The hype around new Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why is palpable – and for good reason. The recently released drama revolves around a teenage girl named Hannah Baker who leaves behind 13 cassette tapes explaining why she committed suicide, and it is already being touted as must-see TV by critics and audiences alike. Need another reason to give it a try? Here are 13 more.
The show is a highly gripping adaptation of a bestselling young-adult novel, which was released in 2007 by Jay Asher. The book has been published worldwide and, ten years after its release, remains a firm favorite amongst teenagers.
A Closer Look
“The book was better” is almost a reflex reaction as far as book-to-TV or book-to-film adaptations are concerned, but the Netflix series proves otherwise. Its pace is slightly slower than that of the book and, therefore, adds to the complexity of the book’s characters.
There’s nothing quite like it on TV. Think of the series as a mishmash between Twin Peaks and Veronica Mars – but with a much more authentic tone.
13 Reasons Why is executive-produced by Selena Gomez, who admits that the show’s theme – a teenage girl struggling emotionally – “hits very close to home”.
Our show @13reasonswhy came out tonight and I couldn’t be more overwhelmed with pride and joy. After 7 years of holding onto this book, I couldn’t of picked a better time for this message to exist. Jay Asher wrote a beautifully tragic, compelling story and we were lucky to have brought it to life. Thank you to every single soul that put their heart into this passion project
Not only has Gomez recorded a song called “Only You” especially for the show’s soundtrack, but you can also expect to hear classics from the 1980s by the likes of The Cure and Joy Division alongside “The Night We Met” by genius indie rock band Lord Huron.
Dylan Minnette – who you may recognize from Scandal, Saving Grace, and Lost – stars as lead character Clay Jensen alongside newcomer Katherine Langford playing Hannah. The series also stars familiar faces like Kate Walsh of Grey’s Anatomy fame and Derek Luke from Empire.
Behind the Scenes
There’s no shortage of immense talent behind the scenes either. Academy Award-winner Tom McCarthy directed the first two episodes, while Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Brian Yorkey wrote the script for season one.
With the global fixation on social media seemingly out of control, 13 Reasons Why takes a caustic look at its role in the lives of high-school students – and the many complications that result.
The show takes a moving yet hard-hitting look at the effects of bullying, exploring how even the smallest of aggressions can cause immense pain. The issue is more rampant amongst teenagers now than ever before, so it was high time that pop culture joined the conversation.
The subject of sexism is also covered through the various forms of sexual harassment – be they active or passive – faced by the character of Hannah, just like teenage girls around the world.
If a TV show’s shock factor is one of the ways that you evaluate it, you’ll appreciate the grit with which 13 Reasons Why is produced. The very graphic scene depicting Hannah’s suicide – complete with tears, a box of razor blades, and her slowly bleeding to death – is not for the faint of heart and has already proven to be rather divisive. Audiences are torn between the fact that suicide shouldn’t actually be easy to watch versus just how realistic and voyeuristic the scene feels.
Ready and Waiting
There are 13 episodes just waiting to be binge-watched – after all, the anticipation of waiting for a new episode each week is so overrated.
The ending of the final episode had fans reeling with shock and leaves behind a trail of unanswered questions, thereby doing plenty to leave the door open for a great second season. Intrigued? Start by watching the show’s trailer below.