It will always be challenging to adapt a show for children and recreate it for older audiences – especially when the older audience are the same ones who watched the show as kids. Yet, this is what Netflix did in the series “Fate: The Winx Saga.” This series tells fairies how they struggle to balance their powers and magical destinies with homework, romance, and everyday life. If you ask around whether it is possible to turn a show about fairies for preschoolers into a teen drama show, everyone would say it is impossible. Yet, Netflix has done the impossible in creating “Fate: The Winx Saga” series.
Abigail Cowen stars in this series as Bloom, a California-born teenage girl who discovers that she’s a fairy. There’s a magical place known as the Otherworld in the Winx universe and is ruled by fairies. The fairies are sent to a school known as Alfea, and each one of them has the power to control a unique element. Bloom’s power was fire, and she was recruited into the school to learn how to use her magic. There she meets other fairies and becomes friends with them: Princess Stella (light fairy), Aisha (water fairy), Terra (earth fairy), and Musa (mind fairy).
This six-episode series had Bloom and her other fairy friends go from attending classes to flirting with some boys from an adjacent military academy, getting drunk at parties, and simultaneously battling the threat from mysterious creatures known as the Burned Ones. These creatures seem to connect to the primary conflict of this series, which has to do with Bloom trying to investigate her origins and linking it to her powers.
One noticeable thing about this series is that it has a very dark theme. Apart from the Burned ones leaving trails of corpses and bloody deaths in their wake, the show also has many drugs, sex, and adult content. All of these are weird, considering that the show is an adaptation of “Winx Club“, a show for kids. This, and many other reasons, is why the show has come under lots of scrutiny and has received several criticisms from the viewers.
The criticism of this show started to pour in from the trailer’s release. Viewers saw that the show had lost the colorful Winx Club world that they loved as kids during their childhood, and it has been replaced with a dark makeover. In addition, the roles of two fairies, Flora and Musa, that the animated show had as women of color were played by white women in the new series. Rather than seeing the new series as a new take of the old series, many fans criticized it and labeled it a disappointing downgrade erasing the characters of color.
Many fans called the show out for what they believed is whitewashing (the practice of using white actors for roles that involved characters of color) – which has, unfortunately, become commonplace in Hollywood. For example, in the original animated series, Musa, the music fairy, was East Asian. However, this role was played by Elisha Applebaum (1/4 Singaporean and 3/4 White) in the Netflix adaptation. Again, this follows the trend in Hollywood in which part-white, part- Asian actors play fully-Asian characters. The same thing happened with Flora, the fairy of nature. This character had a brown skin tone in the original series, indicating her Latina origin. However, in the new Netflix series, it seems like she was replaced entirely by another character with similar powers, Terra – a role played by a white woman, Eliot Salt.
The Winx show gave people of color a good representation in the media, even as kids. However, all of that was taken away in the new Netflix adaptation. This is why the choice of casting for “Fate: The Winx Saga” was disappointing.
Another reason why The Winx Saga was heavily criticized is because of the evident reluctance to acknowledge the source material. The original show, “Winx Club“, was unapologetically girlish and fun, and the main characters displayed high feminine fashion choices. However, in this new show, the Winx were in a very cloudy world, and their dresses were pedestrian and had more earth tones. In addition, the new series has a tonal shift that is a poor fit when you think of the “Winx Club” brand – fantasy. Finally, the styling of the characters was another big disappointment for people that grew up watching and loving the kind of fashion choices they saw in the original show.
Although, “Fate: The Winx Saga” has been met with many criticisms from the trailer release to the premiere and afterward. Fans and critics have also not failed to point out the singular point of praise that they’ve noticed in the series, and it is also about the casting. Although two colors were whitewashed in the series, and it was rightly criticized, the role of Aisha (the waves fairy) was played by Precious Mustapha, a black actress.
This is remarkable because it breaks the trend of roles for black actresses being played by light-skinned or mixed-race women. The viewers were quick to embrace the actress and defend her against all racist criticisms of this series. Many fans are hopeful that she shines in the series and continues to improve in subsequent seasons alongside the series itself, so that young adults will have some good content made for them to consume.
“Fate: The Winx Saga” has too many differences from its source for a series that’s an adaptation of a previous show. It is always difficult to please the audience when you adapt a show that they adored as kids. It will be hard to beat their memories, and you have no room for mistakes. The Winx Saga made plenty of mistakes and left a vast space for criticism. While it may be impossible to correct the casting, fans are looking forward to the other seasons and are hoping that other differences to the original show are corrected.
Opal Miyamoto is a freelancer and a blogger and work like professional essay writers from the United States. She is very friendly and communicative. Opal is always open to new connections. Her hobbies are cooking, painting, traveling, and writing of course.