Oh good, a darker and edgier reboot of a children’s series. What could go wrong?
Welcome to Alfea, a university led by Headmistress Dowling (Eve Best) on an alternate plane where magically gifted women with fairy blood learn how to use their abilities. Among the new class is Bloom (Abigail Cowen), a fire fairy who grew up on Earth; her roommate Aisha (Precious Mustapha), a water fairy; Terra (Eliot Salt), an earth fairy; Musa (Elisha Applebaum), a psychic mind fairy; and Beatrix (Sadie Soverall), an air fairy who shoots lightning. They have a friendship and rivalry with second-year Stella (Hannah van der Westhuysen), a princess who is also a light fairy. The school also trains non-powered warriors called “specialists” who help defend the fairies, including Stella’s ex and Bloom’s love interest Sky (Danny Griffin), his best friend Riven (Freddie Thorp), and Terra’s brother Sam (Jacob Dudman). Together, they have to survive an attack by the “Burned Ones,” evil magical humanoids.
I’m aware that this was a cartoon show on Nickelodeon when I was younger, but it was marketed towards young girls and I generally never heard anything about it, so I knew basically nothing going into this review. I probably would have completely ignored it if it wasn’t the number 1 watch in the US on Netflix. I can only assume this is because a lot of people had watched the cartoon or because nothing else of note came out this week.
This show’s not good unless, I imagine, you have a lot of nostalgia to work with. It reminds me of everything that I didn’t like about the first season of Titans, where it goes too far out of the way to be “darker” than its source material. There’s not as much over-the-top brooding and swearing, but it’s filled with a lot of teenage angst and weird relationship drama. Apparently the team that made this was largely picked up from the Vampire Diaries and, even though I’ve never seen that show, that information seems to completely track.
The performances aren’t bad, and I actually liked Eliot Salt’s portrayal of Terra, a plus-sized and sweet girl living in a world filled primarily with extremely stereotypically attractive people, but the plot and the dialogue are so damned dull and overplayed that it’s irrelevant. Also, it seems like they skip over much of the mythology of the world and that’s kind of a bad thing when you’re in a fantasy setting like this.
Overall, just not great. If you like trashy teen fantasy, though, this is right up your alley.
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