Tuesday, July 5, 2022

More Media Like ‘Heartstopper’ to Keep You Going Until Season 2

If you love Nick and Charlie, then you were probably ecstatic to hear the news that Netflix has renewed Heartstopper for not just one but two more seasons!

The adorable series from Netflix and See-Saw Films, based on Alice Oseman’s graphic novels of the same name, follows Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor) as they meet and fall in love at a British all-boys secondary school. The cast is compellingly fleshed out with Elle Argent (Yasmin Finney), Tao Xu (William Gao), Tara Jones (Corinna Brown), Darcy Olsson (Kizzy Edgell), and Isaac Henderson (Tobie Donovan). Even the adults are beloved in this YA romance, with brilliant performances from Fisayo Akinade as Mr. Ajayi and Olivia Colman as Sarah Nelson — there’s even a stealthy cameo from Stephen Fry as Headmaster Barnes.

Making such brilliant, heartwarming television takes time, though. While no dates or timelines have been announced just yet, it’s reasonable to assume we won’t see our favorite Truham and Higgs students again until 2023.

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What’s a Heartstopper fan supposed to do until then?!

Well, you can rewatch the series on a loop, of course. You can read the graphic novels, and delight in the adorable leaf effect that floats across your screen whenever you search for the show or either of its two main characters. (Someone at Google is a fan!) But what about when you tire of those and hit that inevitable slump of craving new content? Don’t worry! There’s a whole bunch of LGBTQ+ positive media out there which can restart your heart after Heartstopper.

Here’s nine suggestions from across the media spectrum to help you pass the time as we all pine for Heartstopper’s return.

Sex Education

Netflix

With three seasons to its name, it’s likely you’ve already seen or at least heard about Netflix’s Sex Education. If you haven’t, get on that now!

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Otis (Asa Butterfield), the nerdy son of a sex therapist, meets Maeve (Emma Mackey), the school bad girl, and together the two form an underground clinic to help their sexually stunted classmates.

The show is notable for letting its teens learn about sex and all the emotions, complications, and problems that come with it. Add in the fact that its queer storytelling was groundbreaking, with almost half of the characters exhibiting queerness in some way or another, and you can see why it became one of the streamer’s most popular shows.

You can stream Sex Education now on Netflix.

Young Royals

Netflix

After being caught up in a publicity scandal, a young Swedish prince is sent to an elite boarding school to help his image. He doesn’t expect to find more drama, or to find love.

Young Royals feels very authentic, with quality writing and brilliant acting from main cast (Edvin Ryding, Omar Rudberg).

For fans of Heartstopper, this show is great news. There are many similar themes here, to the point where Young Royals almost feels like a predecessor to Oseman’s story with an extra dose of drama. Netflix has greenlit a second season, due later this year.

Young Royals is binge-worthy, and the perfect show to lose yourself in post-Heartstopper.

You can stream Young Royals now on Netflix.

Love, Simon

20th Century Fox

If a movie sounds like a good way to lose yourself for an evening, then Love, Simon is the obvious choice. Any list of recent LGBTQ+ media would be incomplete without mentioning this massive hit. Based on the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, this screen adaptation was directed by the indomitable Greg Berlanti, a choice that made Love, Simon the LGBTQ+ movie of the year from its very first trailer.

Love, Simon is a romantic comedy-drama that centers on Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a closeted gay high schooler who is dealing with a blackmailer threatening to out him to the entire school at the same time as falling in love with an anonymous classmate online.

A must-watch for the genre, Love, Simon was so well received that it spawned a TV series set in the same world — and of course that’s on this list too!

You can stream Love, Simon now (with ads) on Prime Video.

Love, Victor

Hulu

Set in the same world as the movie Love, Simon. The protagonist of the TV series is Victor, played by Michael Cimino. A student at Creekwood High School, Victor reaches out to Simon when things get difficult on his own journey of self-discovery.

Love, Victor was one of the first big shows of its kind, taking the LGBTQ+ focus that had been seen in movies like Love, Simon and bringing it to the small screen. Viewers fell in love with the expanded world and new characters, and the series has two seasons ready to watch with a third, final season coming out on June 15, 2022.

You can stream Love, Victor now on Hulu, with all seasons available on both Hulu and Disney+ beginning June 15.

