On August 3rd, 2023, fans of the hit Netflix series Heartstopper rejoiced as the second season finally dropped on the streaming platform. The show is based on an extensive webcomic series of the same name, written and illustrated by British author Alice Oseman, who is also a writer and producer of the series. The series follows high-school aged friends in England attending “secondary school,” and it primarily spotlights the budding love between two teens, Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor). Charlie and Nick come from different social circles, and the story depicts  their unlikely friendship and romance, and the drama this brings to their friend groups. The first season of Heartstopper, which came out in April of 2022, was extremely well-received; fans of the comics appreciated the accuracy and how the positivity from the books was reflected in the show, as most of the main plot points were translated well. 

The lead role of Charlie is Joe Locke’s first acting role, and he has been praised for his impressive performance and skill at only 18 years old when the show debuted. Kit Connor had some acting experience prior to Heartstopper, notably as a young Elton John in the biopic Rocket Man, but he also turned some heads as Nick. The show skyrocketed the popularity of all of the cast members, and they have been present in the media ever since its release, supporting  Pride and advocating for LGBTQ+ youth. Heartstopper is more than just a show, and gained an immense amount of traction prior to the second season. 

In my opinion, the second season somehow not only matched, but surpassed the first season in some aspects. Not only did the actors mature and grow into their characters, but the themes explored in the season (eating disorders, coming out, and bullying, among others) were handled with extreme maturity and care. Nick and Charlie explored a healthy, communicative relationship, which is rare to see in television, particularly queer television. Their friends, including characters Tao Xu (Will Gao), Elle Argent (Yasmin Finney), Tara Jones (Corinna Brown), and Darcy Olsson (Kizzy Edgell), also exhibited character growth, representing teens of diverse backgrounds and identities going through very real struggles and bonding with one another through this. The Heartstopper comics have always tackled complex themes and depicted well-rounded characters, but it’s truly incredible to see the art translated onto the big screen. The cast has clearly enjoyed themselves making such an admirable, enjoyable project, and have certainly left a lasting impression on viewers who can relate to their journeys. In addition, the episodes have always been slightly whimsical and fun in nature, containing little doodles reminiscent of Oseman’s art style in her comic drawings, so they are always a pleasant and easy watch. This is truly a show that I can return to again and again to rewatch my favorite parts. 

In May 2022, the producers of Heartstopper confirmed a second season and a third season of the show, so viewers are understandably already anticipating another installment. Unfortunately, due to the current Writers Strike, it is unclear when the third season will begin production, but I know I will definitely be ready when it does. In the meantime, you should definitely check out the Heartstopper webcomics, which can be found for free online (and are still being updated), and you should certainly check out the show!

Junior Emily Hanson is the Arts and Leisure Editor. Her email is ehanson@fandm.edu.