BY MUNYA VOMO
When you grow up watching a cartoon series, there comes a time when you quit the show because it just doesn’t make sense anymore. We have to grow up and when that happens, it becomes apparent that The Smurfs isn’t that cute anymore. Men can still wear Voltron T-shirts, but that’s just clinging to the beautiful yet distant memory of a past that’s long gone.
This is the theme the last Toy Story film exploited. The toys were being given away because their owner was all grown up and in the next stage of his life. So what’s the solution to such a heart-wrenching reality?
Someone came up with a brilliant idea: grow the cartoon characters with their audiences. This worked well with the Archie comics. At first, it did not make sense, but when those who grew up with Archie heard that he, too, was moving from high school to college, it made it okay for them to hang on to the title for a bit longer.
The same is happening to Ben 10 who will be re-imagined from next month. That is big news, but what is bigger is that African kids will see the new Ben10 before those in the US, who will only see it in April next year.
“Our African audience last saw 10-year old Ben Tennyson in 2006 and we decided to transition him back to the age of a goofy, unconventional kid-hero to target a new audience. Ben will still transform into his signature mature aliens and fight all the villains that once plagued the city, but this time he is more modern and relatable with younger fans, but also familiar to our die-hard fans,” said Tramm Wigzell, Vice-President, Multi-Platform at Cartoon Network.
“Ben is a character that grew with his audience, making him one of the most relatable cartoon heroes to feature on the channel and now we are rewinding the clock to captivate the next, new generation of Ben10 viewers,” he added.
This is how it will work: Ben introduces his cousin, Gwen, and Grandpa Max as they go on holiday. Ben stumbles on a magical watch that changes him into several aliens that all have superpowers.
“The show has always been about an average kid who finds himself in extraordinary circumstances – boy, girl, no matter your age, or cultural background, Ben 10 is relatable because anyone can be a hero in their own right, and save the day if they believe in themselves. We think Ben’s character is timeless so it felt like the right time to bring him back. Our young African audience can now look forward to a new show, with new scripts, a new look and feel, in order to build a new generation of Ben 10 fans,” said Wigzell.
Ben 10, from October 10, Cartoon Network (DStv channel 301), 5.05pm.