The Heartstopper Universe is probably one of the most inclusive book series of this century, not only does the show have its main focus on the LGBTQIA+ community but also the way that it approaches delicate subjects as the series progresses. The comic book series consists of 5 books, with two separate collections. The characters are well constructed and relatable as the story progresses more and more as it shows the viewers and readers the struggles of teenagers. As Alice Oseman herself, the creator of the Heartstopper book series, worked alongside with the production of the show, it was not only extremely similar to the comics, but she also made certain to emphasize inclusion into the series and casting characters who not only identified with the comic book characters but were also from the same ethnicity and actually relate to the characters.
From the moment that they announced that Heartstopper was getting an adaptation, fans all over the world were instantly thrilled as they got the opportunity to watch the beloved comic book series come to life. In season one we follow the story of Charlie Spring, a gay teenager who had recently gone through harsh bullying in his school. We follow his healing process and learn that he still has quite a lot to overcome, and that's when we get introduced to Nick Nelson, the captain of the rugby team who also happens to be in Charlie’s homeroom, sitting right next to him. As Charlie's group of friends, Tao, Elle and Isaac find out about the fact that both boys have become much closer. They try to warn Charlie and tell him that there was a chance that Nick did not like him back. As the story progresses we learn that Charlie’s crush was mutual, and Nick and Charlie end up dating. There are other storylines that are intertwined with the main characters, such as how the main friend group develops and gets even closer within the episodes. The idea of internalized homophobia is also explored and finally, the show also explores the theme of self-acceptance.
Characters such as Elle Argent, Tara Jones, and Darcy Olssen are also fundamental to the plot as they give the opportunity to the viewers to be represented and have a voice in society. Elle for instance is a transgender woman, which is something that is not much explored within books, having the opportunity to have such a strong and amazing female character is fundamental to the plot as it shows how truly strong the character is. Tara and Darcy on the other hand are a couple who struggle with accepting who they are and slowly learn to love themselves. Darcy goes through homophobia at home, which in a way gives the voice and the spotlight to all the teenagers and kids who suffer from that at home. This is one of the main reasons Heartstopper is so important, it gives teenagers an escape from the harsh reality of this century that has been going on for so many years.
The first season revolves around the first and second comic books, whereas the second one revolves around the third and the beginning of the fourth comic.
The second season focuses on the development of Nick and Charlie’s relationship and how it progresses from only their friends knowing about them to the whole school, which triggers Charlie because he was scared that Nick was going to be bullied just like he was when he was forced to come out. Because of that, we spend a great part of the series wondering if and when Charlie is going to tell Nick about his fears. Something exciting and new about the season is that the friend group goes to Paris on a field trip, which brings them even closer.
One of the main reasons that Heartstopper is as popular as it is, is because it approaches sensitive topics in a light manner, something that progresses over time. A recurring topic in Heartstopper is the effects of cyberbullying and bullying overall, although it can be presented discretely much like it happens in real life. When happy moments occur in the series it is definitely something to look forward to. As the second season ended with Nick understanding a few of Charlie’s fears, that will give the writers the opportunity to introduce a third season that is going to be profound and relatable, much like all others.