Monday, February 13, 2012

Will Winx Club be successful a second time in North America?

Before Nickelodeon, 4kids (same people who originally brought us Pokemon) had dubbed the Winx Club in June 2004. They had made a lot of changes to appeal to American tastes and censorship. If I remember correctly, Winx Club had been the only girl show and 4kids made a great push to sell it. They sold a variety of  dolls, DVDs, shows at malls and even the comics for a short time. They did pretty well because of the show's aesthetics appealing to girls. Unfortunately, the show puttered and its popularity died.

Now we have Nickelodeon doing the same. They aired one-hour specials and season three. They are hyping dolls and the fact that they are co-producing the next two seasons.

I fear that what happened to 4kids with Winx Club will happen to Nickelodeon. Sure, they have enough money and global power to make the series popular but being good at selling will only get them so far. One needs to have a quality product to back up the confidence to sell. I love the series and have been watching it since 2004, but I also know that Winx Club is not necessarily the best-made show out there in terms of narrative. Winx Club has a weak story.

I believe that one of the Winx Club's greatest obstacles is Children's Television Act of 1990 from the United States. Specifically, any articles pertaining to "E/I." ("E/I" stands for "educational and informational." Pardon me if I make an interpretational mistakes.) The act basically says that any shows aimed for an audience less than 18 years old has to have elements of either being academically or morally educational. For those of you who hated the 4kids dubs because they changed the storyline too much, this might be why the show was changed so drastically. Some of the original narratives in the series might not have been sufficient for the E/I rating, explaing why some of the episodes were completely revised. It also explains why we don't have that many shows from outside North American aired on TV.

E/I tv bug on upper right
I bet that when Winx Club was first drafted, the writers did not think to compensate for American censorship and we can't blame them. On the contrary, American shows often take into account the E/I rating while creating the show. It's a very European concept to be born with greatness: Bloom is born with the ultimate powers and happens to be a long lost princess who saves the world and finds her parents. I believe that this might be one of the reasons why the show was not successful with 4kids.

With Nickelodeon co-producing season five and six, I hope that they make a better story out of the series, because I honestly don't think that they will get very far with the current quality of storytelling the Winx Club has right now. They have a unique aesthetic appeal but one can only get so far with beauty that will no doubt make them money, but they need to get past that and realise that they have a show with potential.


  1. The story telling isn't going that well true but remember that E/I bug doesn't apply to cable so they Nick doesn't have to worry about it. It only applied to the local channels like CBS,NBC,FOX,PBS,ABC,Pax/i/ion and their affiliates any cable network doesn't have to do it all though the hub certainly seems to like doing it.

  2. does anyone know the release date of the new seasons yet?


  4. Someone debate and argue with me:
    Can I start with a praise for Kikurukina? Because I think she needs a deep bow for keeping this place alive after Phoebe left - I've also never said this before, but I respect her as a Winx fan. Sheś smart critial and her articles are interesting. Plus She's an " Old School" fan and one day I'd wish someone would say stuff like that to me so I'm saying it to her....
    Now then - It can't be good for both EU and Us. Our nations are just so bloody different. There might be some Golden Midway as they say, but it's almost impossible to achieve. Right now my biggest fear is Winx Club becoming too American

    On a Side note - May I raise this topic in My forum as well? ( Yes - it goes without saying I will leave credits) * deep bow*
    I see your Question and it's a good one I also give you some deep respect for daring to say WInx has a weak story line. Although my first thought WAS to hit you in the head with a pan. Actually I think the original first seasons had an amazing plot at points.

    No as an European I'm actually interested in hearing of that sort of LAW. Also - as an European I never liked most American cartoons , because they were following these principle. even as a kid I found them cheesy and stupid.

    Now here I sort of see a problem - I think Winx Club is capable of becoming that kind of " American" series. As much as I hate saying this - they'll sell the soul of the series for it's success. If Winx Club were to become more Educational- I would hate it. And Because I doubt They'll make American AND European version of season 5, Winx Club actually stands with a change of loosing Itś European fans when gaining the US ones... though of that??

  5. I will agree with Kiku. Winx club is approite for age groups either you 4 or 14 , anything really. Its not over EI, but will have points and morals. Its has action , adventure , friendship and magic also so she show is plainly not dull.

  6. Winxhelina,

    First of all, thank you for the kind words.

    Secondly, I understand your concerns and I sympathise. You're right when you say that Europe and North America are two completely different cultures. I live in Quebec, where its both America yet rural Europe at the same time because we border the USA yet we speak French and get a steady influx of European immigrants and it is an awkward juxtaposition to live in.

    Thirdly, Winx Club has a weak story in terms of storytelling because the overall story of the series (Bloom's story) is not necessarily something that would be approved by parents in North America. Like I said before, "[i]t's a very European concept to be born with greatness: Bloom is born with the ultimate powers and happens to be a long lost princess who saves the world and finds her parents." To add to that, Bloom was more or less expected to follow in her parents footsteps by being good Everything is thrown onto her and the only way that she can survive is by going through the motions of finding out her past. This is opposed to American storytelling where the protagonist is great by action. For example, take Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. She is initially peasant from rural France who is totally supportive of her father. There is nothing special about her, other than the fact that she can read. When she finds out that the Beast has taken her father captive, she lets Beast take her as his captive in place of her father because she knows her father is sick. That is self-sacrifice. This tells us that she is good because she cares for the weak. That is what makes her appeal to American parents. She is altruistic without any sort of artifice. At first, I had thought Bloom had been on the same sort of road in season one, but all of that was thrown out of the window in season two.

