The research on emerging layered two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors, such as molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), reveals unique optical properties generating significant interest. Experimentally, these materials were observed to host extremely strong light-matter interactions as a result of the enhanced excitonic effect in two dimensions. Thus, understanding and manipulating the excitons are crucial to unlocking the potential of 2D materials for future photonic and optoelectronic devices. In this review, we unravel the physical origin of the strong excitonic effect and unique optical selection rules in 2D semiconductors. In addition, control of these excitons by optical, electrical, as well as mechanical means is examined. Finally, the resultant devices such as excitonic light emitting diodes, lasers, optical modulators, and coupling in an optical cavity are overviewed, demonstrating how excitons can shape future 2D optoelectronics.