Fate: The Winx Saga, Netflix’s live action take on Winx Club, gives the popular magical girl series an edgier makeover. And while, yes, that means greater and more terrifying forces of evil, it also means the teen fairies party with their friends, post on social media, and hook up with gorgeous love interests.
“For us, it’s always really important to be able to ground the stories in real human elements,” creator Brian Young, best known for The Vampire Diaries, explains. “And to ground the stories in real emotion so that they still feel they still feel relatable and they still feel like something that everybody can point to be like, I experienced something like this — without the monster.”
The school full of cute boys was a feature of the original show. Called Red Fountain, the academy was home to the “specialists” — basically, in-universe knights. Fate: The Winx Saga keeps the whole knight thing, but updates the schools for more modern sensibilities: Girls and boys alike can train as fairies or specialists, depending on if they have powers or not. The live-action show also updates the dreamy love interests to be a little more appealing to the target young adult audience than the prince-like cartoon equivalents, and makes the romance a big part of the show in a way that distinctly appeals to young women.
A standout example from this season is when fiery fire fairy Bloom (Abigail Cowen) and valiant, yet oh-so perfectly brooding Sky (Danny Griffin) take a brief trip to Sky’s childhood home. They’re looking for some key documents, but while they explore the picturesque countryside, they find a herd of horses. Sky then takes Bloom on a romantic horseback ride while Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” swells in the background. It’s a shamelessly indulgent teenage dream, with a focus on Sky’s sensitive side and his affection for animals, both of which make him a dreamboat in Bloom’s eyes. Sky offers up some memories of his past and opens about his current struggles, showcasing a lovely display of emotional intelligence usually absent in hunky heroic knight-types. And the whole scene actually happened because of a request that Griffin made back in the first season.
“Danny [Griffin] is a horse boy!” laughs Young. “Danny loves horses so, so much. In season 1, he came up to us and he was like, Anything you can do to write horses into the show?”
As Young recalls, writer Victoria Bata specifically included a line where Bloom makes fun of Sky for being a bit of a horse boy, because of Griffin’s passion for horses. It became imperative to include a big ol’ horse scene for the horse boy.
“By the way,” Young adds. “Horses are not not easy to deal with. But we just knew we had to do it.”
Season 2 of Fate: The Winx Saga is out on Netflix now.