Weekend Animation Round-up: Ben 10: Omniverse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Clone Wars

The latest in our Saturday-morning animation round-up is here! I’ve added Ben 10: Omniverse for the time being, what with the DC Nation shows being off until January. I’ll also add Adventure Time when its new season begins in November, which will expand this feature beyond just Saturday mornings. But we’ll still considering other ideas, so feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.


Ben 10: Omniverse S01E06: “It Was Them”

I’ve watched the Ben 10 franchise off and on for a little while, most notably catching episodes before Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. It’s always been a tad impenetrable only because I’m not well-versed in the shows' characters or mythology. But the Omniverse iteration provides some relief from that, making it an easier way to get into the series than it otherwise might be.

At the same time, Omniverse is advancing the story for long-time fans. Ben’s ready to be a solo superhero now, but he's still paired with a partner (the not terribly cleverly named Rook) in a fight against various aliens, mutants, and what have you. And “It Was Them” extended this notion even further with Ben’s decision that an old foe, the mad scientist archetype Dr. Animo, was behind the recent random attacks (like the giant slug assault that opened the episode). And so there was some lampshade-hanging on certain conventions (like the ease with which imprisoned villains escape supposedly secure super-prisons) while still completely embracing them as Ben and Rook tracked and stopped Dr. Animo’s giant ant plan.

The show has created a tension between Ben’s past as a sort of junior hero and his past successes, and his struggle to come to grips with being a mature young man and a new sort of hero. And his past is haunting him, as we saw with Animo’s plan in this episode or the Megawhatts in “A Jolt from the Past.” It’s an odd, but interesting, idea for a show to tackle the notion of 16-year-old facing off against his past in this way (most 16-year-olds would just be focused on the present).

And since he’s still lurking in the shadows, Khyber may be benefiting from this. Ben’s so sure that his old foes want a rematch that he’s not conceiving of a new threat. It’ll be a hard lesson to learn when Khyber makes his big move.


Star Wars: The Clone Wars S05E04: “The Soft War”

So it appears that I got ahead of myself last week when I discussed how the rebels of Onderon weren’t really taking the populace into account with their attacks. It turns out they were just waiting for this week. But I’m still not entirely convinced that this chain of episodes has made a convincing case in the PR battle for control of Onderon.

But I think a lot of this rests on the fact that “The Soft War” may've been the weakest episode of the season thus far (admittedly we’re only on Episode 4). It relied on a previously unseen character—hi, General Tandin!—for the pivoting of the action, and that’s never the most interesting or exciting development. There wasn't much suspense about the role Tandin had to play in the episode, so most of the episode was simply spent waiting for it to reach its inevitable conclusion.

The strange bit that stood out for me was how Dendup didn’t seem thrilled with the insurgency Steela and company were perpetuating. I appreciated the rationale that he wasn’t going to remain neutral in this civil war since he believed both factions, the Republic and the Confederacy, to be corrupt institutions, but it just seems odd for him to remain... almost divided about the issue (though the presence of Jedi in the ranks seemed to brighten his mood) of rebelling against Rash and the Separatist forces.

We have one more episode left in this particular arc, and I’m ready for it reach its conclusion.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles S01E04: “I Think His Name Is Baxter Stockman”

Baxter Stockman is an iconic Turtles character. I know him best from the 1987 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where he was a goofy and belittled (and white) scientist who was turned into a mutant fly after Shredder got fed up with the failures of Stockman’s Mouser robots. In the comics and the 2003 animated series, Stockman was a black man, still used the Mouser robots, but also became a cyborg (he turned into other things, too, in the 2003 series; it was a very grim go-round for the character).

This series sticks closer to the comics and the 2003 incarnation but blends in the dweeby loser aspect of the character from the 1987 version. Here, Stockman’s a loser who was fired for pouring toner on top of the copier—so he constructed a robotic battle suit to try to get revenge. His first suit was a wash, and the turtles easily defeated him, even going so far as to pop the guy in a dumpster.

After Stockman took advantage of the Tpod, the AI-based music player that Donnie rigged up, Stockman got himself a deadly robotic suit and properly began his rampage (his return to his office, and the sudden lack of fear among his old co-workers, was the episode’s brief highlight). The episode faltered from that point on as the (groan) Stockmanpod grew to resemble just a big toaster with a... mouth (?) that looked like the mouth of a Mouser (the Mouser head still made an appreciated appearance).

