The number one show on everyone’s lips these past two weeks has been Netflix’s teen romance drama Heartstopper. The British LGBTQ+ series has struck the hearts of fans and critics alike, who have fallen in love with the beautiful and charming coming-of-age story.
However, at only eight episodes long (or short?), Heartstopper is a really quick binge that’s sure to leave viewers hungry for more. While many have flocked over to Alice Oseman’s original graphic novel of the same name to enjoy more of Kit and Nick’s adorable story, some may be wondering what other film or series could offer a similar emotional rush.
For your next dose of teen romance, and all the emotions that come with it, look no further than this list of 10 films and series to check out if you loved Netflix’s Heartstopper.
By far the most comparable series to Heartstopper is the Swedish teen series, Young Royals, which is also streaming on Netflix. It follows a young prince, Wilhelm, who is sent to an elite boarding school after getting into a public fight at a club. While at school, he begins a secret romance with another student. Much like Heartstopper, Young Royals received rave reviews for its age-appropriate cast and authentic feel. A second season is scheduled for release later this year, so now’s the perfect time to get acquainted with all the exciting characters.
This 1996 British romantic comedy was so well-received as a television film that it was later released in cinemas. It tells the story of two teenagers who live close to each other in South London. One is shy and reserved, while the other is a confident athlete. As the two question their sexuality when alone, a sleepover provides the opportunity to take things further. It’s a very similar tale to the romantic nature of Heartstopper, and highlights the classic gay teen love story fans have grown to adore.
This recently released coming-of-age drama is similar to Heartstopper in a number of ways. Just like the British series, Crush deals with a girl in high school who tries to get close to her crush on the school’s track team. There are a lot of teen anticipation and quirky encounters at play. The Hulu film was released to mixed reception, but that doesn’t take much away from the feel-good nature of the film and the enjoyable performances from the talented cast.
Hailed for its “revolutionary normalcy”, Love, Simon is an exceptionally feel good movie. It follows Simon Spier — played by Nick Robinson — a closeted gay student in high school, who has to navigate his friends, family, and the student at school who’s threatening to expose his secret. It was the first film by a major Hollywood studio to center on a teenage gay romance. A critical and commercial success, Love, Simon ticks all the boxes for some heartwarming stories about an LGBTQ+ character, and should be on everyone’s watch list.
After the success of Love, Simon, Hulu greenlit the teen romantic comedy-drama Love, Victor, a series set in the same timeline as the original film. Nick Robinson also reprised his role as Simon, and guest starred in a few episodes. The series follows the life of Victor, half Puerto Rican, half Colombian-American teenager, whose family has recently moved to Atlanta. Much like Simon, he is keeping his sexual orientation a secret and has to navigate through the world around him. The teen drama has been praised for its cast, and relatability, and a third and final season is scheduled to be released on June 15.
When Atypical premiered on Netflix in 2017, it immediately garnered criticism for its lack of autistic actors and writers, considering the fact that the main character was on the autism spectrum. Quickly correcting its wrongs, Netflix hired autistic actors and writers from season two onward, earning the series positive reviews. The series follows Sam Gardner — portrayed by Keir Gilchrist — and his navigation of life, friends, family, and therapy, while on the spectrum.
Netflix’s hit series might not be as straightforwardly comforting as Heartstopper, but this fellow British series has all the awkward romance and lovely friendships that make for any authentic secondary school experience. Three acclaimed seasons are streaming on the platform, and a fourth is underway. Sex Education is definitely one of the most popular teen dramas today, and has shot its cast members to fame.
Private school romances could go as well as they did in Heartstopper, or they could go terribly wrong, as they often do in this hit Spanish teen drama series. Elite may offer a much more mature plot than the other shows on this list, but where it continues to strike gold is its LGBTQ+ representation. Offering a wide dynamic of talented (and gorgeous) characters, and several love stories to root for or against, there is no denying that Elite is a fabulous teen drama. With five successful seasons under its belt, and a sixth on the way, it’s a real guilty pleasure to engage in.
There are just two seasons of this Netflix semi-autobiographical series, the perfect length for binge-watching. The Emmy-nominated comedy focuses on Ryan Hayes, a gay man with cerebral palsy, who finally decides to take control of his life and pursue his dreams. It’s an inspirational series, with several laugh-out-loud moments from the hilarious cast, led by the brilliant and multitalented Ryan O’Connell.
The Half of It
Another Netflix coming-of-age teen drama, with all the awkwardness and heartwarming moments to boot. It follows the similar story of a shy student who has trouble expressing feelings for the person they like. Starring Leah Lewis as the brilliant introvert Ellie Chu, The Half of It was a hit on the streaming platform, and bagged the coveted Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival.