Following six girls navigating through a world of magic and drama, the animated early 2000s Winx Club series incorporated fairies and technology into the magical girl trope. With bright colors and clever costumes, the show was revered for its bold aesthetic and creative character designs. In their remake of the saga, Netflix combined the magic of Shadowhunters (and, of course, Clary Fray’s red hair) with a Riverdale-esque plot in hopes of reviving an iconic franchise and making a profit.
Without associating “Fate: The Winx Saga” with its source material, the concepts and themes of this show are not bad. While the premise is nothing special, the show delves into themes of trust, morality, truth, and the complexity of violent conflicts. Our five main characters (yes, they took one out) balance academics with the drama of a typical college experience. While they struggle to form friendships inside the bounds of the Alfea College for Fairies, the threat of horrible monsters named the Burned Ones still looms just beyond the school’s front lawn. With substantial development and a well-paced plot, this show could have crafted a suspense-filled narrative that conveys meaningful themes in the midst of drama.
Sadly, that is far from the case.
Though the ideas of “Fate: The Winx Saga” works well in theory, the execution is far from good. The biggest failure is the pacing. Many character development arcs are rushed and unreasonable; a prime example of this is Stella, the manipulative Regina George rip-off of the group who only faces major development when the plot requires her assistance. She starts off as a typical haughty, spoiled princess, but when the storyline needs her magic, she is sent to develop off-screen and comes back completely willing to help the main cast. Rushed character growth is not the only issue here, though; plot lines and conflicts disappear after only minutes, or, at most, another episode. Because of this unbalanced pacing, the air of suspense that could otherwise be developed throughout the show almost entirely disappears.
The problems with Netflix’s so-called “adaptation” of the Winx franchise starts with their casting. Terra, who was originally called Flora, changed from being of Hispanic descent in the original series to being white, making it feel like a minority group erasure. Additionally, Musa, who appears to be East Asian in the original series, was played by European actress Elisha Applebaum—this casting choice made me lose faith in this adaptation.
Attempting to appeal to their teenage audience, “Fate: The Winx Saga” forces itself into the contemporary model of a CW teen drama and puts an ungodly emphasis on how “different” and “edgy” the main characters are. The show tries too hard to force itself into the obligatory teenage angst mold. I know that adaptations are allowed their creative liberties, but when you stray this far, the show is no longer a remake but rather a disgrace to the original title. Perhaps Netflix wanted to incorporate darker themes into the show; however, the bright neon colors and costumes were the crux of Winx Club. “Euphoria” and “Promising Young Woman” both feature dark plots while having fun with fashion; who says Winx couldn’t do the same? If you want Riverdale 2.0, you might as well go remake The Hunger Games.
Though the overall potential for “Fate: The Winx Saga” still exists, the execution gives it no room for a redemption arc. Overall, this show gets a 2/5 for not only being bad as a stand-alone, but an even bigger disaster when seen as an adaptation. Watch it if you’ve got nothing better to do, but that time could easily be spent enjoying other more high-quality shows—I promise.