Name: 13 Reasons Why
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Year: 2017 –
13 Reasons Why pushes the boundaries bringing sensitive, engaging and incredibly important themes to our screens. While watching it forces you to examine how each action you do could hurt someone else, deliberately or casually, the raw truth within this drama is shocking. Since its original release it has ignited debate and anger.
Season one introduces us to many students lives within Liberty High in the most tragic unfortunate way. Each student is connected to why their classmate Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) committed suicide. The story is narrated by Hannah as she tells her stories with a series of tapes she left behind, telling the whole events in her perspective.
These tapes are instructed to be passed around in a certain order to the people mentioned in them. There are 13 tapes. We start the story when it reaches Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette). Clay doesn’t listen to all the tapes in one night, but reflects and confronts people to further understand Hannah’s pain. This slow mysterious approach kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know who the next tape was about and how it could be any worse than the tape before. The unnerving story of tragedy, love, abuse and drugs is highlighted in the teenager’s lives.
We also get a glimpse of how exactly a grieving mother would react. Mrs. Baker (Kate Walsh) shows the restless attitude looking for any information and answers regarding her daughter’s suicide; the anger, the pain and the loss. This gave the series an extra dimension, addressing even more people that suicide effects.
The show bravely and daringly dove into teenage mental health issues, sparking the normality to be able to talk about these feelings with family and friends. Although this was an amazing start in the movement of talking about mental health there was a huge backlash after one crucial scene of the show. 13 Reasons Why showed how Hannah Baker took her life and many parents and psychologist raised the concerns that it could spark a contagion effect. It was later edited out on the Netflix platform.
Season two perfectly shows the aftermath of the ending of season one. Again on the edge of your seat not knowing what truths we uncover next. The second season felt a little over-packed and feels like more of a worthy attempt to correct and approach criticism from the previous season. Saying this, a few extra storylines that made it hard to watch at moments did come to light. The gut wrenching feeling of seeing abuse, bullying and sexual abuse towards young adults in such a normal atmosphere in school is terrifying. I feel like the season lost a little bit of narrative throughout its journey but if you look beyond the vulgarities, it becomes completely clear that this story needs to be told.
Season three moves on from the death of Hannah Baker, giving us a completely new focus following the end of season two. I feel it’s much better than season two, and does spin the question on the morals of the kids who have done wrong in society. It built the mystery well and I found myself bingeing towards the end to find out who did it.
The series itself has a very cinematic look to it, delivering not only movie like set ups but a soundtrack that shows its amazing musical value in displaying the emotion during different scenes. There is also so much for youths to relate to in the show. We come across all different types of couples from LGBT to interracial couples. This show doesn’t force diversity for the sake of being diverse, but instead allows it to be a normal mixture of people, as in real life.
The raw scenes throughout all three seasons are powerful and they do not romanticize them. The focus of the show is that they didn’t want to make things graphic for shock value, but to help you understand what lengths people go to with mental health, sexual abuse and bullying. A warning before each episode is there to make it clear that some scenes are hard to watch, but a strong message in how hard teen life can be.
But this show is important! We get slowly walked through the warning signs of someone who is suicidal or dealing with mental health issues, giving the audience a clear insight and even resources for suicide prevention. 13 Reasons Why completely demolished the barriers and stigma surrounding suicide. The show helps the audience realise that anyone could be going through something difficult and we must be kinder and nicer people. That is something I cannot disagree with.