Hulu’s original series Love, Victor is a touching spin-off of the 20th Century Studios film Love, Simon. The 2018 adaptation of the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli told a forced coming out story in two-hours. This series, on the other hand, allows a different story set in the same universe to unfold over the course of ten episodes.

Victor is the oldest son of a Columbian-American family from Texas that uproots and moves to Atlanta. On his first day at Creekwood High, he hears about Simon Spier, a boy who was dragged out of the closet a few years prior. Struggling with his own sexuality, Victor reaches out to Simon and starts a text exchange as he navigates his new life. Each half-hour episode is bookended by a message to or from Simon, narrated by Nick Robinson.

Love, Victor captures elements of the magic of Love, Simon, but makes it clear from the getgo that this isn’t a mere rehash. Just because the creators have already told a coming out story doesn’t mean there isn’t room for another and Victor’s story is quite different from Simon’s. But you still get some of the same hilarious teachers from the film, the series has a strong musical identity, and it tells a beautiful, heartwarming coming of age story that also happens to be a coming out story.

Originally conceived as a Disney+ series, the show was moved to Hulu as the project evolved. That doesn’t mean it’s full of objectionable content, but the reality is that the story is better told as an honest portrayal of teenage development and not a sugar-coated Disney Channel version. On Hulu, the show uses relatable teen language and deals with sexuality and discovery. But like Love, Simon, it refrains from showing anything beyond a few kisses here and there.

A core element of both Love, Simon and Love, Victor is the family dynamic and Victor’s family is quite a bit different from Simon’s. Religion wasn’t touched upon in the original film, but Victor’s mother Isabel, played by Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty), wears a cross on her neck and prays. He has a sister who’s just one year younger than him and far more rebellious, and a younger brother half his age who likes to play with a light-up Elsa wand, prompting his father to make some comments to Victor about hoping it’s just a phase his son grows out of. The series spends a decent amount of time developing the family, which helps to underscore the anxiety buildup for Victor as he comes to terms with who he really is.

As the new kid in town, Victor’s peer group grows from the start of the first episode with his quirky neighbor Felix quickly becoming his best friend. A big departure from Love, Simon is the presence of a girlfriend named Mia, played by the charismatic Rachel Hilson (This is Us). She comes with a hilariously self-absorbed best friend named Lake (Bebe Wood, The Real O’Neals) who is Felix’s ultimate crush. And then there’s Benji (George Sear, The Evermoor Chronicles), an out teenager at Creekwood High who becomes Victor’s manager at a local coffee shop who he has a big crush on.

Fans of Love, Simon will appreciate the way Love, Victor celebrates the film while daring to be different. Like Simon and Victor, the series is courageous, original, and fresh. It constantly surprises and delights viewers, you won’t want it to end.

I give Love, Victor 5 out of 5 light-up Elsa wands.

Love, Victor premieres June 19th only on Hulu.

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