Binge and Repeat: Cute cartoon gets ‘gritty teen’ makeover in Netflix’s ‘Fate’ series

It’s said there’s no such thing as an original idea anymore, and given the rate at which television studios are churning out gritty and edgy versions of family-friendly shows I’m beginning to agree with that.

As a viewer, I’m a big fan of dark dramas and watching folks deal with dire plot lines and watching the many teen-centered dramas unfold. However, I’m getting tired of seeing television studios take cute, kid-friendly shows and turn them into colorless teen drama.

Has anyone considered if audiences really want to see their childhood cartoon characters swearing and suffering from identity crises?

“Riverdale,” “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” and “Nancy Drew” have all received this treatment, and now Netflix has added “Fate: The Winx Saga” to the list.

The new Netflix series is a live action adaptation based on the Italian cartoon “Winx Club” that was popular in the 2000s. It’s about fairies learning how to master their different magical skill sets at a high school.

Netflix’s version of the show? Well, it still revolves around a group of fairies attending school, but it certainly doesn’t offer much in the way of fairy sparkle.

As someone who remembers the original cartoon, watching this series was a tad unsettling, and it made me wonder what would happen if Disney decided to churn out a grunge-era Tinkerbell.

Fate: The Winx Saga

Seasons: One

Episodes: Six

Episode length: 1 hour

TV rating: TVMA

Language: English

Similar series: "Tiny Pretty Things"

The series “Fate” follows Bloom, a fire fairy who lived in the human realm and didn’t know she was a fairy until her powers manifested. Bloom is dealing with a considerable amount of change. She finds herself living not only away from her parents, but she quickly discovers her identity is becoming a mystery to her.

While trying to unpack this emotional baggage, Bloom has a hard time adjusting to life in a magical world and has a tenuous friendship forming with her suitmates.

While Bloom suffers from life as a teen fairy, the show also hints that the school has a secretive backstory that is perhaps connected to Bloom’s uncertain past.

In a nutshell, the series is about an angsty teen fairy with an identity crisis, but it just isn’t enticing. The whole concept of a magically skilled kid with a secret history isn’t new. It’s been done to death (hello Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker) and layering the story with a fine dusting of “edgy teen plot” doesn’t make it feel fresh.

In addition to seeming it has a recycled story line, the show just doesn’t have anything about it that grips the viewer. The special effects aren’t particularly exciting, and it doesn’t have any engaging performances.

“Fate” also includes a subplot in which one of the characters is shamed for his sexual orientation, which feels unnecessary in 2021 and doesn’t add anything to the story.

Studios need to take a break from the endless tedium of remakes and create something fresh. Otherwise, viewers are going to start chafing from the faux edgy dramas taking over their screens.

“Fate: The Winx Saga” has one season on Netflix. The series is rated TV-MA. Viewers might enjoy “Tiny Pretty Things,” a Netflix teen series about a school of driven and stressed-out ballerinas.

tinamarie.craven@hearstmediact.com