Not Every Show Needs a Remake – Fate: The Winx Saga is Proof



The main cast of Fate: The Winx Saga, the main five girls.

In many regards, Winx Club was a great show. Airing in 2004 all the way up to about 2018, it was a show that catered to young fairy-obsessed girls, and it did it well. Winx featured a diverse cast, eye-catching visuals, and a plot that was just dramatic enough to leave you coming back for more. Add to that an incredibly wholesome showing of female friendship and magical fairy transformations? 8-year-old me was hooked. I remember waking up at 6 am to catch Winx Club reruns before I went to school, singing the theme song on my way up to the bus stop. To say it was an important part of my childhood, as well as those of many others, would be a great understatement. So there were no doubts in my mind that Fate, the Netflix live-action remake, was going to be underwhelming. How could it remake a show so doused in nostalgia? But either way, I told myself I would watch it, maybe it would be better than I expected.

It was not.

To be fair, Fate: The Winx Saga is hardly a remake of Winx Club. If the creators had created it as a Winx-inspired show, changed character and location names, and rebranded it under a new name, I would have just brushed it off as another halfway decent Netflix show and forgotten about it, a show to watch when it’s a rainy day and you have six hours to spare. But as a Winx Club remake, Fate is incredibly underwhelming. Showrunners wanted a more gritty story, something that would resonate deeper with the now-young adults who had watched the original as kids. It doesn’t do this very well, however, sacrificing many of the key tenets of Winx Club in order to create a show that’s just not fun to watch.

The original Winx Club was bright, energetic, and sparkly, compared to the grim coloration of the remake. (Nickelodeon)

And that’s my main problem with Fate. It’s literally and figuratively a darker show than the original, and the so-called “more mature themes” are just an excuse to make the show less enjoyable. Characters in Fate are terrible to each other, from the jealous rivalry between Stella and Bloom to the insensitive way that the main five girls treat each other. I went into Fate hoping for friendship in the face of adversity, sparkling fairy bastions of positivity and resilience but got the same catty dynamics that showrunners seem to think teenage girls enjoy. Problems with the characters don’t end there however, they’re far more intrinsic than that.

As an Asian-American growing up in a predominantly white area, diversity is especially important to me. The original Winx Club was great for that, half of the main cast was made up of different ethnicities, and each character had a unique personality so that anyone watching could see themselves in someone. Spunky and athletic Aisha, introverted techie Tecna (who does not make an appearance in Fate), outgoing fashionista Stella. The show was made with a diverse target audience in mind, which makes it that much more surprising that Fate would so blatantly white-wash its cast, with Aisha as the only non-white member in the remake. Showrunners cast a more varied range of body types, which is commendable, but it shouldn’t be a give-and-take, you can cast someone who is plus size and a minority. Plus, characters’ personalities have been broken down into uninteresting archetypes. Bloom is a stereotypical Chosen One, an amalgamation of fanfiction-esque tropes with parents who don’t understand and seemingly unlimited power, Aisha is a nurturing friend who seems to be nothing more than a glorified guide for Bloom, and Stella is a snobby jealous princess. The original cast had nuance and detailed backstories, they had real problems and real challenges to overcome. All that is thrown out the window in exchange for slightly more complex worldbuilding and plot development, but it’s nowhere near a fair trade.

Many fans complained about the white-washing and lack of diversity in the new cast. (Buzzfeed)
Many online were outraged at the seemingly bland fashion choices made in the show, and redesigned the cast in their own way. (Mina Le, Shanspeare)

The visuals of the original Winx Club have been changed as well. Winx was a bright, peppy-looking cartoon. Characters were brightly colored, highly saturated, and exuded sparkle from the tips of their wings to the heels of their shoes. Fate on the other hand is, in a word, gloomy. Pastel fairy school Alfea has been downgraded to a dim British boarding school, and the whole show looks like it’s had a Twilight-esque color filter placed on top. The fashion present in the show has also gotten a significant change, and bafflingly so. The original Winx girls were in their teens and wore bright crop tops and mini-skirts that embodied the Y2K fashion of the time. Y2K fashion has been recently trending again, so this felt like a great opportunity to draw in that audience. The new actors are significantly older though (the main cast spans the age range of 22-27), and the fashion of the show reflects it. Puffer jackets, dark jeans, and sad-looking sweatshirts are a far cry from the jean shorts and saturated tones of the original show, and it takes only one Youtube search to see that I’m not alone in that thought. Fate succeeded in alienating the exact audience they were trying to recruit by thoroughly changing the most popular parts of the original.

All in all, Fate isn’t a terrible show. Its plot is decent, it has interesting worldbuilding, and as a standalone show, it’s perfectly fine. When viewing it as a remake of Winx Club, however, its failings are painfully obvious. I’d advise against watching if you’re an avid Winx Club fan, as it will undoubtedly be a letdown, but as a standalone show to watch on a rainy day, I’d sink the six hours.