Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. In live action.
Almost two years ago I reviewed Heartstopper Volumes 1-3. It was one of the cutest series I ever got into and I still highly recommend reading them. I’ve actually reread them since the show came out.
However, I have watched the show twice…for research. The episodes are around 20-30 minutes with eight of them, so if you’re looking to binge it, it won’t take up your entire day.
The Netflix show follows the graphic novels to a T. We meet Charlie, an openly gay teenager who secretly meets with another boy, Ben, to make out in secret but always feeling less than because Ben doesn’t want anyone to know while having his friends Tao, Elle, and Isaac to confide in.
One day he meets Nick in form and they slowly start to become friends. Nick asks Charlie to join the rugby team, they start hanging out on the weekends, all the while Charlie starts to fall for Nick despite his friends telling him to stop.
But then Nick starts falling for Charlie too.
We also get more time with Tao and Elle, along with Tara and Darcy, a lesbian couple who befriends Elle once she starts going to an all-girl school. I like how much more time these characters get on screen since the novels primarily follow Nick and Charlie.
In A Romantic Way, Not Just A Friend Way
I swear this show literally took everything from the books, literally plucked them from the page to live action. The dialogue, scenes, and especially the characters.
Nick and Charlie’s chemistry is so good that you can’t help but smile the first time they say hi, of many times, to each other. They brought so much more life to the characters who were already well written.
There are so many small details like drawn flowers or hearts popping up when they look at each other, which are from the graphic novels. It’s another way for us to see how their feelings are changing and just gives something unique to the show.
It’s only been ten years since I was in high school (actually, that makes me want to puke) but even then, there weren’t many great LGBTQ+ representations out there. Characters were either stereotypes or on the side whose personality was “gay.” I know I’ve seen a lot of people my age (and all ages) wishing they had something like this back then. As someone whose bisexual and questioned it at Nick’s age, I too can’t help but wonder that as well.
But I’m glad the younger generation now gets something that’s just wholesome, diverse, and doesn’t get too dark. Compared to other teen shows out there, this is a great example of comfort show. You can’t help but smile every time these characters, and not just Nick and Charlie, interact.
Also, a side note: It’s nice seeing actual teenagers play teenagers.
Heartstopper is one of the best live-action adaptations I’ve ever seen. It gets so much of the graphic novels right but is still able to add more and make it work. I’m so happy to see all of the recognition it’s getting, as it rightfully does, and here’s hoping for a season two…Netflix.