Netflix Ruined Winx Club for Me and I'm Not Over It
A passionate fan take on the train wreck that is Fate: The Winx Saga
So before we begin I feel like I should explain a little bit about me, I grew up watching the original Winx Club cartoon on Nickelodeon and I was obsessed with it. In fact when Netflix announced they were making a live action Winx Club I rewatched the first three seasons of the cartoon (in my opinion season 3 of the cartoon is the best because of the Enchantix transformation). What I found surprised me, I actually really enjoyed rewatching the old episodes and thought they held up pretty well (though it could have been an element of nostalgia clouding my judgement).
My point is this, I LOVE the original cartoon and was supremely disappointed when I saw the first clips from the Netflix show. I was so disappointed that I refused to watch it series...until now that is because I figured it would make for a pretty entertaining post. My original plan was to review each episode and write up a breakdown of what happens to compare it to the cartoon. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it past episode 3, I'll explain exactly why I had to stop watching the show halfway through it later. I did go into the show with an open mind, but it was so bad that I had to turn it off. Obviously, the views shares in this post are my own and I'm not writing this to spread hate against Netflix or the cast members (though the actress who plays Musa has tweeted some pretty nasty stuff). I'm just a big fan of the Winx Club and want to share my thoughts about the show.
Let's talk about what's good with the show first, before we just stuck into everything that's wrong with it (it's always important to focus on the positives guys). The first thing that I genuinely liked about the show was the opening sequence, I thought having the wings made up of different elements looked very pretty. It also did a great job is showing off the main elemental magic the girls have. The building that makes up Alfea College is very charming. The architecture of the school really fit with the overall theme of magic and wonder (if only the writers could have done the same with the rest of the show). The show also does this thing where the fairies eye colour change whenever they use their magic. There really isn't much I was impressed with.
Now let's get into what I didn't like about the show (read as "after watching the episodes, I was left with a hollow, empty feeling in the space where my heart should be"). To me it felt like the show creators had no idea the cartoon was about. I totally understand that the show is an adaptation of the cartoon and changes will be made to the story. However, some of the changes made to characters, the plot and the overall story just seemed like a total disrespect to the source material. When I was watching the show, it just felt like a generic Netflix teen drama that used some of the names from the cartoon. If you are a fan of the original Winx Club I wouldn't you watch this show, you can feel the lack of care from the creators and as a fan, it's really disheartening. Also nothing really felt magical. I kinda expected a show about fairies to actually have some really cool magic effects but it just didn't. In fact, you could almost forget the show had fairies in it.
The first thing I have to say is that all the girls in the show are just so mean to each other. I understand that Netflix needs a dark, gritty remake of the show but damn everyone in it is just so mean to each other. By the end of episode three I really couldn't see how these girls would end up being best friends. Which is a huge failure for the show, in the original cartoon friendship is one of the key themes of the show. There was no need for the writers to make all the characters so mean and rude to each other. The one character who is actually really nice and sweet is Terra, and yet she's often the butt of the jokes. Most characters (especially Musa) who interact with Terra just seemed fed up with her and like she was the most annoying person on the planet. On the topic of Terra, the number of fat jokes made at her expense, including one character who calls her a "fat-arse", is just disgusting. It's 2021, are we really still making fat-phobic jokes? To me it was clear the writers included those jokes as a way of going, "fat-phobia isn't cool guys we shouldn't laugh at fat people." which quite frankly I am bored off. Hey here's an idea to any show writers out there, why not include a plus sized character and treat them like a normal person? Dress them in clothes the compliment them and not in frumpy, grandma outfits, and please write a plus sized character where being fat isn't a core personality trait of theirs. Also, the actress who plays Terra isn't even that big!! Can't we just appreciate all bodies without shaming someone for not looking a certain way.
Moving on from that, I don't understand how Netflix made a show about the Winx Club with so many characters missing. The Trix, the main antagonists of the Winx are completely missing from the show. Why? I couldn't tell you but I wish Icy, Darcy and Stormy were in it. Instead we get the Burned Ones, who are supposed to be the scary monsters that threaten the fairies. They just look awful and scream a lot for no reason and exist because the writers probably needed some dark, evil creatures to terrorise the girls in the show. If you thought that only the Trix were erased you would be mistaken. You see two key members of the Winx Club are not in the show, Flora and Techna. It's clear that Terra is meant to represent Flora, and she offhandedly mentions she has a cousin named Flora. So why didn’t Netflix include on of the main members of the Winx Club in the show? A part of me does wonder if it’s because of the backlash Netflix got for whitewashing some of the characters. For example in the cartoon Musa clearly looks like someone of East Asian descent and in the Winx Saga that clearly has been changed. Another fun fact for you, Musa, in the cartoon is the fairy of Music. In Fate: the Winx Saga, she is a mind fairy. What was the reason for this change Netflix? Was music suddenly not cool enough. Also she says she’s an empath, meaning she can sense other people’s emotions. I don’t know about you but I personally am over hearing the word “empath”.
In terms of the overall writing, there should have been a couple more episodes. There's nothing wrong with having a 6 episode show, but it's so important that the writing is super tight. Which in the case of the show, it is not. By the end of the third episode, none of the girls seem like friends and I find it very hard to believe that this will change in the space of another three episodes. A key plot point in the season is the fact that Bloom is a changeling, which could have been very cool but in application it's just another attempt at the 'Chosen One' trope. Which by now has been so overused in teen shows.
Aside from that, all the characters are so mean to each other, the fashion in the show is terrible, Bloom and Stella (who were best friends) hate each other in the live action show, a number of specialists don't exist and everything that made the original cartoon incredible, is absent from this adaptation of it. It's obvious to me that the creators wanted to make a teen drama with magic in it and just slapped on the Winx Club to it as an after thought, probably to appeal to older fans of the cartoon. If you're a fan of Winx Club I'd recommend rewatching the original cartoon and to stay away from this burning pile of trash.
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