Netflix has done it again. It is becoming more and more impressive how they churn out so many fantastic shows every year. Last year, Stranger Things was their big hit. 13 Reasons Why may end up being their 2017 hit, and it is right up their with Stranger Things when it comes to Netflix’s elite original TV shows. Being only 13 episodes, it is a very easy watch and it is very captivating. The first episode will entrance you — hook, line, and sinker.
Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life.
The show follows main character Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette, Don’t Breathe) who receives a box full of cassette tapes from his classmate and friend Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) who recently committed suicide. The 13 tapes are said to reveal her 13 reasons why she chose to end her life. Clay is very startled when he listens to the first tape and hears Hannah’s voice. He claims to his parents that he did not know Hannah well, but as the show goes on we begin to learn that is very far from the truth. The show deals with a handful of high school students that attend Liberty High School and are played by actors and actresses with very little experience. That being said, the acting in the show is GREAT. I was a little skeptical at first, but after the first episode it made me realize these kids were the real deal. The acting is overall very impressive and there aren’t many weak spots.
There are many things to like about 13 Reasons Why: From the character development to the pacing, it doesn’t miss a beat. What takes the cake is the editing. The show deals with a lot of flashbacks to when Hannah was alive and into the present day with Clay and his classmates. It does a great job of distinguishing between the two time periods, using slick camera moves with a warmer color temperature for the flashbacks and a cooler/depressing blue color for the present. This is filmmaking 101, but it’s still very pleasing and very well executed.
The progression of 13 Reasons Why is phenomenal. It grabs the audience so hard in the first episode, and it makes it next to impossible to stop watching. One of the reasons it does this is the story. Not only do you want to find out why Hannah took her own life, but you also want to see how Clay is going to handle hearing his own tape. He is told that he has a tape as well, and he can’t figure out why. But as the show progresses, you see exactly what Clay was missing that was right in front of him the entire time: Hannah Baker. We as an audience start to realise it as Clay does, and the parallels of that are painful to watch.
The subject matter of 13 Reasons Why is risky. Some people may be hesitant to watch it because they have been affected by a friend or family member who committed suicide. That being said, the producers had to be careful in what approach they took to making the show. They did a good job of keeping it less offensive and instead making it very important and powerful. Bullying is a real thing, whether you were bullied or not in high school. Some people choose to handle it in various ways. You may watch 13 Reasons Why and think to yourself, “Okay, a lot of bad things happened to Hannah. But were they bad enough for her to kill herself?” You just have to think deeper and realise what the point is that the show got across. You just never know how someone’s mind works and how they are affected by what people say and do to them. What may not be a big deal to you might mentally destroy someone else. 13 Reasons Why does a great job of opening up the viewer’s eyes to how school bullying is a real thing and the repercussions can be terrible.
Separately and together, Clay and Hannah have dynamic chemistry. They feed off each other so well, and by the time you get to episode 3 you feel like you know them. They’re both kind of misunderstood, as well as a lot of people at Liberty High School. The show is also much more emotional than I expected it to be. There are a few episodes that tear your heart out. At the end of the day, 13 Reasons Why is a love story. A brutal and depressing one.
13 Reasons Why is not completely depressing, though. In fact, it is very fun to watch because the story is told with great pacing and character developments. There are a lot of lessons learned by most of the characters, which is pleasing to witness. There are also some very brutal scenes, especially in the last few episodes. Without spoiling anything, I’ll leave it there.
13 Reasons Why is the 2017 TV show that everyone needs to binge watch. When I first started watching the show, I thought to myself “Wow, this is a great show.” By the end of it I was thinking, “Wow, this is an important and powerful show.” It transformed me as a person, and I still think about it daily. Not many shows can do that. Get on Netflix and watch it NOW. You will not be disappointed.