Looking for something new to binge this weekend? Here are 13 reasons why you should watch ‘13 Reasons Why’, Netflix’s latest original drama:
1. It’s a good old-fashioned mystery
Do you like your stories drip fed to you over a series of instalments? You’re in luck. ‘13 Reasons Why’ tells the story of teenager Hannah Baker’s death, with each of the 13 episodes revealing a little piece of the puzzle.
2. But with a twist
We know who is dead - Hannah - and we know how: she killed herself. The mystery, the missing information, is why. And Hannah herself is the one who is going to explain it.
3. It revolves around retro cassette tapes
Cassette tapes? Walkmans? Remember those? We might be digital people living in a digital world but this tale isn’t told on a WhatsApp group or through an Instagram Story, and there’s something refreshingly novel about that. Hannah tells the story of her suicide through tape recordings she’s made, leaving her classmates scrabbling to find vintage players so they can listen to what she’s got to say.
4. ‘13 Reasons Why’ is dark
Hannah is playing a blame game, giving 13 people 13 tapes which explain who she believes is responsible for her death. We follow the story through Clay, a quiet, thoughtful and somewhat geeky teen who is distressed to find Hannah’s macabre package on his doorstep.
5. It’s the stuff binge dreams are made of
‘13 Reasons Why’ has got cliffhangers down. Each episode ends with Hannah telling Clay to start a new tape.
6. It’s not your average teen drama
It’s set in a high school, yes. It features those red party cups, sure. But ‘13 Reasons Why’ is tackling some serious subjects like bullying, depression and suicide rather than prom dates and driving tests. It's a mature YA drama and its appeal is in no way limited to teen viewers.
7. It‘s based on a best-selling novel
The series is based on the hit novel by Jay Asher. Hitting bookshelves in 2007, it topped the New York Times Bestseller list and has been published in countries all over the globe.
8. But it takes the story further
‘13 Reasons Why’ takes Asher’s story but expands on it. In the book, Clay listens to the tapes in one stressful night, whereas the Netflix drama allows the story space to breathe, Clay and Hannah’s high school to be fleshed out and the characters in Asher’s tale to be developed on.
9. It’s exec produced by Selena Gomez
And her mum Mandy Teefy. The pair immediately contacted Asher when they read the book. ‘I think he understood that I knew what it meant to be bullied,’ Gomez has said.
10. Dylan Minnette and newcomer Katherine Langford are brilliant
Minnette is great as shy and pained Clay, while newcomer Langford will have you rooting for an impossible future for Hannah right from the very beginning.
11. It asks a lot of interesting questions
Why do young people take their own lives? Can it be prevented? Do shows like this risk glamorising suicide for those contemplating it? This show has plenty of talking points.
12. And covers tricky ground
Teen suicide is a tricky subject and ‘13 Reasons Why’ deals with it cleverly. The series is a descent into grief and touches on all kinds of emotional turmoil, from locker shrines in the high school, selfies and social media posts to scenes featuring Hannah’s distraught mother (played by Kate Walsh.)
13. It takes the subject of suicide seriously
This subject matter hasn’t been taken on lightly. There’s an accompanying documentary called ‘Beyond The Reasons’ that explores depression, includes expert analysis and offers outreach information. The overriding theme of the entire series is one of empathy, compassion and how we can try to prevent teen suicides like this in real life.
‘13 Reasons Why’ is now available on Netflix.
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