*This article will contain spoilers for season one of Fate: The Winx Saga*
“Fate: The Winx Saga” is the 2021 reimagining of the Italian animated series “Winx Club. “Fate” stars Abigail Cowen, Elisha Applebaum, Precious Mustapha, Hannah Van Der Westhuysen, and Eliot Salt. The show centers around a teenage girl named Bloom who discovers she has powers and is pulled into a world of fairies and magic. As a fan of the original cartoon, I was initially drawn to the idea of a reboot of one of my favorite childhood shows. I was excited to see the incredible outfits on real, human bodies (apparently the fairies in the cartoons didn’t have ribcages), I was excited for a lot of the coded animated characters to be canon, because the animated show had a surprisingly diverse cast. But then the photos were released, and to say they were disappointing would be an understatement. Characters were either whitewashed or entirely swapped out, and the show seemed to be going in a direction similar to “Riverdale” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” where a lighthearted, campy story is reimagined in a darker format. Exploring some of the flaws in the first season, here’s a breakdown of the Winx suite girls:
Bloom was written terribly. The fight she gets into with her mom feels cliche and forced with the classic “formerly popular mother tries to force her introverted daughter to go out more” trope, and it escalates insanely quickly when Bloom sets fire to their house when her mom removes her door. And for the rest of the show, Bloom is consumed with finding her birth parents, which is understandable, but she makes horrendous decisions along the way. She trusts everything anyone says to her and nearly gets the entire school killed because of it. The show also does a poor job of giving Bloom any sort of personality trait or hobby besides a single line where her mother mentions that she likes antique shops (though no antiques are actually shown).
I was so excited to see a dark skin Black girl on a teen fantasy show. Aisha in the animated series was such a cool character and for some reason “Fate” gave her none of that. She’s a swimmer, (a very obvious hobby for a water fairy,) and she wants to do well in school– and that’s basically all we know about her. Aisha spends half the show following Bloom around and going out of her way to help Bloom out, even going so far as to take up a student job to try and find answers. She has a weak storyline with her magic and struggling with the ability to scale down, but that’s quickly dropped as the show attempts to wrap up the season.
For unknown reasons, Netflix decided to turn Stella into the rude, popular girl who gets mad at the main character because she shows interest in her ex-boyfriend. Not only was this a sad diversion from Stella in the animated show, it added unnecessary drama that distracted from the already rushed plot. Stella’s complicated relationship with her mom was far more interesting, and should’ve been the focus of Stella’s subplot instead of her toxic relationship with Sky.
I didn’t have too many problems with Terra. I’m not entirely sure why they decided to replace Flora when it was just as easy to make Flora plus size or have the both of them on the show together. As a character Terra had just enough depth by being nice and awkward without ever becoming a pushover, and she’s clearly intelligent, as we see how she can recognize and replicate different herbal concoctions. There was one completely unnecessary scene where Terra ws struggling to find somewhere to change in private, it felt forced and didn’t completely align with Terra’s character.
Musa’s character was pretty average. Her empath abilities were interesting, but the season was too short to go into it in detail. Her friendship with Terra feels natural for roommates, and her relationship with Sam was the only quality romantic relationship in the entire show. At the end of the show there’s a few hints that Musa’s powers are more important and powerful than she realizes, but it would’ve been nice to learn more about her character than the knowledge that she felt her mother die at the very end of the show.
The majority of the show’s problems comes from the six episode format. With three distinct groups to follow (the Winx suite girls, Beatrix and Riven, and the adults), the show ends up spending its entirety dumping information on the viewers instead of truly exploring the lore. The season feels even more congested with its decision to follow multiple different character dynamics and subplots to the point that none of the characters truly develop. There’s Bloom’s search to find her birth parents, Beatrix’ search for Rosalind, Beatrix’ search for Rosalind, Riven and Beatrix’ relationship, Musa and Sam’s relationship, Stella’s relationship with her mom, the weird love triangle between Bloom, Sky, and Stella, and everything the adults of the show are trying to accomplish. The show also must introduce Alfea and fairy magic to the audience, as well as build the overall plot with the Burned Ones attacks. This leaves the show feeling simultaneously underdeveloped and overstuffed with information, hinting that the show could’ve done significantly better with the usual 13 episode first season format.