I spent a couple of days last week watching the new Netflix release 13 Reasons Why. I hadn’t read the book before and was only aware of it because I follow Kate Walsh on social media (I’m a Grey’s Anatomy fan and followed her character, Addison, to the spin off Private Practice). Once the trailer was released I recognised some of the other actors involved: Dylan Minnette (Saving Grace, Scandal), Miles Heizer (Parenthood), Ross Butler (Riverdale), Ajiona Alexus (Empire), Derek Luke (Hawthorne, Empire), Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls) and Brian d’Arcy James (Smash) among others.
Going into this show I knew it would be dark, it’s about a teenager who decides to take her own life, of course it was never going to end well, but boy did it go to some deep, dark places in the process.
If you are unfamiliar with the story, 13 Reasons Why picks up after the recent suicide of Liberty High School pupil Hannah Baker. It primarily follows her fellow pupil, workmate, friend Clay Jensen, but also looks into the lives of some of her other classmates too. Clay receives a box of cassette tapes which were recorded by Hannah before her death – the 13 reasons why she would be taking her own life. Each episode deals with 1 side of each tape and the person to which they relate, and we see the story unfold through Hannah’s narration and Clay’s reaction to the information they hold.
I feel like this is a show that needs to be watched. The subject matters it deals with – bullying, sexual assault, depression, self-harm and suicide are prevalent to everyone, everywhere. