BY EMMA HUERTA
This article contains spoilers
Most of Gen Z remembers switching on the TV after school and viewing the vibrancy of both animated and live-action shows on beloved channels like Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network. “Winx Club” (2004) was one such show, complete with upbeat characters, exciting clashes between heroes and villains, bright colors and life lessons. Pretty representative of a kid’s lifestyle, right?
Now, most of Gen Z is stuck in the turmoil of everyday life while grappling with the transition to maturity. As we’ve evolved past the cartoon-watching childhood days, it seems as though our comfort entertainment has grown along with us, even through the high-spirits of “Winx Club.”
In fact, on January 22, 2021, the streaming platform Netflix released “Fate: The Winx Saga” (2021), a live-action remake of the original beloved cartoon show. However, this “TV-MA” version is far from something you’d find on Nickelodeon.
“Fate: The Winx Saga” follows main character Bloom (Abigail Cowen) as she navigates through the magical boarding school of Alfea. While Bloom tackles her own internal conflicts, namely with her uncontrollable fire powers and parental pressures, she clashes with her experienced roommates and immediately sparks a love interest with the main “hottie” on campus, Sky (Danny Griffin). This is all happening with an additional external conflict, as per usual, since the fairy Otherworld is (apparently yet again) threatened by villainous creatures called The Burned Ones. As an original of the platform, “Fate: The Winx Saga” has been ranked on Netflix’s Top 10 streamed list.
In terms of its plot, this series carries a great concept, one which is similar to tales of magical teenagers in the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson series.
In terms of its plot, this series carries a great concept, one which is similar to tales of magical teenagers in the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson series. What’s particularly interesting about this remake is how it takes the innocent children’s version loved by many and morphs it into a mature version to appeal to now-grown teens. Topics like substance abuse, romance, sexism and more are highlighted in the series.
Additionally, Netflix has undeniably great production, clear filming and cinematography that appears in this series. The actors, while not having Oscar-tier performances, convey the message of the series and its occurrences relatively well.
As disappointing as it is, though, the cliches in “Fate: The Winx Saga” run rampant—in the very cinematography, plot, dialogue, you name it. Hit lines like, “We don’t have a lot of those where I’m from,” “This is a fresh start” and “I don’t know, there’s something about her” seem like they’re copied and pasted from preceding teen dramas. The “not-like-other-girls” mantra Bloom embodies is typical but understandably included among the other cliches, considering that this tries to portray the typical teenage story in a mystical world. The measly choice of soundtrack music doesn’t help either.
Aside from these downfalls across the board, the ethics of this series are all-over-the-place. On one hand, it tries to be diverse with realistic characters of all body types and backgrounds. On the other, it has been suspected of whitewashing the original cartoon characters, particularly by excluding the Latina fairy and casting the East Asian fairy with a white actress. The “token Black friend” stereotype even makes an appearance, as Aisha (Precious Mustapha) has little to no individual storyline and seems to only support the white protagonists in times of need.
Aside from these downfalls across the board, the ethics of this series are all-over-the-place.
The series’ lack of diversity in certain respects is not the only problem; its actual attempts at inclusivity are problematic, too. Statements in the script like “Don’t you feminist with me,” and an exchange between Bloom and her father ending with “‘Lady of the Flies,’ sweetie. Don’t be sexist” are incredibly cringeworthy.
As of late, it seems as though the few things carrying Netflix originals include high quality (yet anticipated) cinematography, sorry attempts at inclusion and their own high rankings of their content on the platform. “Fate: The Winx Saga” is not an exception, by any means. While the series has some positives for enjoyment, its cliches and redundancies cause it to fall alongside many lacking Netflix productions. You may as well stick to the cartoon original.
- British accents.
- Interesting concept.
- Tried for inclusivity, I guess?.
- Plethora of cliches in cinematography, dialogue, and overall story.
- Repetitive story arc.
- Failed attempts at inclusivity.
Photo courtesy of Netflix