Why Heartstopper May Be the Best Teen Series of the Year


Spoiler Warning: HeartstopperHeartstopperthe latest coming-of-age romance show from Netflix, has taken the internet by storm. Adapted from a series of graphic novels, which were based on webcomics, the series follows Year 10 student Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) on his journey to find love after a falling out with his crush Ben (Sebastian Croft). Love comes in the form of the school’s older star rugby player.

Charlie isn’t the only one trying to find love. He sits next to that older boy in form class. Nick Nelson (Kit Connor) is trying to label his sexuality as he and Charlie get to know each other, and it looks like sparks may be flying between two of Charlie’s best friends. There are missteps and miscommunications along the way, but it seems to work out for everyone in the end.

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Netflix has tons of shows about being in high schoolso what makes Heartstopper different? Heartstopper gives audiences a look at relevant, relatable situations while maintaining an upbeat tone that can not help but draw people in.

Heartstopper’s Representation

The trailer for Heartstopper shows Charlie and Nick and a quick look at the lesbian couple Tara (Corinna Brown) and Darcy (Kizzy Edgell), but it does not get into the other LGBTQ + representation featured in the show. It hints at Nick’s struggle over his own identity and orientation, Charlie’s heartbreak over crushing on thought-to-be straight guys, and his kind-of breakup, but there is so much more to show than the love stories.

There’s the bullying Charlie faces by Year 11 students, the homophobia Tara and Darcy experience after coming out to their peers, the secret relationship Charlie is in at the start of the show, and so much more. All the situations the characters experience is relatable in one way or another for everyone, from being bullied to crushing on someone that will not, or cannot, like you back.

There is also a trans character named Elle, played by trans actress Yasmin Finney. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Finney discusses how much she related to Elle. She even experienced some events Elle did in the show in her life, like almost being expelled for the length of her hair. It was wonderful to see the ample amount of representation in the show and that a key character like Elle was cast with an actress that could relate to the character’s struggles.

Related: 5 Shows Like Heartstopper to Watch Next

Finney was not the only one who could relate to their character. While speaking with Attitude, Locke discussed how he relates to Charlie and how his life as a gay man has been different from his character’s. He did not go to an all-boys school, and he attributes attending a coed school as the reason he did not have as many troubles with bullies as Charlie does. Locke notes he did experience hurtful language thrown his way growing up, but it was only a handful of times. Still, he was able to relate to Charlie in several ways, which rings through in the series.

The Support

When Nick comes out to his mom, Sarah (Olivia Colman), towards the end of the season after a wonderful day at the beach with Charlie, she reacts perfectly. She is an amazing example of how a parent should respond when their child shares something so personal with them. It was heartwarming to see such a kind and positive reaction, especially in comparison with the bullying throughout the series.

Sarah is not the only character to show her support for someone’s relationship and identity. Elle transferred from Truham Grammar School, the boys’ school, to Harvey Greene Grammar School for Girls, but she did not lose her friends. Charlie, Issac, and Tao are still there for her, using her correct pronouns and clearly making an effort not to refer to who she was before her transition. The respect they have for Elle is apparent and adds to the heartwarming nature of the show.

Related: These Are Our Favorite LGBTQ + TV Characters of All Time

Tao and Nick are also great supporters, standing up to Harry and his gang of rugby boys when they bully Charlie. While Tao stands up to him throughout the series, it takes Nick a bit more time and self-realization before he tells Harry and his group off for their comments about Charlie after a night at the movies. It’s always nice to see peers standing up against bigotry, especially at that age.

The Atmosphere

Despite the sad or difficult parts of the series, Heartstopper maintains an atmosphere that is hopeful and sweet. At its core, it’s a coming-of-age series that has all the best parts of a teen series: a great soundtrack, an epic romance, and adorable scenes in various forms of precipitation. When Harry is bullying Charlie or the audience has to watch Charlie break down, the upbeat nature and tone aren’t lost. The show discusses heavy themes at times, and, even then, it does not feel like the hopefulness has vanished.

Heartstopper is the perfect series for people wanting a fun, feel-good show that covers relevant topics and themes. In today’s times, a show like this is just what everyone needs.



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