Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons Why’ Review: A Fantastic Show With a Message That Needs to Be Heard
13 Reasons Why is a smart, dark teen drama with an overall message about bullying, depression and suicide. It’s reminiscent of shows like Pretty Little Liars, Riverdale and Veronica Mars but the key difference, aside from the exceptional writing, is that none of these other shows had the guts to kill of their leading star(s). I mean even PLL brought Alison DiLaurentis back after many seasons of believing she was dead.
13 Reasons Why doesn’t shy away from facing the horrific side of teen life like some shows do and goes all in with undertones of sex, rape, revenge porn, drunk driving, blackmail and suicide which makes the show so much more compelling and thrilling to watch.
The show was adapted from the book by the same name and was initially intended to be developed into a movie, with Selena Gomez playing Hannah Baker, the leading lady. But as the movie slowly turned into a series, Gomez stepped into the role of executive producer stating that her fame would overshadow the general message of the story which she was so passionate about bringing out since she’s suffered through depression, bullying and has been very vocal about issues surrounding mental health.
13 Reasons Why centers around 17 year old Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) who commits suicide and leaves 13 cassette tapes explaining why she did what she did. Each tape features a key character on the show and Hannah morbidly explains why said character contributed to her death. Before she died, Hannah made sure that this set of tapes would get to the 13 people who ‘killed’ her. Each person who gets the tapes is required to listen to them and then pass them on to the next person on the list. She also made sure that she had different backup copies just in case one of the ‘killers’ decided to destroy them. As one does of course. Hah!
The TV show begins when the tapes reach Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), a boy who nursed a crush he had on Hannah for the most part of nowing each other when she was alive. Clay is confused as to why he’s on the list, despite being very friendly to Hannah and always having her back. Mostly at least.
In episode 9, Clay finally gets to his tape and can’t bring himself to listening to it. He then confronts his friend Tony, who’s already listened to all of them, asking whether he ‘killed’ Hannah Baker. Tony answers with a chilly “Yes!”
13 Reasons Why has joined a small list of beyond fantastic book to movie/TV adaptations with its great writing, directing and even better acting from the cast. It’s a beautiful blend between tense conflicts amongst the characters and an amazing social message about depression and suicide. It’s a great show to start binge watching, and each episode will leave your wanting more and more. I highly recommend you dive into it right away.
MORE: ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Series Review: “A” Will Never Die
Levis Ryan is a writer for KenyaBuzz and an ardent watcher of TV shows. Follow him on Twitter at @LevisRyann and Instagram instagram.com/levisryan.