Always someone to welcome and encourage diversity, I am excited to write about the new Netflix series based on the incredible YA books written by Alice Oseman. It was definitely intriguing to see her work get picked up by Netflix but I was initially anxious that they may not represent it as wonderfully as she has.
Thankfully Netflix got Alice on board as script writer and producer during the making of the TV show and integrated some of her unique style into this brilliant take on LGBTQ romance. If you want to know more about the books, check my previous review of Heartstopper Book One here.
This particular TV production was filmed last year in England and has been hotly anticipated ever since. Tiktok has always been fond of Alice Oseman’s best selling webcomic-turned book and the series trailers started to inspire a whole new set of inventive Heartstopper Tiktok videos right away.
Heartstopper tells the modern tale of a nervous, but likeable, Charlie Spring who is openly gay but pretty intimidated by the English equivalent of jocks (otherwise known as rugby players). Being asked to sit next to a slightly older rugby lad in class, Charlie is instantly smitten, despite that guy being apparently straight. Played by a newbie, Joe Locke, Charlie takes us on a journey through his crush.
Nick Nelson is the other lead character. As a charismatic lad who is in with the cool crowd, it surprises Charlie just how much interest in him he shows. Nick is played by Kit Connor who famously had the role of the young Elton John in the movie Rocketman.
Why is Alice Oseman so cool?
Alice originally published a book about Tori Spring, Charlie’s sister, in 2014 after signing a book deal at the age of seventeen. She followed this success with other novellas and, of course, a webcomic which was first put out weekly as a series of Tumblr cartoon strips.
Heartstopper illuminates Alice’s ability to shine a light on diversity in relation to LGBTQ issues without making the stories obscure. She has a way of handling such subjects with respect and cleverness, weaving them naturally into stories without making them seem awkward.
Following trans characters and topics such as confusion over sexuality, she has a way of making her characters very relatable and intriguing. I wish her material was around when I was younger as it would have made such a difference. It promotes acceptance and celebrates individuality.
So, in answer to my own question, Alice is cool because her stories grab readers and enable them to think carefully about these situations and feel more comfortable about their own feelings and insecurities.
The Heartstopper TV Show Itself
The director has a great way of capturing emotions and the actors are really well cast. It is a nice surprise to find out that Olivia Coleman has a guest role as Nick’s mum and it is also good to see Sebastian Croft (a young Ned Stark in Game of Thrones) playing the role of Ben, the guy who toys with Charlie’s affections while remaining safely in the closet.
Without giving too much away, this series of eight half an hour episodes is beautifully laid out with a well written script. The use of some cartoon images really adds a bit of extra Alice Oseman spark. For instance, colourful cartoon leaves float in and out of shot at key points in the episodes.
If you haven’t had time to check out this fresh and refreshing new Netflix phenomenon, what are you waiting for? It is great to see a series that discusses those issues that can consume you when growing up (and forever after). This show is a genuine heartstopper and is beautifully acted, in keeping with the thought-provoking feel good books of the amazing Alice Oseman.
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