“You had been both a Winx or a W.I.T.C.H.,” an oft-circulated Tumblr publish declares.
That meme is referring to 2 animated exhibits that each debuted in 2004 and each centered round magical-girl groups led by a plucky redheaded protagonist. Whereas Winx Membership aired on Nickelodeon within the U.S. for 5 extra years earlier than getting an animated revival and a spin-off sequence, W.I.T.C.H. quietly departed from ABC after its second season. Nonetheless, to children who grew up watching them, the 2 exhibits had been inextricably linked, given their anime-influenced character designs, thrilling fantasy tales, and various casts. (And although younger American viewers may not have realized, each had roots in Europe, with Winx Membership originating in Italy, and W.I.T.C.H. being based mostly on an Italian comedian sequence of the identical title.)
Winx Membership’s recognition set it up for a latest revival: Netflix simply turned it right into a gritty live-action sequence. However the streaming service might’ve picked the incorrect present to faucet into that power. Each exhibits starred magical woman groups bond by friendship, however W.I.T.C.H. was a lot darker, and would higher match the tone of Netflix’s Destiny: The Winx Saga.
W.I.T.C.H. follows 5 teenage women — Will, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia, and Hay Lin (get it?) — who study that they’re Guardians of the Veil, superpowered beings who can management quintessence, water, hearth, earth, and air, respectively. They’re in control of defending the border between our common world and numerous fantasy worlds. The primary season primarily focuses on the world of Meridian, a medieval fantasy realm just lately taken over by evil prince Phobos and his snake-shapeshifter right-hand Cedric.
When the women find out about their powers and their new roles, they need to discover the rightful inheritor to the throne and free Meridian from Phobos’ rule. The women stability their twin lives, which suggests protecting their powers a secret from their households and different pals. Finally, they meet Meridian teenager Caleb, who at age 15 leads an underground riot. The sequence doesn’t must be remade as one thing darkish and edgy, as a result of it already is fairly darkish and edgy. W.I.T.C.H. was extra action-focused than Winx Membership, in an effort to broaden to a male viewers. That didn’t make it any much less of a woman present, however from the get-go, W.I.T.C.H. had that plot-heavy, action-focused vibe that Destiny: The Winx Saga tries its hand at. It’s jarring in The Winx Saga to see the protagonists studying a few warfare that scarred the era earlier than them, however the identical beat would work simply high quality in a W.I.T.C.H. replace, the place the women are already attempting to overthrow a despotic chief.
Even among the extra particular threads of Destiny: The Winx Saga — the strain between the women and the theme of fallible mentors — are current in W.I.T.C.H. Many of the W.I.T.C.H. protagonists know one another earlier than they obtain their powers, they usually don’t precisely get alongside. It’s much more true within the comics, the place new woman Will struggles to attach with the others when she first meets them, particularly when she’s dubbed their chief. Whereas the Guardians initially bicker, they slowly work towards a robust, enduring friendship.
W.I.T.C.H. can be forward of Winx Membership when coping with difficult relationships with mentor figures. The very foundation of how the Guardians get their powers units up that stress. Every era of Guardians passes their powers onto the following, and the second season of the present focuses on the present crew studying extra concerning the ladies who got here earlier than them — and the way one doomed the remaining by lusting after energy. Destiny: The Winx Saga provides these mentor relationships to the Winx world, however W.I.T.C.H. already did it 15 years in the past.
And on essentially the most superficial word doable, W.I.T.C.H.’s visible aesthetic was all the time grungier than the brilliant neon of Winx Membership. Through the day, the W.I.T.C.H. women attend Sheffield Institute, a brick-walled academy that appears extra just like the darkish academia vibes of Destiny: The Winx Saga’s tackle Alfea school than the unique pink whimsical partitions in Winx Membership ever did. Below Phobos’ rule, Meridian is enshrouded in shadow, storm, and fog, and the royal fortress’s hallways seize Gothic decadence. Even when Phobos is finally overthrown, Meridian is extra rooted in golden-swathed earth-tones than the jewel-toned worlds of Winx.
W.I.T.C.H appears primed and posed to turn out to be the darkish and edgy magical woman sequence that Destiny: The Winx Saga is attempting to be. However sadly, the short-lived present couldn’t be saved. Whereas the second season, led by showrunner Greg Weisman of Gargoyles and Younger Justice, arrange a 3rd, it by no means manifested. An previous discussion board publish claims it is because there was so little investor and producer curiosity.
Sadly, W.I.T.C.H. isn’t presently obtainable for streaming, and the DVDs solely launched in Europe, Australia, and the Philippines. Nonetheless, the reminiscence of W.I.T.C.H. lives on — in Tumblr posts, in fan artwork, and within the hanging parallels of a live-action present about 2004’s different five-member magical woman present. Possibly in the future it’ll land on Disney Plus, however till then, Destiny: The Winx Saga must suffice.