Heartstopper ’s Season 2 is one of the best pieces of television that Netflix has produced with perfect visual storytelling on all fronts.
When Netflix first released Heartstopper, I honestly did not have much interest. I am not really someone who embraces romance tv shows, and just looking at the poster that Netflix gave me, it looked too cheesy from start to finish. Once I started reading the reviews of just how special Heartstopper was, both in terms of creating a believable queer love story and the non-attention-seeking diversity between the characters, I finally started watching, and immediately fell in love. With season 2 having just come out, I was cautiously optimistic that it would reach the heights of its debut, but not only did season 2 end up surpassing season 1; it also solidified Heartstopper as one of the best television shows Netflix has ever created.
Season 2 picks up with Nick (Kit Connor) and Charlie (Joe Locke) happily in a relationship. They are clearly in love, even if they aren’t ready to say to each other yet. While their relationship is thriving, a lot of aspects of their lives outside of their romance is starting to put a silent and subtle strain on what they value most. As for the rest of their friend group, Elle (Yasmin Finney) and Tao (William Gao) are starting to wonder if they are something more than friends and if so, how that will affect their relationship moving forward. While all these relationships are blooming or thriving, the gang is also going to Paris on a school trip, where the students can finally have some unsupervised fun.
Easily my favorite part of this season of Heartstopper is how the series is maturing with its audience. While season 1 is extremely sweet and innocent during all the episodes, this time around, we can see how these characters have grown and because of that, they want different things. There is a large increase in romantic scenes, discussions of sex, underage drinking, and more which I won’t spoil. This is such a special part of Heartstopper, because it feels that, as these characters are realizing things about themselves or their friends, so is the audience, but there is never a jarring tonal shift that makes this show anything but wholesome.
With some of the more mature themes that Heartstopper tackles this time around, it allows audiences to witness an absolute acting showcase for our young leads. I would go back and forth per episode as to who was my favorite, but the reality is that all seven members of the friend group that this show follows each have at least one scene where it is obvious that they are giving their all into this role. Kit Connor and Joe Locke carry this show with the confidence and grace of actors who have been on a show for at least five years more than this one.
However, Yasmin Finney and William Gao truly steal the show with their blooming romance. Watching them grow in their relationship is one of the most special parts of television I’ve seen in years. This is the first time that I have seen a trans romance portrayed in such a positive light while also drawing no attention to itself because it is an LGBTQ+ relationship. The potential that Heartstopper has to show trans youth that there can be a representation of trans relationships that are not filled with loss or pain displays so much promise for the future of television.
One of Heartstopper’s most recognizable stylistic features is the little animations that give us little peaks of each character’s subjective experiences. For example, when a couple is holding hands, there will be little sparks that shoot out. During the first season, I thought that these animations took me out of the show a little, but this time around, they helped me lean into each character’s emotions a lot more, especially during the season’s more emotional moments.
Another big improvement between seasons was the directing style from Euros Lyn. Especially in the episodes where the cast is in Paris, he can capture the wonder and joy of traveling to a new place with friends. Episode 5, which is my favorite episode of season 2, is blissfully romantic in every frame, to the point where I’m unsure if a more feel-good show than Heartstopper has come out in recent memory. Especially one that is aimed at teenagers.
I could go on for at least twenty more paragraphs sharing my pure love for Heartstopper and calculating all the positive impact it can have on its audience, but one final aspect that I need to mention is how it tackles homophobia. Homophobia has a stronger presence in season 2, either with specific characters being homophobic or how LGBTQ characters deal with attacks on their identity. It is extremely difficult to tackle this subject matter while still emphasizing love and acceptance above all, but Heartstopper can do so with extreme maturity. Each character deals with homophobia differently, but the show never leaves audiences in this upsetting space for long, showing audiences that there is always a welcoming community that will support you. This message is one of the most important of the series and is absolutely vital for an LGBTQ+-centered show.
Overall, season 2 of Heartstopper is nothing short of perfect. It manages to pack a lot of messaging into basically four hours of content and is phenomenally acted by every single member of its large ensemble. Shows that can spread such positivity, especially towards a community that is consistently under attack, deserve to be seen by the masses as soon as possible. Heartstopper is truly one of the most special shows to have come out within the last decade, so even if an LGBTQ+ romance show aimed at teenagers isn’t directly up your alley, please give the show a chance. Supporting this show will not only allow Heartstopper to continue creating picture-perfect television, but it will also prove that LGBTQ+ youth-centered shows have an audience, which will hopefully allow more shows like this to be made.
Heartstopper Season 2 is now available to watch on Netflix.