Heartwarming and genuinely joyful, “Heartstopper” season 2 seemingly brings the graphic novel characters straight off the page and onto the screen. Enriched with both lighthearted friendships and earnest moments that address heavier topics, the show had me grinning from ear to ear from the moment the first episode began.
Adapted from Alice Oseman’s series of graphic novels with the same title, “Heartstopper” follows Nick (Kit Connor) and Charlie (Joe Locke) as they navigate their feelings and relationship as it evolves. The first season saw Nick and Charlie discover themselves. Accompanied by their group of endearing and supportive friends, the teens stumble through life, overcoming the challenges of young adulthood. However, the second season takes a refreshing twist as the entire group leaves the UK and heads to Paris, France for a school trip. The series allows the audience to immerse themselves in the quirky friend group and have a more intimate look into their blooming relationships.
One of my favorite parts of last season was the friend group that Charlie introduces Nick to. From the original trio of Tao, Elle and Isaac to the new additions of Tara and Darcy, the close bonds are reminiscent of the authentic friendships that arise throughout adolescence. The new episodes are built upon these established relationships and give the secondary characters more time to develop, while keeping the spotlight on Nick and Charlie‘s love story. By discussing the family dynamics and personal lives of the supporting cast, the show made me feel like I was a part of their group — as if I was there going to school dances and exploring the streets of France. It is not often that you see such strong and wholesome friendships depicted in mainstream media, let alone such friendships between boys. Often, high school friendships are depicted as drama-filled and toxic. Heartstopper does a fantastic job of pushing the plot through drama while maintaining the innocent nature of young friendships.
Following the plot of the graphic novels, the students all fly off to France to get up to their usual antics, but with a Parisian twist. Though Paris is not a rare backdrop in media for European adventures, seeing it through the pastel-colored lens of the Heartstopper cast was practically perfect. The lighting and color design in the show stands out because of its distinct colorful aesthetic that goes along with the original illustrations. To match whatever significant plot moments happen, tiny cartoon doodles appear around the characters involved. It is a wonderful storytelling technique that relates the show back to its graphic novel roots, and an adorable framing device that helps the audience clue into foreshadowing.
The second season of “Heartstopper” delivered exactly what I wanted it to — a continuation of a wholesome story about two boys learning the ins and outs of being queer today and figuring out how that fits within the bigger picture of their lives. Seeing this story felt fresh and new among existing media about queer people that often puts them in difficult, mentally grueling storylines. Sometimes a little dose of happiness is just what the doctor ordered, and “Heartstopper” delivers that. Their relationship dynamic is a joyful representation of young, queer love in a way that felt like a love letter to the LGBTQ+ community. Personally, I might have liked this season even more than the last because of how the dynamic between the characters has been established. Since all the episodes that have been released so far have been nothing short of exceptional, the third season, which has already been confirmed, has some large shoes to fill.
Endearing, loveable and maybe even heart-stopping, the newest season of “Heartstopper” is a perfect summer series to add to your Netflix watch list.