Heartstopper season two is now available on Netflix.
On its premiere last year, Heartstopper achieved something unique by appealing to a young teenage audience and adult audience alike. For young teens, Heartstopper offered a joyous, heartwarming and positive exploration of LGBTQ+ relationships and love; something never more needed in a world where darkness often sits around every corner. While for adults like me, Heartstopper reminded us of the distance we have travelled since our school days; its positivity tinged with sadness as we looked back at our own experiences aged fifteen; as a result, Heartstopper season one won the hearts of us all. But that love would also be a challenge for season two; after all, can lightning strike twice? In the case of Heartstopper, the answer is an emphatic yes!
While season one primarily followed Nick (Kit Connor) and Charlie (Joe Locke) as their feelings for each other developed within an ocean of uncertainty. Season two focuses on their growing sense of togetherness and Nick’s need to talk about his new boyfriend with friends and family while dealing with the potential fallout. Meanwhile, Elle Argent (Yasmin Finney) is applying to art school while trying to navigate her love for Tao (William Gao). At the same time, Tao is internally battling his self-confidence and doubt in asking Elle out. Then there is the golden couple from season one, Darcy (Kizzy Edgell) and Tara (Corinna Brown), who now face relationship problems as Darcy’s homelife comes into the spotlight. And let’s not forget Isaac Henderson (Tobie Donovon), who is quietly attempting to work out his own feelings, emotions and place in his friendship group. We have yet to mention the conflicted Ben, Nick’s older brother, the immature Harry, Mr Ajayi or the new teacher on the block Mr Farouk, but you get the picture; Heartstopper season two is busy!
With all the stories at play, you might think it would collapse under its own narrative pressures. But it doesn’t. Heartstopper’s ability to balance each character’s journey is admirable and a testament to Alice Oseman’s assured writing alongside Lauren James. But it is also down to Euro Lyn’s exceptional direction of a genuinely adorable and uber-talented young cast. However, the real achievement in Heartstopper season two is its delicate tonal shift.
The age of sixteen marks a transition for all young people; it’s the year you leave school and the moment you have to consider the career path you want to take as one foot sits in a new adult world and one in a rapidly vanishing childhood. It is, therefore, strange that we often label sixteen as being ‘sweet’ because usually it’s anything but. For young people discovering their sexuality, their sixteenth year is often turbulent as they navigate identity, conformity and, more often than not, bullying from their peers. But how do you reflect on the challenges of that sixteenth year in a drama that opted for optimism over the harsh realities of teenage life in its first season? For Euros Lyn, the answer is to open season two with the same aesthetic as the first before creating a bridge to more young adult-orientated discussions while never alienating the younger teens watching. That bridge is a final school trip to Paris, the city of love, but in Heartstopper season two, it’s far more than a school outing; it’s a right of passage that changes everything in a heartbeat for everyone involved.
This expertly crafted tonal shift allows Heartstopper season two to move gently with its characters increasing age while never losing its magic of appealing to a broad audience. For young people, season two reflects the issues that face them daily as their world suddenly and sharply changes as school comes to a close and the adult world knocks on the door. While for adults like me, season two reminds us of our responsibility to young people to continue to build a better world than the one we experienced at sixteen.
For young people, Heartstopper season two reflects the issues that face them daily as their world suddenly and sharply changes as school comes to a close and the adult world knocks on the door. While for adults like me, season two reminds us of our responsibility to young people to continue to build a better world than the one we experienced at sixteen.