Boys

Pupkin Film

For a post-Heartstopper watch that’s a little less mainstream, check out Jongens (Boys), a gay love story from the Netherlands. It’s a familiar set-up: Sieger (Gijs Blom) is a gifted 15-year-old selected to represent his local athletics team at nationals, along with his best friend and two other boys, one of whom is Marc (Ko Zandvliet). Well, you can imagine what happens with Marc! Boys is a lovely, idyllic tale about the trials and tribulations of first queer love.

The Heartstopper feels are strong in this gorgeous, soft 2014 film. Despite this movie being filmed in Dutch, it is fully English subtitled, so don’t let that put you off!

You can watch Boys on now on Tubi.

It’s a Sin

Channel 4

It’s a Sin takes the typical conventions of the typical American AIDS drama — shows like Longtime CompanionParting Glances, and Philadelphia — and moves them all to London. The show digs deep and shows how the epidemic affected a new generation of queer people coming-of-age in the hostile ’80s. Written by Russell T. Davies, this one is harrowing and likely to have you in tears long before it’s over.

It’s a Sin is moving, and you will be pulled in by the somewhat autobiographical script, and the brilliant acting from the entire cast.

This one might not have Heartstopper’s lightness, but it’s compelling viewing that feels important.

You can stream It’s a Sin now on HBO Max.

Yuri!!! on ICE

MAPPA Studios

If you like Japanese animation, then you definitely need to try out Yuri!!! on ICE. This anime is all about the competitive (and sometimes queer) world of figure skating! When Yuri, a pro figure skater, comes last in the world championships, he hangs up his skates — until his idol Viktor Nikiforov, the king of figure skating, takes him on as his first student.

While the queerness of this show may initially seem surface level to what we’re (slowly) getting used to seeing these days (and there are plenty of gay figure skating jokes), it soon becomes a thrilling, slow burn romance entwined with a sports story about overcoming your fears and learning to trust the people in your life.

By far one of the best anime of the last decade, this ice skating story will give you what you need and yet still leave you wanting more. Luckily, you just might get it — a full length movie was announced, called Yuri!!! on ICE the movie: Ice Adolescence. Unfortunately, animated movies tend to take many years to make, and production is still ongoing.

You can watch Yuri!!! on ICE now on Crunchyroll.

Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

Ngozi Ukazu

Did you read Oseman’s comics before Heartstopper came out, or rush to binge them once you’d finished watching? If so, and you’re looking for more gay graphic novel brilliance, then the first one you check out should be Check, Please! 

This comic has a lot in common with Heartstopper, including its Tumblr origins. The comic, created by Ngozi Ukazu, caused quite a buzz during its release on the site, and its success led to physical novels, just like Heartstopper.

If Yuri!!! on ICE’s skating scenes warmed your heart, then here is another romance wrapped up in a sports story that might check all of your boxes. Check, Please! introduces us to Eric Bittle, a gay skater who ends up on a college hockey team and falls for the captain. The story isn’t just about queer acceptance in sports — it also gives us those excellent friendship feels that Heartstopper did so well. If you loved Oseman’s art and soft storytelling, then this comic is a must read.

You can read Check, Please! now online for free, or you can pick up the graphic novels at any bookstore or library.

Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Gus Allen, and ND Stevenson

BOOM! Studios

Another graphic novel recommendation that shouldn’t be missed is Lumberjanes. Originally planned as an 8-part series, the popularity of the comic lead to it continuing for over six years! Lumberjanes one of the best, and queerest, comics out there. 

Set at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, where weird and supernatural things keep happening, the series is hard to put down due to how authentic it feels. A tale of queer friendship at summer camp, Lumberjanes is heartwarming and fun. A more traditional comic than Heartstopper or Check, Please!, this story reliably ranked among the best LGBTQ+ stories available during its 75 issue run.

There’s good news for fans of this comic, too — an adaptation is in the works! As of 2020, Lumberjanes is getting an animated special and follow up series with HBO Max. There hasn’t been much news since the initial announcement, but maybe Heartstopper’s success will give HBO a bit of a push.

You can pick up Lumberjanes now at any bookstore or library.

Hopefully that lot can keep you going until Heartstopper season 2 hits our screens!

While there’s no release date news to share yet, Netflix is sure to keep updates coming given how quickly they gave Nick and Charlie more airtime. To keep up to date with news on the show, don’t forget to follow Nerds and Beyond!

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