“13 Reasons Why” is a show on Netflix based on a book of the same. It follows the aftermath of a girl who committed suicide and how she explained her reasons why on 13 sides of cassette tapes. First, I’d like to say that the way they treat cassette tapes makes me feel really old. The premise of this show was intriguing. Everyone seemed to be gushing about it, so I thought I’d take a swing at it. Well I swung and ended up with a full count. The story ended up not being all that great. The first few episodes were okay, where we are introduced to everyone, but the middle six are pretty slow and monotonous.
I get that the idea is that all of these people did something to her either directly or indirectly, but the idea of knowing what’s on the tapes was more interesting than the story. I couldn’t care less about these characters, mostly because they’re horribly written. I never read the book, so I’m not sure if it’s a direct adaptation. Even the actors who have been good in other shows or films aren’t very good. I can’t tell if it’s just the material, though. Derek Luke and Kate Walsh, in particular, have very poor performances. They are usually very good, but Walsh came off as Wynonna Ryder from Stranger Things and Luke seemed disinterested throughout the season. Dylan Minnette, who plays Clay, comes alive in the last few episodes. I’ve only seen him in Prisoners and Fred Claus, but he really keeps the show together. It’s too little too late at that point.
I will say that some positives are Clay’s father and Tony’s car. It’s a pretty sweet mustang and his brother’s Camaro is even nicer. His father seems to be the most realistic and relatable character on the show. He’s the only genuine character on the show to me. I do think the storytelling device of cassette tapes was interesting. I believe the book was published in 2007, so it makes sense that was the media. Not so much in 2017. It did come off a little bit like “Looking for Alaska” by John Green. That involves the same premise of a girl who died in high school and the crush tasked with discovering why and moving on. It does pick up a bit on episode 11, but that’s also too little too late.
I’d say 6 of the 13 episodes are good. Not a good batting average. Looks like I struck out swinging with this one. I think it could have benefited from a shorter season. Shows like “Stranger Things” and “Legion” worked well with 8 episodes. That’s a similar problem with the Marvel shows on Netflix. For some reason, they have the license to go with as short or as long as they want to go on Netflix, but decide to stick with 13 episodes. I am going to say there are some very graphic scenes including rape and the girl’s suicide scene in the final episode. I would not let anyone who could be in a position to commit suicide or suffering from depression to watch this, or anyone not mature enough to understand what is happening. If you are having any feelings of hopelessness or depression, please seek out the proper medical help.
In closing, I would have to say it was very disappointing. It started off interesting, but dissolved into teen angst and story arcs not related to the main story. I wish it focused more on Hannah’s story and maybe have less people involved in her death. It ended up not really being about Hannah in the end, unfortunately. It was more about everyone else’s actions and the consequences, which makes sense but could have been condensed to make a better, more impactful story. People are clamoring for a second season, but I don’t think it’s necessary. The story is done. I’ll take a page out of Netflix’s book and do a thumbs up or down rating. I’m going to give it a thumbs down. It’s a story that needs to be told, but was executed poorly.