In the vein of successful Netflix movies like the “To All the Boys” series and Amazon’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” “My Life With the Walter Boys” represents the latest iteration of a genre. Shamelessly derivative, the series revolves around an orphaned girl, Jackie (Nikki Rodriguez), faced with a choice between two dreamy brothers – the charismatic Cole (Noah LaLonde) and the sensitive Alex (Ashby Gentry). The narrative unfolds as Jackie, a New York teenager with Ivy League ambitions, is abruptly sent to live on a Colorado ranch with her mother’s friend Katherine (Sarah Rafferty), Katherine’s husband George (Marc Blucas), and their lively brood of hormonally preoccupied children.
The plot quickly develops as Jackie navigates her new surroundings, and the love triangle becomes apparent. Cole, a tousle-haired girl magnet and a former star quarterback with an aimless demeanor due to a leg injury, playfully nicknames Jackie “New York.” On the other hand, Alex, his more sensitive brother, expresses his feelings through longing stares. The series, reminiscent of the outdoorsy qualities of “Virgin River” and the teen-drama aspects of canceled CW shows, unfolds into a youthful soap opera. The 10-episode season introduces mini-dramas involving other siblings, classmates, and the parents’ finances as additional elements to the main event.
Adapted from Ali Novak’s novel by the creators of “The Kissing Booth” movies, “My Life With the Walter Boys” occasionally rises above its simple premise, such as when Jackie confronts mean-girl Erin (Alisha Newton) about her relationship with Cole. However, for the most part, the series adheres to a predictable blueprint that comfortably hits all the customary notes, occasionally feeling a bit too self-conscious. Nevertheless, the casting works well, making the series likely to find an audience.
While unapologetically aspiring to be the next “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” “My Life With the Walter Boys” embraces its lack of originality. Hanging out with the Walters brood may not be groundbreaking, but the combination of scenic wide-open spaces and the transformation of young love into a “team” sport remains a tried-and-true formula that resonates with viewers.