13 Reasons Why. I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now; its practically inescapable. 13 Reasons Why is Netflix’s newest show, and it is based off of Jay Asher’s novel of the same name. I think its safe to say that the miniseries has become something of a world phenomenon.
I have known about the book for a few years now, but I never got around to reading it. After seeing the show everywhere and hearing about how good it was from all of my peers, I decided to check it out. Now, after watching the show, I will make it a point to get around to reading the book.
13 Reasons Why follows the story of Hannah Baker, a high school student who has recently committed suicide. She leaves behind thirteen tapes that each provide a reason for why she decided to take her life, and it causes a frenzy among her classmates. There are 13 episodes for all 13 tapes, so the season is a pretty fast watch.
I thought 13 Reasons Why was excellent, and while I was eager to find out what happened as the series progressed, I also didn’t want it to end. It was that good. Here’s why:
1. It was suspenseful and mysterious
When Clay Jensen, one of Hannah’s friends( who also had a crush on her), first gets the box of tapes he is pretty confused and seemingly scared. This is how I felt the entire time I watched the show. As each reason is unveiled, the suspense builds. “Who would be next?” and “what did they do?” “What did Clay do?” These were questions that came to mind as I slowly found out what led to Hannah Baker’s death. I think what makes the show most mysterious in the first place is the fact that as her classmates are listening to her tapes, Hannah is already dead. The show kept me wanting more, and kept me on the edge of my seat, and that’s what all shows should do.
2. The acting was great
I have to say-the cast did a great job. The acting was convincing, so much so that I could feel every emotion the characters were going through. Had the acting been sub par this show could have gone very differently, but the soulful performances really take the story to the next level.
3. It was really well developed
The writing, the direction, and the production was great. The show was very well put together and well thought out. Most adaptations of YA novels are released as movies, but I think releasing 13 Reasons Why as a show worked out perfectly. Having each episode be a new tape was so well executed, and it allowed for more expansion on the characters. The way the scenes were pieced together also worked so well.
4. The Characters
The characters have so much depth. They truly drive the show, and I think they are easy to relate to. Often teenagers in most shows aren’t depicted very realistically. They are one dimensional and often times pretentious. These characters were well developed, and over the course of the show I felt like I knew them.
5. It was edgy and dark
I have never seen another teen show like this, and I think it’s because it was darker in tone. The fact that the show is based around a suicide says it all.
6. It was emotional
The show deals with loss, confusion, and fear. It made me feel things as I watched it, and that is something I look for in TV and film. There were definitely heightened emotions throughout the course of the season, and it all seemed pretty genuine.
7. It’s relevant
Suicide is an issue that seems to be gaining traction with each passing year, so the themes in 13 Reasons Why seem especially relevant. The show deals with a lot of different issues that teenagers are plagued with, and it shines a light on bullying, harassment, and the effects of suicide on communities. In an increasingly toxic environment due to the internet among other things, I think this show could act as a reminder for how to treat people, and it puts emphasis on the weight our choices and actions have on ourselves and others.
The characters were all from different backgrounds, which I loved. There were white kids, Asian kids, black kids, and a Hispanic boy. I thought this was really cool because often shows only have characters from the same kind of background. Not every high school is diverse, but I like that the show made an effort to represent a lot of high schools out there that are.
9. It gave me a reality check
I live in a bubble of sorts. I don’t party or do any of the stuff that accompanies partying. My high school experience has not been too wild, so I haven’t encountered a lot of the issues that the show covers myself, which is probably a good thing. Sometimes I forget that my peers, and other high schoolers across the country, go through the same stuff that is outlined in the show. 13 Reasons Why was a great reminder that these issues are real and happening.
10. It will make you think
As I was watching the show, I had so many questions. What would happen if someone at my school took their own life and made tapes detailing why? Would I be on them? Should Hannah have made the tapes? How could someone deal with being one of the reasons for another person’s death?
11. It doesn’t rely on melodrama
13 Reasons Why obviously has drama or else it wouldn’t be entertaining, but the drama doesn’t seem unnecessary. So many shows have a pregnancy, a car accident, and some major bombshell in every episode. Shows can be so saturated with drama, that they seem unrealistic. 13 Reasons Why doesn’t do this. Everything that happens fits well, and the drama is real.
12. It’s real, raw, and ambitious
This show does not hold back. The characters act like real high school students, explicit language and all. The use of explicit language in a teen show is something that is new to me. Most of the time the characters in other shows will curse, but it’s always sugarcoated. 13 Reasons Why does not sugarcoat anything, so much so that some elements of it will make you wince. Everything is stripped down and raw, which makes it so much more realistic. To make a show of this nature is really ambitious, and the creators were not afraid to really take 13 Reasons Why to the max.
13. It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen before
This show is so different than its peers for the reasons mentioned above. It’s memorable, suspenseful, real, emotional, ambitious, and it left an impression on me. I am the first person that will shoot down anything that is overrated. 13 Reasons Why does not fit that description. I really enjoyed it, and it truly deserves the hype.
So, if you’re kind of bored some weekend, and you haven’t checked out 13 Reasons Why, you should. It is definitely worth your time.
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