Watch the trailer for Netflix's new queer high school series
Netflix's Heartstopper (2022)
One of the queer TV shows we’re most excited to come out in 2022 is Netflix’s adaptation of the beloved, queer YA comic Heartstopper. Its source material started its life where all great teen stories do: Tumblr. Artist and writer Alice Oseman, whose first novel Solitaire famously earned her a major book deal at 17, had been uploading the comic book onto the platform since 2017, and its plot-line was catnip for teen queers and allies everywhere. After buying the rights to turn the comic into an eight-part series in early 2021, a teaser trailer has now finally dropped along with a release date of 22 April 2022.
Heartstopper is set in a British grammar school. Charlie, its protagonist, is an openly gay uptight teenager; Nick is a happy-go-lucky rugby lad with a nicer streak than his mates. One day, they’re made to sit together, and that encounter soon blossoms into a friendship, which then transforms into something more as Charlie’s feelings for his new classmate develop. But the feelings he thinks might be unrequited may, deep down, be mutual. The teaser trailer promises a sweet, wholesome romance between the two teens as they figure out themselves and their feelings for each other.
Heartstopper boasts a young cast of newbie actors, with the heart-warming central couple played by Joe Locke as Charlie, and Kit Connor (His Dark Materials) as Nick. According to Deadline, each of the half an hour long episodes will encompass “all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger”.
This new show, the scripts for which have been written by Alice, will be produced by See-Saw, who made Top of the Lake, Ammonite and Steve McQueen’s thriller Widows. It’s being produced under Netflix’s family banner, which in itself is game-changing. The few series aimed at queer audiences that Netflix has released to date -- 2019’s Tales of the City being the most recent -- have been aimed at adult audiences.
But now young people, particularly those the same age as Heartstopper’s protagonists, will be able to see queerness isn’t something one shifts into as you grow older. You are born queer, simply waiting for the right time to vocalise it. Perhaps when Heartstopper is available to stream in April, it will help a new generation come to that conclusion, and get that bravery, a little earlier than they’ve been afforded thus far.