Heartstopper, the live-action adaptation of Alice Oseman’s bestselling queer romance webtoon, just wrapped up its second season on Netflix. The British coming-of-age series has made cultural waves for its story of two teenaged boys — recently outed outsider Charlie (Joe Locke) and popular rugby player Nick (Kit Connor) — who fall in love after sitting next to one another in class.
While Charlie and Nick’s sweet romance is the center of the story, Heartstopper also follows the lives of other members of their diverse friend group, including Charlie’s best friends: change-averse Tao (William Gao), trans artist Elle (Yasmin Finney) and asexual Isaac (Tobie Donovan).
Heartstopper has already been renewed for a third season, but it has not yet been written or shot. This means fans will have to wait at least a year before they can return to the warmly lit world of Heartstopper. If you need something similar to watch in the meantime, try one of these other queer, coming-of-age shows like Heartstopper available to stream right now.
Like Heartstopper, Young Royals follows two high school boys who fall in love. However, in this case, one of the boys also happens to be a prince. In Netflix’s Swedish-language series, Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding), the prince of Sweden, is forced to enroll at elite boarding school Hillerska as a way to improve his party-boy image. However, when he meets and falls in love with Simon (Omar Rudberg), a working-class boy who is a day student at Hillerska, his life gets even more complicated.
Young Royals isn’t quite as warm and fuzzy as Heartstopper, leaning into the slow-burn angst of its young lovers for much longer and setting the stakes of the teen romance much higher than its Netflix cousin, but its protagonist pair has the same levels of charm and chemistry as Nick and Charlie. If you loved the love in Heartstopper, Young Royals is for you.
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If you’ve yet to wade into the rich, queer world of Thai BL dramas, then you’re in for a treat. In the last five years, the Thai TV industry has gone full-steam ahead in producing queer romance dramas, resulting in a plethora of good TV series that proudly center queer characters and romance. Bad Buddy, a 12-episode dramedy that aired in 2021, is one of the best Thai BLs of the last few years, and shares a lot in common with Heartstopper, as it is also a tender tale of unexpected romance between two young men.
In Bad Buddy, Pat (Pawat “Ohm” Chittsawangdee) and Pran (Korapat “Nanon” Kirdpan) grew up next to one another in a wealthy Bangkok suburb but never had the chance to be friends. Their parents have disliked each other since before Pat and Pran were even born, and have pitted their children against one another in attempts to prove their family’s superiority. When the boys start college, they finally get to know one another away from the context of their home lives, and the intense rivalry shifts into an intense love.
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In this soft reboot of the '90s Aussie drama of the same name, the students of Hartley High must navigate the realities of modern Gen Z teendom, struggling with many of the same issues of race, gender, sexuality, and mental health as the kids in Heartstopper. In Heartbreak High, however, the central relationship is not romantic, but platonic. Amerie (Ayesha Madon) and Harper (Asher Yasbincek) have been best friends since they were kids, but when the new school year starts and Harper shows up with a shaved head, wanting nothing to do with her former bestie. Amerie has no idea why.
It doesn’t help that Amerie and Harper’s “incest map” has been discovered. A graffiti masterpiece detailing the sexual activities of most of their classmates, the map immediately turns Amerie, who solely takes the fall for its creation, into a social outcast — like Heartstopper,
Heartbreak High is much more ensemble-driven than initially meets the eye. Though the fractured friendship between Amerie and Harper is at its heart, it follows a diverse cast of characters, including Amerie’s new friends, neurodiverse lesbian Quinni (Chloé Hayden) and Darren (James Majoos), who is queer and nonbinary. Heartbreak High has so much empathy for its characters and balances its exploration of nuanced, often heavy topics with grace and humor.
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Like Heartbreak High, British dramedy Sex Education isn’t afraid to dive into the messy world of teen sex and sexuality. The series follows Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), a student at Moordale Secondary School and the son of a sex therapist, played by the incomparable Gillian Anderson. In season 1, Otis is convinced by Maeve (Emma Mackey), a smart but troubled girl at school, to open a sex therapy business in order to give advice to their classmates.
The wildly popular show has spanned three seasons and counting, following the exploits and explorations of the students at Moordale. This includes the enemies-to-lovers romance between Eric (Ncuti Gwata), Otis’ openly gay best friend, and Adam (Connor Swindells), the headmaster’s son and, at least when the show starts, Eric’s bully. With Sex Education’s fourth and final season dropping in September, now is the perfect time to binge the first three seasons of the funny, life-affirming teen drama.
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Set in the same world as 2018 queer rom-com Love, Simon, TV drama Love, Victor follows Michael Cimino as Victor, a 16-year-old queer Latinx kid who just moved from his home in Texas to a new school in Atlanta. The Hulu series spans three seasons, as Victor considers coming out to his friends and family, falls in love and begins a relationship, and tries to make a new home for himself in Creekwood.
While Heartstopper uses clever directorial flourishes to articulate characters’ thoughts and feelings, Love, Victor is much more direct. The viewer gets access to Victor’s thoughts and feelings through a series of emails he writes to Simon, the protagonist of the preceding film, asking for advice and sharing his anxieties and joys.
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If you love the earnest sentimentality of Heartstopper, then check out XO, Kitty. In the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before film series, Kitty (Anna Cathcart) is the precocious younger sister, helping her older family members figure out their messy love lives. In the XO, Kitty TV series, Kitty’s own messy love life takes front and center when she moves to Seoul to attend the same high school her late mother went to as a teen. OK, she’s also flying halfway around the world to surprise her long-distance boyfriend, Dae (Choi Min-young), whom she met during a family vacation to Seoul a few years prior and attends the same school.
Of course, life is more complicated than fantasy. First, Kitty arrives in Seoul to discover Dae may be dating someone else, then she begins developing a crush on a girl at school. XO, Kitty is a fun, colorful teen drama about taking chances and having them pay off, even if it’s in life lessons more than neat happily-ever-afters. With the popular show already greenlit for a second season, XO, Kitty is the perfect show to binge while you wait for Heartstopper to return.
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While Good Trouble’s cast of characters skew a bit older than the protagonists of the other shows on this list, the Freeform series has the same life-affirming stories of queer community at its center. The Fosters spinoff series followed adopted sisters and best friends Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Callie (Maia Mitchell) as they move to Los Angeles together after college to start their adult lives. Though they both have good jobs — Callie as a law clerk and Mariana as a software engineer — it soon becomes apparent that they still have plenty of growing up to do.
The show is actually much more ensemble-driven than that description suggests, as it follows Mariana and Callie's diverse group of friends and housemates living in a collective house called The Coterie in downtown Los Angeles. Other main characters include Malika (Zuri Adele), a Black activist and bartender; Alice (Sherry Cola), a Chinese-American aspiring comedian who manages The Coterie; Gael (Tommy Martinez), a bisexual artist who comes from a conservative Latinx family; Davia (Emma Hunton), a teacher and body positivity influencer; and Dennis (Josh Pence), an aspiring musician in his late 30s who is the oldest resident at The Coterie.
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