This episode was just dull. The Stockmanpod’s design didn’t stir up much excitement, and the climactic battle was kind of silly (the first battle was decent). I mean, Stockman was defeated by shoving a beehive (bringing back the unfunny bit of physical comedy from the start of the episode) in his viewport. That was lazy—this battlesuit AI can do all sorts of crazy things, but it can’t put a translucent plate over Stockman’s face?

I imagine Stockman will be back, somehow, so I’ll be curious to see where the show goes with him from here. He’s clearly not very smart (he doesn’t understand toner, after all) and he doesn’t have his suit any longer. So what’s next for him?


What'd you think of this week's episodes?

Comments (21)
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what Jacqueline said I am blown away that a mother can make $9074 in one month on the computer. have you read this link R e d 9 7.c o m
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Agreed that it was a very weak episode of the TMNT. The worst part is that Baxter Stockman is a very iconic character and based upon information about the new show he will be reappearing in an episode entitled Mouserthon. The problem is up to this point he has been shown in be a buffoon, even his battle armor from the beginning was terrible and he was only made a threat by the T-Pod, which in and of itself was a terrible plot device. I don't know if there is any coming back from how low they placed the bar for Baxter in the new show.



I'm also glad that someone else was bothered by the bees. I mean when he was hit with steaming how pizza it had no effect on him but to obscure his vision long enough for the Turtles to escape. One would think getting hit in the face with hot cheese would the effect on a person to a point where they put a screen over their exposed face. Plus the whole lesson of attacking the man inside I thought they would retread the whole insult thing they did to Raph two weeks ago not just hit him with bees.



Whatever next week we get the new version of Metalhead and I'm not sure how you could screw up a giant turtle shaped robot.
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Even though I'm just as upset about last Saturday's schedule scandal on CN, I've still got TLTS and BTO to enjoy until then.



If SD!MI returns, CN should show the last 11 episodes on Friday before Cartoon Planet. That would be so crash! Sorry, just felt like using Bart Allen's slangs.
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Oh, I forgot to mention, but I found it interesting that Clone Wars had 2 significant Transformers actors this week, both of the Generals. General Kalani, the droid, was voiced by Gregg Berger who's the original Grimlock (most recently returning to the role in the Fall of Cybertron video game), and General Tandin was voiced by David Kaye who was both Megatron in Beast Wars and Optimus Prime in TF:Animated.

Kaye's voice work on this episode was driving me nuts because I knew it was someone I recognized but couldn't quite lock on to who it was.
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I don't know if it's on Amazon the way Avengers is, but if it is, I would strongly suggest checking out Disney XD's Tron Uprising, it just made its return this week on Friday and it's a pretty mature show with an outstanding look.

Clone Wars, I don't think you got ahead of yourself, I think the writers got lazy by being overly pick-n-choose with what elements they wanted to put where, and holding their concern for others back until the 3rd episode of an arc was unwise as it left these character unikeable and unbelievable.

I would disagree that this is the weakest episode of the season, there at least has been a story and characters to build and follow, there's been value growing in this arc and it's starting to pay off here (even if the writing here was sloppy, I mean waiting until basically the last nano-second to take action and then to be slow to action and STILL win the day?), compare this to the empty, soulless season premiere with the meaningless Darth Maul stuff and I think this holds up better unless all you're looking for is shootin' and lightsaberin' with no weight behind any of it. Yes, I'm defending The Soft War, despite feeling it was a totally sloppy episode. You are right that they put too much weight onto General Tandin's shoulders, but I'd argue that they at least did a good job making him a rounded character in this episode, he has a character arc and a believable reason for a change of heart. Also, this episode could have worked without him but it wouldn't have meant as much.

Dendup, easily one of the most annoying names they've ever had to say on the show, definitely was an odd one being on the fence knowing his death was coming, but I almost felt a spark of belief in his choices, he wanted to send a specific message to the people about appropriateness of his important decision.

Who has a public execution 10 feet from the people? Who uses a guillotine that's powered by IG-100 bodyguard droids' staff weapons? Cheesy!
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So no Young Justice 211 anywhere... so sad :(
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I haven't been able to find it either. Was there an episode this week? (It seems very strange to have the show off the air for months and then only show 2-3 episodes before taking another break).
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Fuck Cartoon Network!

