When “13 Reasons Why” dropped on March 31, hundreds of students and adults binge-watched the show, some finishing the whole season in a single sitting.
Finishing the show that quickly wasn’t hard for many, being immediately hooked by such an interesting concept for a story.
The show is based on the 2007 young adult book by the same title.
The story follows a high school junior named Hannah who commits suicide and leaves 13 tapes giving the reasons for her passing. Each tape focuses on a different person who contributed to the untimely death of the young teen.
The protagonist of the show is Clay, a friend and coworker of Hannah who seems like an innocent bystander in the whole situation. As Clay listens to each of the tapes in order, he slowly uncovers the awful things his classmates did to Hannah that pushed her over the edge.
The show is very emotional and addresses important issues for people of all ages, particularly mental illness and bullying. The show tackles these issues head on, without romanticizing any aspects of the depressing reality that affects many high schoolers.
Diversity was one of the strongest points of this series, having equal gender representation, LGBT characters, an Asian lead and Hispanic characters (while of course having straight white protagonists). The book the show is based on didn’t have any orientation or heritage descriptions of the characters, so it was nice to see a wide range of representation.
Adding a lot of content not in the books was a great decision. Characters were more fleshed out and more impactful moments were added to play with the viewer’s emotions. However, despite the several positive aspects of the show, it dragged during the middle episodes.
Unfortunately, at times it seemed like the show-runners were stretching to add enough details to fill the 13-hour run. One episode per tape sounds like a great idea from the get-go, but in actuality, not every tape is important enough for a full hour of television.
The last episode is the most heart-wrenching and adrenaline-pumping, making the long and winding lead worth the wait. The last hour even set ups the potential for a second season, leaving the audience waiting to see if anything more turns up in the future for this show.