Unless you’ve been rather busy as of late, you will have noticed how popular Heartstopper is. The LGBTQ+ drama – based on a series of graphic novels by Alice Oseman – has been a huge hit for Netflix, and has been the talk of social media ever since it made its debut.
The show is constantly trending on Twitter, is popular on Facebook and Instagram too, and has been a ratings winner for Netflix. During its first few weeks, Heartstopper was one of Netflix’s Top Ten TV shows, and this was thanks in large part to audiences watching and re-watching the series.
But why is Heartstopper so popular? Why is this show becoming such a success for Netflix and why is everyone talking about it?
Well, there is more than one answer to those questions. So, let’s take a look at why the show is such a hit.
A positive outlook
First up, and possibly most important of all is Heartstopper’s outlook. The show is very optimistic, with a storyline that shines a positive light on LGBTQ+ relationships.
There are many LGBTQ+ stories out there for audiences to watch and enjoy, and plenty of them focus on love and romance, but far too many take a negative turn. Romances end in disaster, outside forces cause problems, and ending up in a committed relationship with someone of the same sex can often seem impossible.
Heartstopper bucks the trend by demonstrating that LGBTQ+ loves stories don’t have to be doom and gloom. Sure, the show has its moments of heartache likely to induce a tear or two, but the overall journey is one of positivity.
The two lead characters, Charlie and Nick, find each other, find a connection, and ultimately find happiness. Heartstopper is a show that celebrates their love for each other, doesn’t end in tragedy or misery, and offers hope to the next generation.
The key message of Heartstopper is that things CAN and DO get better. Sure, the world can be a negative place, and elements of this are reflected in the show, but this doesn’t have to stop the series from being upbeat.
A fresh new cast
Next up is the cast. Heartstopper benefits from a fresh new cast.
With the exception of a couple of big names amongst the supporting cast (i.e. Olivia Colman and Stephen Fry), Heartstopper is filled with relatively unknown actors. Kit Connor, who plays the role of Nick Nelson, has a number of projects under his belt, but Joe Locke who plays Charlie Spring, has done no professional acting prior to getting the Heartstopper gig.
With the lead cast coming to Heartstopper relatively fresh faced it means the audience has no major preconceptions about who they are and how they will act on screen. As such, their performances feel very real, and it isn’t difficult to see them as their characters, rather than getting them confused with other roles they have played.
Further to the freshness of the cast, it also helps that Kit Connor and Joe Locke are great in their roles. They play Nick and Charlie very well, and ensure that both characters come across as very likeable.
But it’s not just on screen where they shine. Connor and Locke have conducted a number of interviews to help promote Heartstopper and in all of the interviews they have showed themselves to be respectful, level-headed individuals, who are very appreciative of their roles and the importance of the uplifting story they are helping to tell.
A strong soundtrack
While both the story and the characters/actors are a big part of Heartstopper’s success, it’s important to take a moment to highlight the show’s soundtrack. The songs used throughout the show have been expertly picked to ensure they not only match the tone of the series, but also reflect the emotions and feelings of the characters too.
The soundtrack in Heartstopper is not filled with camp classics or huge hits from yesteryear, instead it is loaded with new, contemporary tracks which offer something different. Similar to how the cast don’t carry any excess baggage, the songs are not tethered to other stories either and feel very much a part of the Heartstopper world.
A self-contained season
Television has evolved over the decades, but one thing that audiences seem to enjoy is a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Far too many shows seem to lose sight of this, and in a bid to remain on the air, they string out storylines far beyond their need and fail to offer a satisfactory conclusion.
Heartstopper doesn’t do this. Its first season is eight episodes long and within these eight episodes there is a story arc with a starting point and a finishing point.
Although the show has been renewed for additional seasons, had Heartstopper been a one-season wonder, then it wouldn’t be leaving many loose ends. And more importantly, the romance between Nick and Charlie would not be left hanging either.
Audiences watching Heartstopper want to see Nick and Charlie get together by season’s end. And *SPOILER* by episode eight, they get this, meaning the whole show delivers on its set up.
Support from the LGBTQ+ community
Due to its positive approach to LGBTQ+ relationships, the queer community has embraced Heartstopper and this has been beneficial to the show. The community has stood by the series, championed and recommended it to family members and friends, and has used it as a way to open up further conversations about their own experiences.
Charlie and Nick are representative of a lot of people within the queer community, who had a confusing and often very tough time when they were younger. So, the show isn’t just a piece of entertainment, which is forgotten once it is over, it is a series that means a lot to a significant amount of people and this in turn has led to many discussions which has fuelled further interest in the show.
Social media buzz
And finally, Heartstopper has benefited from a huge amount of social media buzz. Because audiences warmed to the series so quickly, they took to social media platforms to talk about it, and this in turn generated an increasing amount of ‘likes’, ‘shares’, and ‘comments’.
Within days of the show hitting Netflix, fans created Heartstopper gifs and memes, and along with a seemingly endless amount of support, the series began trending. Netflix saw the popularity of the show on social media, leaned into it with plenty of Heartstopper posts that fans loved, and this kept the momentum going.
As you can see from the above, there are many reasons as to why Heartstopper is so popular, but it also helps that at its core, the show is very well written, with heartfelt dialogue, is expertly directed, and comes from a genuinely good place. The aim of Heartstopper is to move the LGBTQ+ journey forward by showing what is possible and making it clear how important it is to for people to be true to themselves.
If you’ve still not checked out the show, now is the time. Heartstopper has received plenty of praise, including a ‘thumbs up’ from this very blog, and is something truly special.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Heartstopper on It’s A Stampede! For more posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.