If you grew up watching Winx Club on Nickelodeon every day as a child, were in awe of the world of the fairies and the specialist, the colorful dresses and strong bonds of friendship formed in the series, then the new live adaptation which Netflix recently released might be a hard pill to swallow for some. When news broke that the beloved Italian animated show Winx Club was getting a live adaptation on Netflix, it was trending on Twitter faster than you could name the 3 Trix sisters. People had hoped to see beautiful ‘edgy’ but soft girl vibe dresses, a representation which was seen in the entirety of the cartoon series, and most of all, people were excited to see the modern take on the ladies of the Winx club.
Instead, we got yet another failed adaptation (as if Riverdale wasn’t painful enough to watch). The first thing anyone noticed when they watched the cartoon Winx Club was how vibrant and colorful it was, and right off the bat, this was the first thing the new series is lacking. Not that I’m using it in a negative connotation but the general vibe of the new series was just ‘dull’. The clothes looked nothing like what any teenager in today’s age would wear, much less a powerful fairy would. There are a lot of basic tropes that have been woven into the plot. There are love triangles, unnecessary fat jokes, and even slightly homophobic stereotypes. The lack of representation and the complete removal of some of the loved characters from the series was also another reason why people were hesitant with this adaptation (RIP Flora and Tecna).
Pushing aside the comparisons between the two versions, there were still a lot of issues with our Netflix adaptation. It feels weird to admit it but after the last episode, I did feel like I wanted more because I was hooked onto the mysterious aspect of the plot. It sucked that they made my actual favorite characters Bloom and Stella so unlikable in this series. Bloom, the protagonist is pushed into this world and it is her story of trying to find her way in this Otherworld as she tries to figure out her past. While this is loosely based on the original version, the writers somehow made Bloom’s character too selfish and inconsiderate of her actions. Stella was reduced to the mean girl trope who saw Bloom as her competition which was a big shock to all of us considering how their characters became best friends 10 minutes into the first episode of the cartoon version.
The Netflix series had only 6 episodes and honestly, if they had a couple of more the series might have made itself worth the binge. Winx Club, the animated series was a story about the girls and their strong bonds with each other. The writers of the Netflix adaptation made it impossible for us to like all 5 girls at the same time until the last episode. There just wasn’t enough time in 6 episodes to get a character arc for the Winx and this made the final showdown awkward as we know that until this very moment these girls did not share a bond strong enough to risk each other’s lives for. This of course can be worked upon if the series is picked up for a second season where these friendships are more fleshed out and the characters receive the arc they deserve. It is hard to love characters you barely know.
While there are several minor faults that I personally would be able to pick up because of my fond memories of the cartoon series, the Netflix series wasn’t all too terrible. For someone who has not seen the cartoon, this might just be a good binge. The series has a coming-of-age story vibe set in a Harry Potter-Divergent world but makes it ‘fairy’. The first season took too much time in just introducing the characters and the world, and they threw a lot of terms at the audience which didn’t make sense until the last episode. Season 2 looks like it has a lot of potential because of the amazing ending Season 1 gave us (almost worth the pain of watching a whitewashed Musa). So, until news about the next season is released, I’m going to go back and binge the original Winx Club for old times’ sake!