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TV Review: Starstruck - Season 2 - A Messy, Hilarious, and Utterly Charming Continuation of a Modern Romance

By Joao Nsita

Starstruck - Season 2 BBC/HBO

When Starstruck first premiered on BBC Three and HBO Max last year, it took the rom-com genre by storm, infusing it with a refreshing dose of modern sensibilities and relatable chaos. Created by and starring the immensely talented Rose Matafeo, alongside co-writer Alice Snedden, the series follows the unlikely romance between Jessie (Matafeo), a New Zealander living in London, and Tom Kapoor (Nikesh Patel), a famous movie star. Season 1 left viewers on a cliffhanger, with Jessie deciding to stay in London and pursue a relationship with Tom, and now, Season 2 picks up right where it left off, delving into the messy, hilarious, and utterly charming aftermath of that decision.

The new season wastes no time in throwing us back into the lives of Jessie and Tom, as they sit side-by-side on a bus, grappling with the weight of Jessie's impulsive choice to stay. What follows is a whirlwind of emotions and misadventures, as the couple tries to navigate the challenges of their newfound relationship status while also dealing with the realities of their vastly different lives.

One of the strengths of "Starstruck" lies in its ability to balance comedy and drama, and Season 2 does this with even greater finesse. Matafeo's portrayal of Jessie is a masterclass in comedic timing and emotional depth, as she effortlessly shifts between delivering witty one-liners and exposing her character's vulnerabilities. Jessie's insecurities and tendency to self-sabotage are at the forefront this season, as she struggles to find her place in Tom's world and grapples with the resurfacing of an ex-boyfriend.

Patel's performance as Tom is equally impressive, bringing a steady and patient presence to the chaos that often surrounds Jessie. While Tom's storyline may play second fiddle to the central romance, it serves as a relatable parallel, exploring the uncertainties and doubts that come with being at a crossroads in one's career. Patel's charm and sincerity make Tom a character you can't help but root for, even when he's facing his own set of challenges.

Starstruck - Season 2 BBC/HBO

The supporting cast, particularly Emma Sidi as Jessie's best friend and roommate Kate, and Minnie Driver as Tom's agent Cath, add an extra layer of depth and humor to the series. Their interactions with the lead characters provide some of the most memorable and side-splitting moments of the season, while also grounding the story in a sense of reality.

One of the most remarkable aspects of "Starstruck" is its ability to capture the nuances of a modern relationship, with all its ups and downs, miscommunications, and moments of pure joy. The series doesn't shy away from the uncomfortable truths and unspoken fears that can plague a new romance, instead choosing to confront them head-on with a mix of humor and heart.

The writing, once again helmed by Matafeo and Snedden, is sharp, witty, and emotionally honest. Each episode is a carefully crafted blend of laugh-out-loud comedy and poignant character development, with the six-episode arc building towards a satisfying and heartfelt conclusion.

Visually, Season 2 of "Starstruck" maintains the vibrant and energetic style that made the first season so captivating. The bustling streets of London serve as the perfect backdrop for Jessie and Tom's story, with each location adding its own unique flavor to the narrative.

What sets "Starstruck" apart from other rom-coms is its commitment to authenticity. The series never shies away from the messiness of real life, instead embracing it and finding the humor and beauty within. Jessie and Tom's relationship is far from perfect, but that's precisely what makes it so compelling to watch. Their struggles, misunderstandings, and moments of connection are all painfully relatable, making the audience invest in their journey on a deeper level.

As the season progresses, we see Jessie and Tom confront the ghosts of their pasts, both in terms of relationships and personal baggage. These challenges test their bond and force them to confront their own flaws and insecurities. It's a testament to the show's writing and the actors' performances that these moments feel so genuine and emotionally resonant.

The final episodes of the season are a rollercoaster of emotions, as Jessie and Tom's relationship reaches a breaking point. Without delving into spoilers, it's safe to say that the resolution is both satisfying and true to the spirit of the show. "Starstruck" has never been about presenting a picture-perfect fairy tale romance, but rather exploring the realities of two imperfect people trying to make a connection in a complicated world.

In a television landscape saturated with formulaic rom-coms, "Starstruck" stands out as a shining example of what the genre can achieve when it dares to be authentic, messy, and unapologetically human. Matafeo and Snedden have created a series that not only entertains but also resonates on a profound level, reminding us that love is rarely a straight line from meet-cute to happily ever after.

Season 2 of "Starstruck" is a triumph of comedy, storytelling, and emotional honesty. It's a must-watch for anyone who appreciates smart, witty, and relatable television, and a testament to the incredible talent of its cast and creators.

As the season comes to a close, it's impossible not to feel invested in Jessie and Tom's future, both as individuals and as a couple. The show has masterfully laid the groundwork for potential future seasons, while also delivering a satisfying and complete story arc within these six episodes.

In conclusion, Starstruck Season 2 is a messy, hilarious, and utterly charming continuation of a modern romance that feels both fresh and familiar. It's a series that celebrates the imperfections and uncertainties of life and love, reminding us that sometimes the most beautiful stories are the ones that embrace the chaos. With its brilliant writing, outstanding performances, and unwavering commitment to authenticity, "Starstruck" has solidified its place as one of the best rom-coms on television today.

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