Heartstopper (S1 Review) | Sickeningly Sweet, A Bit Sour But It Works

Reading and reviewing a lot of M/M Romance books, and roaming around Tumblr, Alice Oseman‘s webcomic Heartstopper was already on my radar but this Netflix show – that she also wrote – was my first time with the material. Directed by Euros Lyn, a Welsh director who helmed Netflix’s Daredevil season 1 and 2 finales – that’s range. And staring Kit Connor (His Dark Material) and newcommer Joe Locke as the main leads, this British coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama is a gem in a sea of adult-leaning teen dramas.

Premise: Centered around two British teens, Nick Nelson and Charlie Spring, at an all-boys grammar school. Charlie, a high-strung, openly gay overthinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, one day are made to sit together in class. Their friendship quickly becomes something more for openly gay Charlie, but he initially does not believe he has a chance with Nick, but love works in surprising ways, with Nick more interested in Charlie than either of them realized. It also explores the lives of Charlie’s friends, Tao, Elle, Tara and Darcy. Heartstopper is about love, friendship, and loyalty. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make something larger.

Review: This show has a lot going for it. The episodes are short – less than 30min a piece -, perfect for binging but it’s packed with story. The pacing is great and straight-forward, and the tone is a tad unusual, grounded yet fantastical. It’s not a perfect world in which LGBTQ+ Teens live their lives and no one bats an eye or has a bad word to say about it. There are cutting moments that feel all too real because they are true, but the show shines brighter in its sweetness. There’s an innocent air about it accentuated by the colors, the overhall possitive and uplifting vibes of the show, and little animations peppered throughout that adds a bit of fantasy.

The series also manages to represent some of the Queer community without preaching or glossing over how we are still treated nowadays. The way the show handled the emotional journey each character is on was quite briliant. The characters were real and honest; The fear, the confusion, the denial, and what it’s like being in the closet is shown here – in a very, sometimes too, family-friendly way. It’s not your Elite, Euphoria, or Riverdal teen drama, it’s lighter, a bit fluffier but with some bite to it.

The cast is amazing and they do the story and life of Queer teens everywhere justice, that said Charlie’s sister Tori (Jenny Walser) is my favorite. She might be on the show for maybe three minutes but her character pops up at the right time, saying the right things, I love her.

I think this is a beautiful show, it put a smile on my face for a lot of the episodes, it’s very easy to follow, and completely worth watching.

Heartstopper was renewed for a second and third season so I can’t wait to see where this is going.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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