Moon Prism Power! Guardians unite! Winx! The magical girl concept is a blast from the past, so when Netflix announced they were going to do a live-action adaptation of the 2004 Nickelodeon show Winx Club, now called Fate: The Winx Saga, it was met with warm nostalgia but also high expectations. Sadly, instead of the colourful adventures and magical friendships that the original cartoon show became known for, Netflix copy and pasted the darker themes and colour palettes from Riverdale and Teen Wolf and called it a day.
In Nickelodeon’s Winx Club, the story follows Bloom who, upon discovering that she possesses the power of the dragon fire, moves to the Magix dimension to attend Alfea, the magic school for fairies. Bloom goes on to meet her friends, forming the Winx club, while also venturing out to discover her past and the origin of her powers. The show is iconic for its diverse cast, heart-warming friendships, and colourful fashion.
Needless to say, I grew up watching Winx Club, so the news of a live-action adaptation was for me a delight mixed with horror. Upon watching the show and noticing the more drastic changes that Netflix made, including the exclusion of Flora and Tecna, in addition to changing some of the original girls’ powers, I made an effort to accept that after all, it is an adaptation, so changes are bound to be made. However, when watching the six one-hour long episodes, I couldn’t shake the bitter realization that the show felt lacklustre. Nostalgia or not, Fate didn’t live up to its potential.
In comparison, the Netflix adaptation, despite following a similar storyline, includes the addition of zombie-monsters and a mystery surrounding them and Bloom. Fate also features more mature content such as sex, drugs, violence, and the occasional gore, which makes it unavoidable to notice how the fun and exciting atmosphere of the original show has been replaced by an edgier tone, accompanied by the 16+ rating.
To Fate’s credit, the pacing was acceptable. The dark academia vibe was suited to the tone they went with, and despite info-dumping and awkward dialogue the show managed to keep the suspense with intriguing cliff-hangers.
However, when you have a setting of multiple magic dimensions including what Fate calls the “Otherworld”, I think it becomes a clear example of the efforts that went into the worldbuilding with fairies from other planets using Earth’s Instagram and the pop culture references all Earth related. The first episode where Bloom’s father retorts to her reference to Lord of the Flies with “Ladies of the Flies, sweetie. Don’t be sexist” accurately depicts the fake wokeness that lingers throughout the show and that seems to have infested Netflix screenwriting room. In addition to the astonishingly few occasions of magic display, hinting at the studio’s minimal special effects budget, the show’s “plot twist” in the final episode was undermined by underwhelming character development, rendering the catharsis of the moment mediocre. It was just too little, too late.
Overall, if you enjoy darker storylines and aren’t too picky about special effects, then Fate: The Winx Saga might be an enjoyable watch. However, if you want a show full of magic, adventure and better character development, then shout Winx! and watch this adaptation transform back into the lovely Winx Club.
Series Showrunner: Brian Young
As seen on: Netflix
Born in Sweden, Matilda moved to London in 2018 as a newly graduated economics student from the Gothenburg Business School, to study English Literature. An unexpected move, but realising that rather than crunching numbers, she would like to word vomit stories, it was an obvious choice. Expanding her creative portfolio during her degree at LSBU, Matilda has developed an interest in novel and scriptwriting. Interested in the unexpected and experimentation, her signature is putting rats in her creative work, so when reading her stories, be on the lookout for rats!