    Understand that the contrast between the hero being great by birth or being great by action is fundamental to our two societies. Europe is the origin of the "great by birth" idea. Europeans more or less have a greater respect for monarchies simply because of distance and tradition. North America, or rather the USA, was founded on the idea being indepedent from monarchies. Look at the American Revolution. Americans found it unacceptable that they would be taxed by a king that they did not know or care for, so they decided to make their own country. They did not want people they did not know controlling their lives anymore. It's basically breaking away from the serfdom mould.

    As for Winx Club becoming too Americanised, I don't blame you. I don't think that American cartoons are superior to European cartoons. Each have their pros and cons. I like the idea that Nickelodeon picked up the show because I know that they can pump out some quality stories, but I, by looking at the cast list for the series, I have my fears.

    Lastly, yes, you can bring this up in your forum so long as you provide a link back.

    1. Kikurukina,
      I apologize for being so late with my reply. I've lived in the Kuroshitsuji( Black Butler)world recently - no I'm not planning to abandon Winx Club.
      Well I always love your honesty.
      But I guess this is where we start to fight. I always get in fight with Americans so this is a usual thong for me. Okay I try to be very nice and I apologize in advance if I hurt you feelings.
      Well I have never really thought of your ideas in that terms, but yes that is true in some aspects. However - hm, I don't necessarily think you're phrasing it right - It kinda sounds like Europeans think of themselves better than Americans and You guys are all free and independent and equal while we are selfish and think good of ourselves. Well that being said I think Bloom is a bit selfish But I do think that both Americans and Europeans take pride in themselves just as equally - You can't possibly say you guys don't think you are " born to be great" - most of you think that. You take Great pride in your country and that you are born within it and therefore you take pride in yourself. So in those terms relating with Bloom shouldn't be that big of a problem......
      Abd by the way - Does the main character even has to be likeble for the series to be loveable? Cause I kinda hate Bloom.
      Thank you for your thoughts.

  7. So wait, I'm a little confused. I had know idea that American cartoons had to be a little educational if aimed at children under 18. So heres a question for Kikurukina: How is a show such as iCarly or Victorious considered educational?

  8. Cynthia, I assume that you are refering to them being academically educational? Shows do not need to necessarily being academically educational. They can character-building in the sense where children watch characters that make right decisions or learn a moral at the end of the episode so that they can learn the right behaviour. If not, something I didn't mention is that stations only need three hours worth of E/I rated shows per day.

  9. Like Helina, I'd like to start of by saying a huge thank you to Kikurukina. She may not be exactly the most diplomatic of people (and please, I don't mean this offensively, I just mean to say that some people find you slightly blunt, but personally I feel that it's wonderful how you speak your mind), but she has managed to keep this site alive. Not only is she a talented writer, she clearly has the management skills it will take to keep this site running after the departure of our dear Phoebe. So everyone please, a round of applause for her.

    I'd also like to say that quite honestly, I'm happy that Nick doesn't edit as much as 4Kids did. Quite honestly, I could only ever watch the RAI English Dub because every time I saw 4Kids, I was only reminded of how much they changed the storyline. I'm sorry, 4Kids fans, I don't mean to offend you, but it's the truth.

    Perhaps to keep ratings up in America, they could move away slightly from the whole 'Bloom finding out she's a lost princess etc.' storyline. I mean quite honestly, that line is done! It finished with Season 3 and the 1st movie. If the 5th season really does have something to do with an oil spill/natural disaster, than isn't it becoming more educational? I mean, children do need to learn about environmental issues, and it seems to me that Winx Club will be sort of tackling these through Season 5.

      I agree with everything you said about KIkurukina too. And I love her bluntness
      I just want to make a very personal statement - please no one be offended - If Winx is going to talk about natural disasters and environment I'm going to him my head against the wall - repeatedly. Even when I was younger I never liked bluntly educational series - the educational part must be carefully braided into the series not just be there. Plus it would be like saying:" We no longer have ANY interesting ideas, but we're not closing the shop cause we are so popular, "

  10. I think it's annoying how shows from the U.S. can easily be broadcast on European networks yet it's harder to do the opposite.
    However, there are ways animation firms can work around the E/I issue. I remember how, back in the 1990's, some cartoons included small snapshots of the characters from the show talking about educational themes at the end of each episode. They were loosly based on a location or event that took place in that particular episode.
    It would take a bit more work on the animation firm's side, but they could pull it off.

    As an example, here's Ace McCloud explaining how holograms are made:

  11. Oh, I get it now. Thanks for telling me Kikurukina. :)

    Btw, you're doing a great job with being a writer for this site since Phoebe left. Keep up the good work!

  12. This is nothing but opinionated crap....there is NOTHING in here stated with facts....It's what you think...I was hoping to read something with real facts...but I guess the only way to get an intelligent point of view these days is from scientists. *sigh*....

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. IF I CAN HELP IT.................YESSSSSSSSSSS

  14. We girls are the winx energy creatin our magic power we'll defeat the evil deeds of trix were the new ones with the winx! En-chan-tix oh ho ho oh oh enchantix magical powder maximum power encantix powerful part of me powerful magical wonderful dimension powerful enchantix incredible vision incredible power winx enchantix.Belivix your magical all you gotta do is believe in your self and everything will change you got the power believix someone will come feel the magic urging right throu your heart everythings magical it's a higher energy.Har-mo-nix yea he he yeah Harmonix we'll the evil were stronger than ever Harmonix winx we are powerful we can do anything love someone it's special we have the harmonix we'll defeat evil we'll love someone winx Har-mo-nix! ;)

  15. Not all the shows 4kids aired back then were educational like Sonic X and Kirby. They also aired other girls' cartoons including Magical Doremi, Bratz, and Mew Mew Power.