Young Justice and Green Lantern: TAS are the best animated series that are airing, along with Scooby Doo Mystery Inc. I'm sure that Scooby Doo MY will be postponed until next year.
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2003 tmnt series was the best. They should have renewed it instead of recreating it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Corporate owndership issues, no doubt. Nick didn't want its incarnation to be confused with the 4Kids & Mirage version and dilute its brand.
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I haven't been able to get through the fourth season of The Clone Wars yet. I just think it still has some of the problems I had with the prequel movies, (And there are many) I find it too political, and while the characterizations have gotten better than in the movies, I still don't really care about what happens. Someday, I'll force my way through it.

Also, isn't there still one episode left of the fourth season of Adventure Time? This season has been great and I keep wondering why there hasn't been a TV.com double feature reviewing it and Regular Show. Oh well, guess it won't be long until you start reviewing it.

Oh, and when will the second half of the second season of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated air? Will that be reviewed? Because that's an awesome show, I was really surprised when I found out about it being a continuous story, with love aspects, references to old Hanna Barbara cartoons and random stuff like The Velvet Underground and stuff like that.
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I find the political aspect to be one of the more interesting ones. I mean, if a show targeted at kids wants to deal with the semantic and political differences between terrorism and rebellion, even in a un-nuanced way, I think there's some value to that.

I think there's a couple of new episodes left on Adventure Time, but I'm WAY behind, so need time to catch up + wanted a fresh-ish slate on it. I doubt Regular Show will appear (I haven't liked it too much).

I haven't see anything about when Mystery, Inc.'s second half will air. Since the first half ended in August(?) it'll probably be sometime in December this year or early-ish next year based on their normal hiatus schedules.
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The politics of the prequels is too muddled and boring, I think. You look at the politics of the Original Trilogy and it's not only clear as a bell, but most of it is left off the page so that it merely bolsters existing characters rather than trying to make new ones. There's nothing exciting about watching people vote on a referendum, while it's exciting to watch people struggle against the consequences of those choices.

Also, I feel like the prequel-era material has made its politics very one-sided, very black & white, yet spent way too much time trying to tell the other side of the coin. Watching Lux Bonteri's mother struggle to find good in the CIS only to have her killed by the evil Count Dooku is bland when we already knew how evil he was. We get master manipulation of the "good guys" yet hamfisted ridiculousness of the "bad guys".
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I agree with you about The Clone Wars. I thought it was ok at first but the prequel characters and settings are so bland and every episode looks and sounds the same. They need to wrap it up and move to a post-Return of the Jedi universe, with a different animation style. I thought this fan-made Star Wars anime was much more interesting than The Clone Wars http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmhdCRW2zPU
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For one of my Christmases, I had been asking for a Rat King or Shredder figure all holiday season (which started after my birthday in July). I ended up getting a Baxter Stockman. From then on I knew my parents weren't trying hard enough.
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I dunno. The Stockman figure was pretty cool. It had those detachable claws/wings, right?
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This is a so-so arc for Clone wars. I tend to like the oppressed people rising up with rebels leading it all. But doubt anything can come close with that Season 3 arc with Anakin being tested by good and evil. Forget all the particular names of those beings but that was some of the best Star Wars ever. I'm always surprised how Yoda isn't a bigger presence in Clone Wars over these seasons. And Mace Windu I think had one featured ep. so far? I love Ventris and glad she pops up from time to time.
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Heh, there was a Baxter episode of the 2003 series that was so dark it was never aired (it made it to DVD though), involving his body crumbling to bits. By the end of the series, he was literally a brain and an eyeball in a jar (yet still alive).
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"Insane in the Membrane" was the title of that episode, and yeah when you see things like Baxter ripping his human skin off like that scene in "The Poltergeist", Cutting his finger off and getting his Jaw dislocated as a skeletol Zombie....things aren't gonna land well with Kids 6-12!



Really good episode though....2K3 Series kicked ass! This new TMNT is pretty good also.
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Dull? really...



I thought the TMNT Episode was great. You didn't mention the great humor besides, the action was good like when they all charged towards the StockmanPod at the end was epic and the beehive was thrown at Baxters face to teach the moral which you overlooked!



Anyways, the 2003 Baxter Stockman was and still is the best because of his many appearances (Some were.....a little too dark) and his character developement. I'm sure if we give it time, the 2012 Baxter can offer some of that as well :)
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No humor overlooked since apart from Stockman trying to think up names for himself, I didn't find the episode funny. *shrug*

I didn't feel like there was much of a moral here in this episode; it felt vaguely like bullying, actually.
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