If you loved Heartstopper, I’ve got your next show covered
After bingeing this show in one night, I’m not sure ‘Heartstopper’ is the best name for it. Heartwarmer might be more accurate, as it left me filled with so much hope and joy.
At this point in life, I thought I was past my teen TV show phase. Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl filled my teen years with angst, intrigue, and drama. However, Heartstopper captured my attention in a different way, giving me a sense of nostalgia and hope for the queer teen romance I never experienced.
Talking about this feeling with other queer friends, I realised we are in the midst of the golden age of queer teen shows. So, naturally I compiled a list of my favourites for all of you to enjoy.
If you are looking for something that feels realistic, try SKAM. This is a Norwegian web series that has now been remade in numerous countries, all about teenage life and struggles. Each season has the same cast but a different main character, with season 3 featuring Isak as he deals with sexuality, mental health, and new relationships. Like Heartstopper, the cast are all close in age to the characters they portray, unlike most teen shows (looking at you Riverdale, seriously Cole Sprouse has been playing a teenager since 2005!).
If you want something funny, try One Day at a Time. This sitcom explores queer identity, relationships and gender in such an authentic way, while also making you audibly snort at least once an episode. It ran on Netflix before being cancelled and then revived (with the help of Lin-Manuel Miranda) on Pop TV, following three generations of a Cuban American family. The show manages to discuss race, religion, and sexuality with the usual level of condescension found in sitcoms. Plus, Rita Moreno and her occasional West Side Story references are just an added bonus!
If you love the drama, try Young Royals. A coming-of-age story about Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding), who is sent to the prestigious boarding school of Hillerska. This Swedish drama has all the twist and turns you expect from the Swedes. The forbidden love and secret meetings somehow transcends the cliche it easily could have become, and is able to critique class and privilege intersecting with identity. And do not worry, the show has been picked up for a second season already.
If you just want a good teen show, try Love, Victor. A spin off of the 2018 film Love, Simon, Love, Victor follows another Creekwood High student, whose coming out experience is a bit more difficult. Coming from a Latin-American and religious household, Victor’s story is not accepting as Simon’s. During the show Victor reaches out to Simon for advice as he questions and chooses his own path. This show was originally made for Disney+ but was moved to Hulu, making it the second series to do this after High Fidelity (another amazing show. Proof? Zoe Kravitz.). The third and final season is premiering in June, after leaving us with multiple cliff hangers in the season two finale.
Any of these shows will fill you with warm fuzzies and also have you tearing up along the way. But, across the board these are stories about young queer people that feel genuine and leave me filled with hope for the youth of today, much like Heartstopper.
Article written by Sienna Taylor-Gibson
Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!