Heartstopper has finally arrived on Netflix, and you need to bump it up in your queue ASAP. Alice Oseman’s beloved Webtoon comic-turned-graphic-novel has been lauded by many for its queer romance and all-around tenderness. The show does not miss on this front as an adaptation, delivering an uplifting story that will surely brighten your day.
Perfect for fans of Love, Simon (2018) and the stylistic charm of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, Heartstopper is a boy meets boy British coming-of-age narrative. It follows Charlie Spring (Joe Locke), gentle and music-loving, played by Locke in his acting debut, and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor), a seemingly popular and charming rugby jock, interpreted by Connor who is best known for his role as young Elton John in Rocketman (2019) and for voicing Pantalaimon in His Dark Materials. They meet at an all-boys school after they’re assigned to sit together in class. Charlie instantly develops a crush on his classmate but what starts as a friendship nurtured by a supposedly unrequited love, slowly seems to transform into something else, something lovingly unexpected.
Charlie is out to the entire school after ill-natured circumstances and an abundant amount of bullying that is prevalent throughout the season. Through him, we explore the more unhealthy sides of relationships and romance until he meets Nick. Due to this, his friends Elle Argent (Yasmin Finney), who has transferred to an all-girls school after experiencing her fair share of bullying as well, Isaac Henderson (Tobie Donovan), and Tao Xu (William Gao) especially are very protective of him.
Nick himself embarks on a journey of discovering who he is throughout the season. He seeks solace in his friendship and eventual romance with Charlie. This leads him to question not only his sexuality but the people he surrounds himself with.
The show at times plays off as a more wholesome version of Netflix’s Sex Education. With an eccentric group of quirky and loveable characters, it is impossible not to fall in love with all of them and root for them to become the best versions of themselves as they find a space to feel safe enough in this world.
Alice Oseman serves not only as the author of the original work the show is based on but also as the creator and writer of the adaptation. Considering the abundant amount of creative control Oseman was given, it is no wonder that the show feels so genuine, natural, and loyal. Heartstopper also counts on the direction of Euros Lyn whose past extensive credentials include Torchwood, Doctor Who, His Dark Materials, Daredevil, and much more.
The most recent addition to the Netflix library does wonders for LGBTQIA+ representation that many, including myself, have been dreaming of. Oseman and the crew are able to recreate the security many readers felt while reading the original comic. While the characters do have their hardships and the show does have its occasional moments of conflict, the characters are never in danger. It is respectful, inspiring, and genuinely one of the sweetest shows available right now. Heartstopper also heavily thrives off of the fact that there is no right way to come out. It dives into self-discovery in an authentic and careful way by portraying both the fear and the catharsis that comes with exploring your identity.
Without a doubt, Netflix struck gold with this one.
The first season of Heartstopper is now available to stream only on Netflix.