‘Young Mungo’ is ‘Heartstopper’ with an edge and could bring us our next favorite rising stars.
As GLAAD’s annual “Where We Are On TV” report made clear, overall LGBTQ+ representation on television is decreasing, due in large part to to the major wave of cancellations in the past year, which overwhelmingly impacted queer programming.
And while that can feel bleak, the good news is that we know plenty new queer-centric stories are on the way. Among the most exciting is a television adaptation of the best-selling novel Young Mungo from gay author Douglas Stuart.
According to Deadline, indie powerhouse A24 (the studio behind the likes of Euhporia and this year’s Oscar behemoth Everything Everywhere All At Once) has optioned the book for TV. Notably, it will be their second collaboration with Stuart, as they’re already adapting his Booker Prize-winning debut Shuggie Bain for the BBC.
Set in Glasgow (where Stuart himself grew up) in the 1990s, Young Mungo is the story of a teen named Mungo, who comes to realize he has feelings for a neighbor boy named James, and the two eventually make plans to leave home together.
But before you clock it as another coming-out/coming-of-age Heartstopper redux, we should warn you that Young Mungo ultimately tells a story that is much more brutal.
For one, Mungo and James inhabit a hyper-masculine world, set during a time marked by street violence and general divisiveness. Mungo comes from a Protestant family, while James’ is Catholic—they should be sworn enemies, so even their friendship is taboo. And that’s to say nothing of the secret romance that blossoms between them.
Then there’s Mungo’s older brother, Hamish, who is a feared local gang leader, pushing his sibling to remain loyal. Their mother, Maureen, is dealing with alcoholism and demons of her own, and takes matters into her own hands when she discovers her youngest might be gay.