When Love, Simon arrived in movie theaters in 2018, it was a resounding success with a timely story that was bursting at the seams with heart.
Instead of pushing forward with a sequel starring Nick Robinson, the franchise is adapting to the streaming world with a new series focusing on a new teenager named Victor, who, much like Simon, is struggling with his sexuality.
Unfortunately, the series adaptation fails to capitalize on what made the movie and novel such a success.
Victor's story is understandably different fro Simon's, but the character comes across as one-dimensional for much of the ten-episode opening season.
At times, the series feels like it is throwing too many teen drama tropes on to the screen at the one time to take it seriously.
Michael Cimino is solid as Victor, but it's difficult to care much for a character who doesn't feel like the star of the show. By the time the final episode arrives, we haven't learned much about Victor, our titular character.
That's problematic for many reasons.
For a series that is supposed to follow a teenager coming out, Victor spends most of the season in a heterosexual relationship. I'm all for slow burns, but the series moves the plot along at an alarmingly slow pace.
Victor faces an uphill battle the moment he arrives in Creekwood. He's the new kid in town, but there isn't much of a struggle for him to fit in. That was the biggest surprise.
An adversary is introduced for him, but that storyline never reaches its potential. Instead, the series zeroes in on the relationships of all the characters.
It's unfortunate that Victor feels like a recurring player in the show that he is supposed to lead, but that's about where I'm at with his journey by the end of the season.
Sure, there are the typical teen drama bumps in the road, but the writers fail to strike a balance between comedy and drama.
One minute the series feels like it is a coming of age drama, and the next it comes across as a Disney Channel comedy. There is no in-between. It's jarring.
There is also forced dialogue that thrown in that will not have any correlation with the teens of today.
Love, Victor was initially in the works at Disney+, but much like High Fidelity, it was pushed to Hulu because of supposed adult content.
Some outlets were comparing it to Euphoria, and that could not be further from the truth. The series never strays from the General Audiences side of things into the Parental Guidance, which makes me wonder why Disney+ thought the series would be a better fit for Hulu.
At the heart of Love, Victor is Victor's family, and that's actually where most of the drama stems from.
Ana Ortiz and James Martinez play Victor's parents, who have moved their family across the country for undisclosed reasons.
There is a lot of family drama, and Ortiz and Martinez's characters feel much more developed by the end of the first season than Victor.
They are struggling to get acclimated to a new city, while simultaneously making sure their children are well looked after.
Isabella Ferreira emerges from the get-go as the strongest in the young cast. She plays Victor's younger sister, Pilar, a teenager who is less than thrilled about the move to a new state.
It's easy to connect with her character. She's leaving her friends, boyfriend, and everything she loved behind, while Victor seems very passive about the move.
Rachel Naomi Hilson is another standout in the cast as Mia. It's evident there is a lot of story there for the character to grow in the second season. Again, she is better fleshed out than our lead.
That's not to say Victor is a bad character, it's merely the way in which we're introduced to him, and the way we're supposed to believe the way he goes about things that causes problems.
Love, Victor does feel like a spiritual successor to the movie, but that's about it.
If Hulu does officially order a second season, the writers will be able to make some changes to resolve the issues that plague the series.
As things stand, Love, Victor does not hold a candle to its predecessor. What could have been a coming-of-age teen drama in similar vein to the movie, I'm left feeling like the series was a cash grab.
While there are flaws, the show's central messages will resonate with the audience, but it's difficult to discount the flaws in favor of the negatives.
There is a good show in there somewhere, but it will all come down to the changes that will be made for a sophomore run.
Victor should be at the wheel and not left on the periphery because we should be witnessing the struggles he faces as a teenager trying to navigate a life that is new to him.
Will you give the series a chance?
Love, Victor launches in the U.S. on Hulu Wednesday, June 17.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.