With all of the bad press surrounding Netflix due to its price increases and stock decreases, the recently released original series “Heartstopper” may have slipped under your radar.
Adapted from the graphic novel by Alice Oseman, which was originally released as an online webcomic, the eight-episode series follows teenage boys Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson as they turn their friendship into more.
The story of the series was engaging and well-paced. I was invested in all of the main couples and yelled “Just make out already!” at my TV more than a few times during moments of intense mutual pining. While it does resort to a few romantic tropes often found in media depictions of high school (or the British equivalent of secondary school), like an awkward character spilling the contents of a locker and their crush helping to pick it up, the show overall managed to keep a tired genre fresh.
The show has a strong cast, mixing lesser-known younger actors with an unseen yet hilarious Stephen Fry as the voice of the headmaster, as well as Academy Award winner Olivia Colman as Nick’s mother Sarah. The performances are particularly impressive, considering that this series marks the first acting credit for three of the four principal characters.
Make no mistake — this is a very gay show. Including characters with different sexual and gender identities may come across as a checklist, but they are incorporated in a way that feels organic and authentic to real life. Move over, beach volleyball in “Top Gun.” Rugby is the newest sport to get a homoerotic montage. The final episode features a coming-out scene as sweet and supportive as one could hope for.
Because of its origins as a comic, “Heartstopper” is a very visually appealing show. The colors are always vivid, even in the rain. Throughout the series, animated elements will pop that are reminiscent of comics, such as the screen dividing into panels, leaves blowing in the wind and snow falling to the ground.
One more noteworthy aspect of this show is the soundtrack. Along with a selection of recent hits, the bouncy electronic score by Adiescar Chase adds a warm ambiance.
All in all, “Heartstopper” is an uplifting story about a group of British teens goofing around and falling in love. If you’re a sucker for a good romance every once in a while like me, then I highly recommend this show.