Netflix continues to release quality series at a dizzying rate and the different themes, genres and demographics they’re able to cover in the process is quite impressive. They seem determined to offer a high quality option for fans of any type of TV and with 13 Reasons Why they deliver a teen drama that exceeds the expectations of its genre and boasts writing, directing (including two episodes helmed by Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy) and a young cast that couldn’t be described as anything other than top notch. Regardless of anyone’s conclusion on the show itself, there’s no denying that it’s incredibly well-made.
I also happened to find it compulsively watchable. There is absolutely a mysteriously morbid undercurrent throughout the whole thing that captivates you from the beginning and you want to see how all the pieces are going to fit, but apart from that, even in the midst of such darkness, the show feels surprisingly hopeful and its heartbreakingly real characters are the type that make TV such an exciting medium. With each passing hour, teenagers that could be written as archetypes are fleshed out and brought to life with admirable complexity.
By now, you probably know that 13 Reasons Why is a Netflix series inspired by a young adult novel of the same name by Jay Asher. I remember reading the book about seven years ago but the details are fuzzy so aside from the basic outline, most of this felt new to me and I couldn’t tell you what they changed. Just like the book, the show follows a high school student named Clay Jensen as he listens to 13 tapes recorded by fellow student, Hannah Baker, explaining the reasons she killed herself. All 13. And she names names. The rules are you have to listen to the tapes or the details will leak and if you have the tapes, it means you’re on one of them.
SPOILERS from this point forward….