For anyone who enjoys binging the latest shows on Netflix, their newest original series 13 Reasons Why should be the standard that all other Netflix series are held to from now on. And considering there is already controversy surrounding the show and its content, it’s not likely to be soon forgotten by either fans or foes.
The show chronicles the events and circumstances that lead to high school student Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford) deciding to take her own life. She tells her story through cassette tapes, and passes them off to be heard in order by the 13 people she considers to play a part in her tragic ending. Hannah’s story is told mostly through the eyes of her friend and classmate Clay (Dylan Minnette), as he struggles through understanding not only why Hannah committed suicide, but also how he is a part of it. Dylan Minnette has the stand-out performance of this series, portraying such heartbreak, anger, confusion and depression all so flawlessly. To see him take on the heroic persona as he seeks his own form of justice for his deceased friend and obvious crush is fantastic. You can’t help but root for him in his quest for the truth.
The reasons Hannah gives for her decision are all very real situations that are sadly extremely prevalent today- which is why those watching should be cautioned to only look at the show as a form of entertainment (for lack of a better word) and not something to emulate if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts. That being said, this show is powerful and thoughtful in every bit of dialogue, and does a great job of bringing you into the world as perceived by both Hannah and Clay.
One curious observation is that for a group of teenagers who are bullies, liars and incredibly self-centered, the majority of them seem to have loving parents and well-adjusted home lives (with the exception of a few key players in Hannah’s tapes). Granted, teenagers don’t typically have valid reasons for acting hormonal and mean-spirited, but if you believe in the idea that people are a product of their environment, it is something worth mentioning. There are also some cliffhangers for a few of the crucial storylines toward the end that could have been brought to a close in a more substantial way. Although doing this is kind of a clever move because it leaves the audience searching for bits of closure to certain things, just as the characters themselves had been searching for throughout the show.
As a whole, this show is completely worth indulging in for a weekend. Every episode leaves you wondering who the next person on Hannah’s list will be, and what they could have possibly done to be called out. Some of them will be a surprise, but all of them will certainly make you want to play “Detective” as you watch through and piece together what happens.
Rating: 45 Tony Padilla mix tapes out of 50 (90%)