Midway by means of the primary episode of “Destiny: The Winx Saga,” I noticed precisely why it felt so acquainted.
The new Netflix collection follows Bloom (Abigail Cowen), a bright-eyed, redheaded American fairy with a mysterious previous who enrolls at Alfea, a legendary fairy college in an undisclosed magical location (although everybody else’s British accents present a touch). She’s lovely and spunky, a mix that instantly catches the eye of Sky (Danny Griffin), who’s each the most well-liked boy in class and the current ex-boyfriend of her jealous suitemate, Stella (Hannah van der Westhuysen). In contrast to her friends, Bloom solely lately discovered about her powers when she misplaced management and set her household’s home ablaze. Nonetheless, her lecturers quietly agree that she has unbelievable potential like nobody else on the college, a reality borne out as soon as Bloom embraces her powers as a substitute of operating away from them. As soon as she understands her household historical past and the best way to use her singular strengths, it’s implied that Bloom would be the most extraordinary fairy the college has ever seen.
In idea, “Destiny: The Winx Saga” — from “The Vampire Diaries” producer Brian Younger — is an adaptation of Iginio Straffi’s Italian cartoon “Winx Club,” which ended up on Nickelodeon. The Netflix model, nevertheless, has way more aesthetically in frequent with a CW drama than its supply materials, which appears like what would possibly occur if a psychedelic Lisa Frank cartoon got here to guffawing life. Greater than something, although, watching “Destiny: The Winx Saga” appears like watching a tortured Mary Sue fan fiction come to life.
For these of you who didn’t spend your early teenagers scouring corners of the web for fanfic, a “Mary Sue” refers to a seemingly good character who in some way has connections to everybody and inevitably is the important thing to every thing. This trope isn’t restricted to fanfic; many heroic characters in all probability qualify, in any case. However the “Mary Sue” is notorious in fan fiction for being shoehorned into an present narrative, in all probability as an extension of the author, to make every thing revolve round them it doesn’t matter what. Bloom — along with her uncommon look, origin story and skills — is such a spot-on encapsulation of what essentially the most annoying Mary Sue might be that it virtually circles again to being spectacular.
Bloom’s character isn’t the one facet of the collection that appears like a mashup of clichés, although. There’s additionally golden boy Sky, broken princess Stella, and aspiring unhealthy boy Riv (Freddie Thorp). There’s Bloom’s roommate Aisha (Valuable Mustapha), the one Black lady with any traces on the present, however who principally spends her time worrying about Bloom. The solely characters who come near breaking out of typical molds are Musa (Elisha Applebaum) and Terra (Eliot Salt), an empath and an earth fairy, respectively, who each get barely extra nuanced storylines exterior everybody else’s fairy melodrama. (It’s price noting, nevertheless, that each Musa and Terra seem like whitewashed variations of the Nickelodeon characters that impressed them, which is disappointing, to say the least.)
In any other case, the characters, setting and plots all really feel just like the present took “Harry Potter,” put it by means of a “Fairly Little Liars” filter and multiplied all of it by “The Starvation Video games.” And on that rating, to be truthful, “Destiny: The Winx Saga” has some modicum of self-awareness. When Bloom first meets Aisha, for instance, the 2 instantly ask one another which Hogwarts home they establish with essentially the most and dimension one another up accordingly. (Aisha is a well-meaning if barely judgmental Gryffindor; Bloom, naturally, is a self-identified Slytherin.) That the collection is aware of from whence it got here could make even its silliest moments tolerable, although not notably attention-grabbing.
Because it’s following such a well-established set of tropes, “Destiny: The Winx Saga” is never shocking — however it’s unusual, in a manner that’s additionally changing into too acquainted. Whereas tailored from an animated present about pals that was largely focused at pre-teens, it takes a web page out of the “Riverdale” ebook by giving every thing an ominous sheen of horny intrigue. These fairy teenagers don’t simply steal strategy to the woods to flaunt their powers, but in addition play beer pong, curse one another out and joke about “butt stuff.” So, it’s not precisely acceptable for the kid viewers the unique cartoon was, but it surely additionally leans so exhausting on essentially the most primary features of the YA franchises that preceded it that “Destiny: The Winx Saga” won’t be all that intriguing to the older teen viewers it’s searching for, both.
Netflix has lengthy been the wild west of streaming networks, stuffed to the brim with extra reveals than anybody can fairly sustain with. There’s little doubt that even when “Destiny: The Winx Saga” doesn’t gentle the service on hearth with thousands and thousands of viewers that it’ll finally discover an viewers bored sufficient to devour its six episodes entire. However by rejecting the aesthetic and vibe of its supply materials totally for a pale imitation of different YA properties, “Destiny: The Winx Saga” would possibly simply find yourself slipping by means of the cracks.
“Destiny: The Winx Saga” is streaming now on Netflix.