“13 Reasons Why” is a new teen mystery/drama Netflix series based on the 2007 novel by Jay Asher that stars Dylan Minnette. The show follows a young high schooler named Clay who randomly receive a set of tapes with 13 sides discussing the reasons why a fellow classmate named Hannah dies. Throughout the tapes, she discusses the people who surrounded her and ‘caused her death.’ She wishes for said tapes to be passed around to these people, and some try to do all that is in their power to cover it up.
The actors in the show portrayed each of their respective roles well, staying accurate to the characters attitudes. However, age-wise, the show was mostly comprised of 20-year-old actors playing high schoolers, making it less realistic and believable. The songs for the show seemed very fitting, except for Selena Gomez’s song at the end, which almost as though she wanted to squeeze in some self-advertising.
Cinematography-wise, the separate shots of the town, along with the lighting and colors used for emotional effect, were stunning. It had an aspect where if it was showing the scenes Hannah was alive, it would be in brighter, happier colors, but as it showed scenes after her death, everything had darker, bluer hues.
The show portrays a suicide in a less romanticized way than most mainstream media. Most media will have the boyfriend or significant other save the suicidal person by showing them love and affection, which is often seen as disrespectful to suicide victims, but this show disproves that stereotype throughout.
The LGBT characters were very well represented and didn’t live up to the typical gay stereotype. One aspect of the show that is also really thoughtful and heartwarming is the little section included at the end called “13 Reasons and Beyond,” which has the people involved in the making of the show going through an in-depth meaning behind the show.
There were many differences from the book to the show, the main one being the span of time which the tapes are being played. In the book, Clay wanders around town listening to the tapes in the course of one night. In the show, however, it brings you through the heart-wrenching story over the course of a couple of weeks. The show also gives you an outside perspective on the other students who were involved in her tapes as opposed to Clay’s first person perspective. In the novel, Clay is more outgoing and well-liked, but in the show, he is shown as a more shrewd and socially awkward character. This along with a lot more things differ the book from the series; another difference is with the ending which eludes to a second season in the show.
I would overall give this show a ⅘ for its amazing actors, soundtrack, cinematography and portrayal of someone who is suicidal. I would recommend it to anyone who is into drama/mystery shows, that isn’t bothered by explicit language, drug abuse, rape, or suicide. The show touches on the topic of suicide in a mostly respectful way and is really intriguing as the story unfolds.
- Actors took on character
- Nice cinematics
- Ages of actors weren't appropriate
- Some songs weren't fitting
Featured image courtesy of Netflix