In some shape or form, every piece of modern entertainment circles back to nostalgia. Whether it’s the synth and disco returning to the radio, the Disney classics returning to the big-screen or our favourite childhood shows getting unnecessarily rebooted by Netflix, the entertainment industry is recycling harder than Greta Thunberg. This has been happening for a while now and it’s definitely proven itself to be a hit or miss situation. Live-Action remakes could either expand and bring new elements to a beloved franchise or they could turn out like ‘Riverdale‘ or ‘The Last Airbender (2010)‘. The latest victim of this trend is the uniquely popular Italian magical girl cartoon, ‘Winx Club’. A show in the same vein as ‘Totally Spies‘ where everyone and I mean everyone watched it and enjoyed whether it be in secret or in obsessive fashion.
This trend of taking something animated from our childhood and then twisting it into something completely unrecognizable is genuinely frustrating for a number of reasons. ‘Fate: The Winx Saga’ may be one of the worst live-action adaptations I have ever seen. You could use the fact that it’s only “inspired by” the original show as a loophole but it doesn’t add anything to the argument. ‘Winx Club’ is probably the only show that’s gotten rebooted that was a childhood staple of mine so this show hurt for a number of reasons. To say that ‘Fate‘ is horribly written only undermines the real problems it has. When a show is this far-removed from the look and feel of the original, why even bother associating with it? Why did this dull, lifeless, mature-rated reboot need to be included in the ‘Winx Club‘ franchise which is targeted towards children?
At it’s best ‘Fate: The Winx Saga’ tricks you into thinking that it will incorporate elements from the original and expand on them. At it’s worst, it gives ‘Riverdale‘ a run for it’s money. Never have I seen a show fail so spectacularly to depict the themes of friendship, identity and family quite like ‘Fate‘ does. The basic core of the original show which features a diverse, (emphasis on diverse) group of girls with unique personalities who raised each other up and were unapologetically themselves turn into a group of roommates who barely stand each other at first, are turned into tired cliches and are constantly lying to each other. Rarely did I ever feel like they actually liked each other. Bloom is incredibly selfish and has no respect for any of her friends. Aisha is the only one who acted rationally and got hated for it by the others. Stella, the unapologetically girly fashionista designer turns into a dull, tired rich girl cliche who has to constantly worry about what people think of her. Why does Stella being in love with fashion feel embarrasing for this show? Why can’t this show embrace the glitter and the fashion instead of insisting that a dark retelling is what is suitable for it’s teen/adult audience?
The wishful thinking that maybe, just maybe ‘Fate‘ is actually a dark retelling with complex themes and characters is quickly put down once you get a sense of the show’s tone and dialogue. It was genuinely embarrasing to see a show try this hard to be woke and edgy. The dialogue is atrocious, characters will literally thorw in words like ‘feminist’ and ‘toxic’ with no context whatsoever. Your horny school bully comes back in the form of Riven who legitamately asks Sky whether he likes Stella because she lets him do and I quote “butt stuff”. It was an experience I wish I never had. It never felt organic, it felt like people reading off a script written by middle-aged white men. It’s actually quite ironic for a show to try and be this woke when they whitewashed the only Asian character and got rid of the Latinx representation by replacing Flora with Terra. If you’re going to take away that element and make characters we know from our childhoods act like what a ten year-old thinks a teenager acts like then why bother putting Winx in the title? It just makes no sense.
The lore and mythology presented in ‘Fate‘ is basically completely different from the detailed lore in the original series, it is genuinely insane how much they removed. Most people including me, would have been fine if this was purely a dark retelling of Bloom’s journey to search for her birth parents. There is that mystery element that would really fit the dark aesthetic of the show. I wouldn’t mind watching a dark but well-written reboot of the original show. Some of the changes they made were actually really interesting. Silva being a father-figure to Sky was really well done until it was completely ruined in the end. They had all of the pieces there and they never bothered to connect them. The only fully redeeming quality in this show was Musa. Changing her powers from music to empathy makes sense story-wise, her new love-interest Sam is an intensely better choice than her original toxic boyfriend Riven. Even Farah being a mother-figure to Bloom makes sense, it was never explored in the original show and it made sense here even if it was also ruined in the last few minutes of the finale. It’s genuinely frustrating because there was so much potential, so much to take inspiration from, this show could have been so many different things yet they stuck to the most dull, lifeless and genuinely insulting ideas.
These live-action remakes/adaptations are genuinely insulting to their respective fandom because they never understood what made the original show so beloved. It’s why ‘The Last Airbender’ is described as one of the worst movies of all time. While ‘Fate‘ has a few redeeming qualities, they never justify the existence of the show or the association to the franchise. We are getting a gritty ‘Powerpuff Girls‘ reboot in live-action and that live-action ‘Avatar‘ remake is reportedly still in production. ‘Fate‘ is already rumored to have a second season. It really circles back to the fact that studios think that animation is not to be taken seriously unless it’s coming in the form of a big blockbuster. Why couldn’t this be a sequel series about the Winx Club as adults, maybe teaching the new generation? The same goes for ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender‘ and ‘The Powerpuff Girls’. The people who grew up with them would undoubtedly show up for an animated continuation. Why not grow up with these characters in a natural progression than turning them into unrecognizable, dull versions of the characters we once knew? Animation is such a wonderful medium and it is genuinely exciting to see it continuing to break barriers, hopefully people will start to show it the respect that they give to live-action projects.