They did it again, goddamnit. I swore I wouldn’t watch the second season but here I am, seven episodes later talking about ‘Fate: The Winx Saga’ yet again. I mean I grew up with the original show, I love and adore those characters and the rich world Iginio Straffi created. I couldn’t help but give this show another shot. I may know the original ‘Winx Club’ show like the back of my hand but this is the second season of ‘Fate‘ as in I know what I’m getting into. With that in mind, I’m not going to foolishly compare the two together because I know what this show is going for. That being said, Season 2 does have its own set of problems, some recurring from last season and some new ones but for what it’s worth I actually enjoyed this season and I’m starting to get the appeal of this show, even if it gets in the way at times.
spoilers for both seasons of ‘Fate: The Winx Saga’ are featured in this review.
After the events of the Season 1 finale, Bloom and her friends find themselves stuck in a miserable Alfea run by the wicked Rosalind. Once fairies start mysteriously disappearing, a juicy mystery begins to unravel with all the romance, angst, pop music and drama a teen show like this would require. So let’s start with what the show is trying to go for and how it executes it. If it wasn’t obvious enough, ‘Fate‘ is not interested in translating the bright and colourful maximalist y2k aesthetic even though it’s very trendy right now but that’s beside the point. They’re trying their very best to look like the search results for ” on Pinterest. I totally respect that and I think that a Winx show with this type of look could be very compelling and exciting. It’s honestly a very smart way to translate it. However, there is also no reason for the show to be afraid of still committing to the fantasy side of things. It is very weird for a live-action ‘Winx Club’ show to not fully commit to the magical and fantastical elements of the story. They use magic more as a plot device rather than exploring it and its ties to their friendship. We don’t really get to see them learn magic anymore, they didn’t really learn anything new either this season except for how to transform but even then, it’s not like they were flying either. If poor CGI wings is the most magical this show is going to get, it’s mighty disappointing. Again, not expecting bright costumes and saying spell names before they attack but at the very least, the series could show their journey and progress as fairies.
Before I get into the positives (yes, there are and I do intend on speaking about them), one major gripe I have with this show is the dilution of things. For example, that man is not Valtor, I hope the fans are right and it’s his son or something because the Valtor I know, he’s just not that. Although considering the storyline they gave him and his connection to Bloom, I don’t think our Valtor is actually showing up in this show and that they actually did intend on making the live-action Valtor. Another example is when Sky takes Bloom horseriding which gave me heavy ‘Magical Adventure’ vibes, well if only they played it out a bit more. Using ‘Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)’ by the way, was inspired. While that scene was great, I just feel like they could’ve been much more cinematic with the presentation of the scene and the overall tone. It felt a bit cheap honestly and even though I loved that they used Taylor Swift, I think a proper cinematic score would fit the show much more than a pop track every five seconds. Even when the Specialists fight in the finale, it’s filmed in the most boring of ways, I just feel that a show with this interesting a world and that rich lore, it should be reflected in the presentation of the show. It shouldn’t look or feel cheap and sometimes it does. If you’re tackling dark academia with fairies and witches, take a page from shows like ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ where it matures the source material with dark storytelling but maintains a rich aesthetic that expands on the original look. From the few episodes I’ve seen, that show fully embraces magic whereas this show uses it very mildly and unsatisfyingly.
Onto what I did like about Season 2, there is quite a bit to talk about which surprises me considering how appalled I was by that first season. For the first time ever, they actually managed to translate some of the elements from the story of the original show and expanded on them quite brilliantly honestly. The way they’re playing around with the lore around the villains is particularly fun and intriguing. Beatrix having two sisters was a great reveal and it gave this version of Stormy more depth than the original show ever did. The hint at Lord Darkar and the mention of the Shadow Realm were very cool, I hope it’s a proper Darkar with the suit and the glowing red eyes and not just some white man in a sweatshirt again. They used Valtor in the same way they used him in the series with him manipulating Bloom to ask about her parents and it was done much better in the cartoon than it was done here. They did almost make him a Professor Avalon type of character so I guess it sorta works but overall it’s just weird. I don’t think the show will go so far as to introduce Pixies but there is a lot to take from if we’re getting the Lord Darkar storyline next season, a lot to play with. Also shoutout to Rosalind for being a very intimidating and entertaining villain.
One of the instant improvements this season was the change-up of the group dynamic. In the first season, the girls were constantly lying to each other and getting angry at one another. Here they actually feel like friends that love each other and are supportive instead of liars. The anticipated addition of Flora was great! She is one of the more accurate representations of her respective character. Her essential kindness was present many times which I loved. Terra, however, I want to defend her but she can be so annoying sometimes, she will ruin the mood in a room flawlessly, I’m glad she got a girlfriend though, maybe she can finally be happy again and not bitter. Speaking of romance, I love love, LOVED the romance this season, well except for Bloom and Sky. The others were great though! As much as I loved Aisha and Grey together, I can already see the seeds sewn for Nabu to enter the scene and for Aisha to overcome the fear of love and be vulnerable again like its writing itself do you see? Also, Musa and Sam, I won’t lie, I was very disappointed by the decision to kick Sam off the show like that but somehow the show managed to get me excited to see Musa and Riven together even though I never liked them in the original show. Also Stella and Beatrix?? I see it and I appreciate it.
Overall, ‘Fate: The Winx Saga’ Season 2 proved to be a massive improvement with a much more entertaining story that feels more reminiscent of the original show. The characters are much more well-written, the romance, drama and story are much more compelling than they ever were and I do feel that it does try harder to be a better show and I feel that with another big push and some more creativity thrown in, the show could reach it’s full potential. Bring in Daphne and have her guide Bloom, adapt the ‘Secret of the Lost Kingdom‘ story, introduce other planets and explore Solaria and Andros. Get Tecna in the group, even if she’s just a specialist who is very good with technology. The ideas are there, the lore is rich and there is much to do, it’s up to this show to see if they want to have fun with it. For what it’s worth, I’m actually kinda excited for Season 3 now.
‘Fate: The Winx Saga’ Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.