entertainment

Loved Heartstopper? Here are 9 other uplifting LGBTQ TV shows and films to watch

Fill the Heartstopper-shaped hole in your life with these uplifting depictions of queer romance on screen.

2022-05-10

Words: Jack Pengelly; Images: Netflix

Heartstopper has taken the world by storm, amassing 23.9 million hours of watch time on Netflix in only two weeks and dominating the conversation in the LGBTQ community in the best possible way.

If you, like us, have a Heartstopper-shaped hole in your life after binge-watching the entire season at the speed of light: look no further! We’ve collected a list of shows that you should add to your list if you enjoyed Netflix's adaptation of Alice Oseman's hit LGBTQ graphic novel series.

There’ll be some obvious ones, and some you may not have heard of yet, along with where you can currently watch them in the UK to help stop the Heartstopper-withdrawal.

Young Royals (Netflix)

Young Royals and Heartstoppper both deal with issues of coming out and romance in high school, however that is where the majority of their similarities stop.

This Swedish drama deals with some of the darker issues that surround identity and sexuality - all in the shadow of the Swedish monarchy, no less.

Love, Victor (Star on Disney+)

You would be forgiven for calling Love, Victor an American version of Heartstopper as its core storyline and the general warm-n-fuzzy vibe is incredibly similar.

Set in the same universe as Love, Simon, the series follows Victor as he settles into a new school and grapples with his sexuality. While the first season was a bit meh, it has developed into an adorable exploration of young gay love.

The Half of It (Netflix)

Okay this is a film, not a series, and also the two main characters aren’t in love… but bear with us! This beautiful movie follows loner Ellie Chu who is recruited by popular jock Paul to write love letters to the girl he likes: Aster. As Ellie attempts to win over Aster on Paul’s behalf, she develops feelings for Aster of her own.

The story is a heartwarming display of queer yearning and self-discovery and should definitely be on your feel-good movie list.

Never Have I Ever (Netflix)

This Mindy Kaling original series could be Heartstopper’s sister show. With queer storylines, catastrophic friendship drama, first kisses and a whole lot of daydreaming and unrequited pining, this show will remind you just how hilariously (and painfully) awkward it is to be a teenager.

Sex Education (Netflix)

We shouldn’t really have to add this to the list, but it would feel wrong without it. Sex Education is a grittier, more realistic portrayal of high school life but all through the rose-tinted, hilarious lens that Netflix UK shows have become so famous for.

The clue is in the name, with the series delving into graphic details of the sex lives of just about every single character while touching on prescient, real issues faced by today’s youth.

Please Like Me (Amazon Prime Video)

If Heartstopper is about starting high school, then Please Like Me is about starting adulthood. The quirky Australian comedy follows Josh, a 20-something who is dumped by his girlfriend and realises that he’s gay.

As he navigates this second adolescence with cringeworthy, bull-in-a-china-shop levels of poise, we see him start to fully evolve into a functioning adult - not an easy feat! 

Dickinson (Apple TV+)

This re-telling of the life of 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson is a genre-bending, unique piece of television.

The show delves into themes of sexuality, romance, gender and family politics and serves as an allegory for all the queer love stories that have been omitted from the history books. 

Skam (Not currently available in the UK)

This Norwegian coming-of-age series developed an enormous cult following when it aired from 2015-17 due to its authentic portrayals of teen life and the interactive nature of its storytelling.

The third season follows Isak who is coming to terms with his sexuality and the growing feelings he has for classmate Even - sound familiar?!

Fear Street Trilogy (Netflix)

Perhaps the most out of place on this compilation, but definitely a notable addition. Queer people have become accustomed to seeing themselves killed off within moments in most horror movies and series, but the Fear Street Trilogy has a beautiful lesbian romance at the core of each movie.

While not for the faint-hearted, when you wipe away the blood splatter there is a heartwarming depiction of forbidden queer love.