as everyone clapping after it, was kind of cheesy, but it really shows how much Ben had grown as a character and many fans were under the impression Cash had been asking for this for a long time.
  • Never Live It Down: While Vilgax did suffer Diminishing Villain Threat in Alien Force, he still had his share of badass moments, including having a Curb-Stomp Battle with all the Plumbers Helpers and Max, defeating several of Ben's most powerful alien forms (Jetray, Big Chill, Humongousaur and Chromastone) one after the others, destroying a whole ship of his own to free Ghostfreak, having a decent fight with Ghostfreak (which he won), and actually getting the Omnitrix in the finale, which led to the show's Darkest Hour . However, the only things most fans retain about Vilgax in Alien Force are that he was following a Galactic Code (even through both the series and Word of God show he did it only out of Pragmatic Villainy), that he got defeated by Diamondhead, who couldn't even scratch him before, and that he had a ridiculous-looking "true form".
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Ben turning evil in "Above and Beyond". It was all a test put by Max in order to see if the kids could handle the Plumber Academy, but it was still pretty unsettling to see Ben act like a complete psychopath as he toys with the recruits.
      Manny: I know you're in here. Come out and show yourself! The others might be afraid, but I'm not scared of you!
      Ben: That's because the others are smarter than you.
    • Ben's transformation into Ghostfreak in "Ghost Town". Highlights include massive spikes emerging from his spine as he hunches over and his skull turning upside down as his mouth curls into a smile that would give the Joker nightmares.
  • Pandering to the Base: The third season is this to fans of the original series who didn't care for the more mature direction that Alien Force went with in the first two seasons. This... didn't work out quite well.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The DNAliens can use ID masks to disguise themselves as whoever they want in order to infiltrate and invade the humans right under their noses. They can literally be anyone, and “Max Out” reveals they can turn humans into more of them. They can basically be anyone and anywhere.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Gwevin (Kevin and Gwen), Benlie (Ben and Julie), Bevin (Ben and Kevin), Bwen (Ben and Gwen).
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The general opinion is that this happened to Julie midway through the second season thanks to the show developing her bound with Ship.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Gwen and Kevin, quite often. For one famous example, they forced an emotional subplot about the turmoil their relationship was going through due to Kevin's an episode with a central plot revolving around aliens that poop gold. To say there was some tonal whiplash is an understatement.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Julie was this for a while due to some fans perceiving her as a forced girlfriend for Ben, but got Rescued from the Scrappy Heap midway through the second season when she was given a purpose other than being a Satellite Love Interest with Ship's introduction. Though some fans consider she fell back into this territory later (See the Ultimate Alien YMMV page for more details)
    • There are many who don't like the Anodite species as a whole due to what is felt to be a pointless, as well as sometimes incredibly confusing Retcon, with the representatives of the species not being very well-regarded either.
    • Humungousaur is very unpopular in the fanbase due to Ben overusing him at the expense of the more popular aliens like Big Chill and Swampfire, while there are countless other Super Strength aliens who are more creative than him. It doesn't help that his one unique power (growing bigger) was seemingly forgotten after the Ultimate Alien episode, Video Games (from season 1 of that show).
    • Despite being a one-shot character, Probity suffers this treatment when she gives Ben a very bratty and spiteful message at the end of the episode that introduces her, followed by her lavishing herself in the discovery of riches. Although Ben did do her wrong, her behavior was just plain disgusting.
  • Seasonal Rot: The third and final season appears to be the least popular overall. Fans of the first two Alien Force seasons mostly dislike it because it took a lighter tone, focused on filler episodes rather than having a story arc, and started making Ben immature again while Original Series fans mostly dislike it due to bringing back Original Series villains only to give them completely different designs and/or characterizations, particularly inflicting a major case of Diminishing Villain Threat to Vilgax. It’s not that it's entirely hated though, as it did introduce us to RATH!!!
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • To Justice League Unlimited, courtesy of Dwayne McDuffie. Both are superhero shows with a mystery/thriller aspect to it that wouldn't be unseen in normal television.
    • To a lesser extent, it's also one to another DCAU show, Batman Beyond, due to the supervision of Glen Murakami and a similar tone like Justice League Unlimited (albeit Batman Beyond is darker).
  • Strangled by the Red String: Gwen and Kevin — The ship is dropped on the viewer with absolutely no set-up, no basis, no rationality in the very first episode. Kevin almost wrecking his precious car to tell Ben not to be rude to Gwen could be attributed to his Badass Decay, but "I'll follow you anywhere"? Were the writers afraid that if they took the time for some actual development, the show might be canceled before their new favorite couple actually got together?
  • Take That, Scrappy!: There are a few times where Ben tries to turn into Humungousaur, but it doesn't work out (like when he turned into Jetray instead in Season 3 Episode 3)
  • Tear Jerker: Magister Labrid's death in the pilot.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The whole "Form A Team Of Plumber Kids".
    • And even what they did of this plot didn't amount to much. For a series called Alien Force, the only major things thing they did was fight the Highbreed at the end of season two, get their asses handed to them by Vilgax at the beginning of season three and then got sent off to the Plumber Academy after "Above and Beyond". One must wonder what the point to this plot was when pretty much everything important amounted to Ben, Gwen and Kevin (and Max after season two) doing all the work.
    • Some people complained about things that are established, but are just dropped or otherwise not elaborated upon (why Ben decided to remove the Omnitrix, which could have tied into him wondering if his job as a hero is worth it, Kevin being Easily Forgiven and almost entirely trusted, among a few other things).
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Everything has been blamed to be this at least once, from Gwen's alien origins to the Omnitrix's new shape, without forgetting Vilgax's new design, the characters' change of personality (especially Kevin), and the list goes on.
  • Ugly Cute: Argit. There are some people out there (mostly fangirls and furries) who adore him.
    • He is adored by 4chan's /co/, mostly due to this trope.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Argit again. In-universe, he is despised by almost everyone, and seems to have people who want him dead in every part of the galaxy. On the fandom side, on the other hand, you would be surprised to see how many fans love him. Even Derrick J. Wyatt, the one in charge of Ben 10: Omniverse, admitted he thought Argit was the best thing that came out of the Alien Force/Ultimate Alien era.
  • Vindicated by History: At the time, the show was bashed by many original series fans for going against the goofier, episodic tone of the original series. Nowadays, it's widely agreed to have the best balance of humor and seriousness out of the franchise (whereas the following two shows both took things too far in one direction), and the more mature updates to Ben and Gwen was the thing they needed to finally grow up and take some responsibility, as well as becoming more likable in the process. And while not perfect, it wrapped up its plot threads fairly well and, (season three aside), was a consistent maturation for Ben's character compared to the widely-criticized Omniverse, which undid nearly all of Ben's serious qualities and made him more unlikable.

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