Let’s Talk About Fate: The Winx Saga (2021)

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Bhoomi Sharma, Photography Editor

I’ll admit, I went into “Fate: The Winx Saga” (2021), the new live-action Winx adaptation, expecting something like Riverdale. By this I mean I had low expectations, and I wanted to hate it with all my heart. Considering the cast is made up of mostly twenty year olds, and they got rid of a bunch of original, diverse characters, I think I was well within my rights to do so.  

 

It’s a Netflix Original drama series, released in late Jan 2021. It was created by Brian Young. When the trailer for Fate: The Winx Saga was released it wasn’t met with very good reviews. Partly because of the white-washing, and the awful change of characters, and partly because of the terrible style choices. 

 

I am tired of dark academia-esque adaptations of beloved children’s stories missing the point entirely for a quick buck. Often times ruining the heart of the story along the way, in favor of sex, blood and the intent to reach a bigger audience. I can’t name a single adaptation aged up for older audiences that actually succeeded, and at this point I’m beginning to wonder if the studios will ever learn that this never works.

 

I don’t even know where to begin talking about where the show went wrong. It wasn’t until my friend pointed out that the show felt like there were no women involved in the making of it, that I realized both the creators of the show were men. It’s not a surprise, what with all fake feminism that is written in. Whatever ‘feminism’ aspect they tried to add in is cheap and second wave. We have progressed way past this.

 

The story itself is vaguely good. If we’re still comparing it to Riverdale, where the dialogue is cheap and every character is just another high school trope, Fate: The Winx Saga is a lot better, even if it does mostly use high school drama cliches.

 

Honestly, I would have preferred if the show wasn’t connected  to the Winx Saga at all. It’s so far removed from the original, in every way that matters. The tone is much darker, as it’s aesthetic. The show is a far cry from the Y2K style of the original show, and I’m at a loss for why they didn’t go with that itself, especially since Y2K as a fashion style is back in mainstream media. The plot is different as well. I won’t spoil anything for you, but I will state that you can barely recognize anything in the current plot from the original show. They even got rid of the Trix Sisters.

 

The message is gone too. The core values of sisterhood and believing in the world are gone, replaced by surface level characters and themes. The show feels like nobody cared enough. We already know it’s a quick cash-grab, but I don’t understand why they had to make it so obvious. There is a gentleness to children’s stories because people know it’s going to affect the viewers in the long-run. Quality children’s stories take care of their audience, and make sure their story is sending the right message. Fate: The Winx Saga does no such thing. It is almost as if they don’t respect their audience enough to think they could handle real stories and well developed, nuanced themes. 

 

The relationships between the main characters are also incredibly shallow. Apparently, in the head of Brian Young, young women can’t have friendships that don’t start off catty and mean, or that don’t involve a boy. It still bothers me that they went out of their way to include a love triangle in the story between three of the main characters for no clear reason other than adding drama, especially when it wasn’t there in the original cartoon. Most of the girl’s friendship seems to be born out of a sense of responsibility, or an obligation to be there for their suitemates instead of a genuine affection for each other, as the original cast had. Why bother adding a level of fake feminism and constantly mention the patriarchy if you’re going to pit women against each other anyway?

 

If all the original characters aren’t there, and the story line has almost no relation to the animated show, then why could they have not just branded it as something completely different? Why not make something new and stick with it? Why attach it to some old children’s cartoon when you’re going to age up the characters and add adult elements anyway? If they were doing it to profit off of a fan base that was already present for the animated Winx Saga, they have utterly failed. I have trouble believing that any fan of the original cartoon would love this as an adaptation. If you watched the cartoon when it aired in 2004, then you are probably old enough to look through any of the branding and see it for what it is – just another show about high schoolers, written by old white men who have long since forgotten what it is like to be in high school and have never known what it is like to be a woman. 

 

This lack of dimension in women also extends to their casting choices. They replaced the character Flora from the original version with Terra because they wanted someone with a more diverse body type, but what is wrong with having a woman of color that’s also plus size?

 

For so long Hollywood has taken old movies and TV shows and remade them under the guise of putting out old stories for a new generation. It’s becoming something of a joke at this point – almost every other release is a remake or a reboot. Hollywood is trying to add these new ‘woke’ undertones (or overtones in some cases. I mean just look at the Charlie’s Angels reboot), and they are failing because it’s all so surface level. Nostalgia based adaptations should’ve stopped the moment they began. I’ve already lost my teen years to a pandemic – I don’t want to lose more of it to a bunch of remakes of stories  from my childhood.

 

If I had gone into this TV show not knowing anything about the original cartoon, or if this wasn’t an adaptation at all, I would have liked it more. Instead they had to go and label it ‘The Winx Saga,” and for what? Especially when it has so few similarities to the original animated version.

 

 If you want to watch the show, I would recommend that you go ahead and do so while pretending it has nothing to do with the old Winx Saga. Going in as a fan of the original cartoon will most definitely leave you disappointed. Actually, just go back and rewatch the old cartoon itself. That way you won’t be upset and annoyed, and you won’t have to remember that they’re also going to be doing this to Avatar: The Last Airbender. 

 

Wow. Can’t wait to see that one.