Fate: The Winx Saga – Season 1

Rating:

Not Your Average Fairy Tale

Main Cast: Abigail Cowen, Hannah van der Westhuysen

Creator: Brian Young

I am neither a teenager nor a young adult, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying entertainment created for them. In fact, right now I rather prefer YA fantasy to anything the real world has to dish up. So when I spotted Fate: The Winx Saga, about a bunch of magical teens at a school just for magical teens, I knew I’d be watching.

Fate: The Winx Saga (or as I have been calling it, just Winx) looks like a very straightforward rip-off of Harry Potter. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a little more PG in its romantic themes, and a little less masterfully created, but it is a group of young people attending a boarding school that teaches them how to use their magic.

The main character is Bloom (Abigail Cowen), whose parents are Muggles….er, not magical. She has come to Alfea, a school in the Otherworld, to learn how to control her magic. The outside world knows nothing of the Otherworld and her parents think she’s at an exclusive school in Switzerland.

This first season of Winx follows Bloom as she learns about herself and this strange new world, and helps the school ward off a terrible threat. I know, I know, they might as well have named her Carry Lotter and given her and owl named Tedwig. But I like this world.

Bloom shares a dorm suite with four other girls: Stella (Hannah van der Westhuysen), who is very snobby and jealous; Aisha (Precious Mustapha), who is a smart, rule-following swimmer; Musa (Elisha Applebaum), who really can’t be bothered with all this nonsense and keeps her headphones on; and Terra (Eliot Salt), who really just wants to make friends and tend to her plants. It is primarily this group that we follow through the season.

First of all, I love Terra with my whole heart. Eliot Salt makes her so vulnerable and frustrating and loveable, I want to give her a hug. The other characters vacillate wildly between interesting, sympathetic, and infuriating, just like regular teenagers. The acting is solid, though a bit rough around the edges. I suspect, given time, these young people will grow nicely into their roles.

There are some twists away from Hogwarts in the world building, including an entirely different sort of magic. Its origins are darker, and its foes more formidable from the start. The adults (of whom there are disquietingly few) have their own bonds and secrets that put everyone in jeopardy.

Since we’ve only got six episodes in this season, we only scratch the surface of this world that shows promise of being quite complex and interesting. The show is based on an animated Nickelodeon series called Winx Club, and I suspect the showrunners have made everything a touch darker for this live action adaptation.

Overall, I enjoyed Fate: The Winx Saga’s first season. It’s dark and broody, but I like most of the characters and the potential for some meaty world building. There are complaints out there that it isn’t true to its source material, but frankly, I don’t care. I didn’t see the animated version, and I have no interest in doing so, so I’m happy just to judge Winx on its merits.

I’m giving it 3 ½ stars, rounded down, because the first season wasn’t really long enough to develop the characters or world. Winx has not been officially renewed by Netflix, but I hope they give it at least one more season to see what it can become.

Fate: The Winx Saga is currently streaming on Netflix.

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