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A screencap from Netflix\'s show Fate: the Winx Saga
A screencap from Netflix\'s show Fate: the Winx Saga
Culture > Entertainment

Do We Really Need All Live Action Reboots To Be So Dark?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

About two months ago, when I heard Winx Club was getting a live-action reboot, I was thrilled. 

You can understand my disappointment when the first teaser came out and it looked nothing like the original cartoon. 

Instead of getting a nice, light-hearted show for older audiences, we got an edgy, dark academia drama, which was far from even resembling the original show that was special in the hearts of so many. But Winx Club is only one of many victims of a reboot “being darker for older audiences.”

This last phrase — as of late — has become a staple in rebooting media. Not only are shows literally set with a darker color scheme, but it seems that in order to appeal to older audiences, a lot of these have oversexualized teens, cursing, and some sort of murder plot (which really baffles me, because these are mostly set in high school, and I don’t know about you, but that was not my experience).

Adaptations like Riverdale, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and now Fate: The Winx Saga all have some degree of the aforementioned elements. It begs the question: why do so many reboots need to be dark and serious?

Taking my example of Fate, look at the original Winx Club. It was set in college and characterized by bright colors and outfits, fun transformation sequences, and wholesome friendships that created a lovely show. Sure, it was a cartoon for kids, but there was no reason why these factors couldn’t have found their way onto the live-action format. As long as the writing was good and faithful to the source material, fans would’ve been happy. 

Besides, just because a show has bright color palettes and glittery outfits, it doesn’t mean it can’t be taken seriously. Part of attracting older viewers lies in the writing of the characters, the theme of the plot and other nuanced issues. It’s not just about mature themes and being serious all the time.

The excessive seriousness of these live actions makes me laugh because it looks like writers don’t know how teenagers act. Even if you’re writing a teen drama, not every episode needs to be full of angst or conflict between characters. Sure, being a teenager comes with high school drama, but these shows take it to a whole new level. I feel as though these adaptations are all too edgy, and while teen dramas can be good, certain shows don’t thrive as dramas. 

Some adaptations could have been a better fit for a teen comedy — not only do I not see as many of these, but I think we could all appreciate some wholesomeness in these uncertain times. Comedies can still have a cohesive plot while keeping it light, so I don’t see some why live-action remakes aren’t comedies, or at the very least, not as dark and dramatic. 

Not everything is meant to be dark and moody, and that’s okay. Even if you’re an adult, you’re allowed to like and want bright colors and fun plots. 

Reboots are not meant to be a carbon-copy of the original, sure, but they’re also meant to stay truthful to the original content source; if the original is colorful, funky and bright, then that’s what I want! If you want a dark show, don’t apply that concept where it doesn’t belong.

turned on LED movie projector
Photo by Alex Litvin from Unsplash

Ana Sofía Saavedra is a senior at the University of Central Florida, majoring in advertising and public relations. She likes to spend her time, making bracelets and headbands, watching TV shows, and obsessing over books.
UCF Contributor