A reimagining of the Italian cartoon, Fate: the Winx Saga is a coming-of-age story set in a magical boarding school where fairies learn to use and control their powers. Assigned the same dormroom, a group of 5 young girls form unlikely friendships and navigate everyday emotional traumas like love and heartbreak whilst also battling some foes along the way.
We enter the magical world through the eyes of Bloom, a fire element fairy with little knowledge of the magical world or how to control her powers. Played by Abigail Cowen, you may recognise her from similar YA fare like The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and The Fosters. It’s nice to see her come out of the shadows and into a lead role, she imbues Bloom with (literally at times) fire, allowing us to see the swirling emotions and chaos she is living through as she discovers this new world and the secrets it has hidden away.
Though Bloom feels like our lead character, it is an ensemble show and the majority of the cast do a great job, empath Musa played by Elisha Applebaum is a particular standout as well as Eve Best who plays Headmistress Dowling. Hannah van der Westhuysen’s Stella is the weakest of the ensemble, her character and storylines feeling particularly outdated in comparison to the other girls. As someone who hasn’t seen the original series it is based on, this could be in part due to the source material, but the mean rich blonde girl feels like an outdated trope in 2021.
The show doesn’t have the full dark elements of other Netflix originals like Sabrina or Riverdale, but this was a big plus for me. The portrayal of magic, and its elemental properties was really fun.Growing up on a steady diet of The Worst Witch, Harry Potter and Charmed this definitely scratched that itch but with a modern tone. Whilst there are romantic elements and even some love triangles, I preferred the softer approach it takes, as opposed to the heavily sexual content in other shows previously mentioned.
There’s plenty going on and like many YA shows there’s a core mystery element to solve through the episodes, though at times the stakes are hard to understand as it’s odd watching teens hang around in school when there are murderous creatures just beyond the gates.
Knowing very little about the Winx Saga, I found Fate enjoyable and paced well enough to keep me clicking next after each episode. Fun, detailed and mystical, I’ll be looking forward to future episodes.
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