Sorry, Heartstopper Fans, but Season 1 is Way Better Than Season 2

Sorry, Heartstopper Fans, but Season 1 is Way Better Than Season 2
Image credit: Netflix

The second part struggled to remain compelling.

When Netflix premiered Heartstopper back in 2022, everyone was certain that this LGBTQ+ romantic series would quickly become the top melodrama in the streaming service's catalog. While the show's second season garnered significant acclaim from fans and critics alike, it would appear that the overwhelming praise may have been somewhat premature.

Don't get us wrong: Heartstopper Season 2 was plenty entertaining, and the quality of the writing and acting surpassed even that of the first installment. And yet, despite all its strengths, it still pales in comparison to the first installment, and here's why.

Completed Story

Fundamentally, the first season revolved around one question - will Nick and Charlie become a couple? That was an incredibly engaging premise that fans were instantly attracted to, wondering whether Nick would come out as gay and if he and Charlie would go beyond being just friends.

Season 1 executed on this premise with great skill, establishing Charlie and Nick as a couple after building fan anticipation from one episode to the next and topping it off with a truly heartwarming season finale.

Heartstopper became a sensation because it was seen as a standalone completed story that fans could appreciate without the uneasy feeling that they would one day have to face the ugly underbelly of the happily-ever-after in future seasons.

Nothing New

And that's exactly why the second season was doomed from the start: it does not add anything new; it simply expands on the original story. One major corollary of that is that it can't stand on its own. If you want to appreciate it, you really need to have seen the first season, as every single arc in season two picks up where season one left off.

That isn't bad in and of itself, especially for a series available through a streaming platform, but it does make season two feel derivative and somewhat stale. It's not building towards anything, as all the really important stuff already happened in the season one finale.

Nick and Charlie are already a couple, so it can't be a romantic story anymore. Romantic stories are about people who overcome obstacles so they can be together, and that's no longer the case here.

It should be noted that Season 2 does end with a pretty exciting cliffhanger, but it only makes the rest of the season come across as even weaker. While Season 1 was a perfect standalone story, Season 2 feels more like a somewhat less-inspired sequel rather than a truly remarkable second chapter.

Which season of Hearstopper did you like best?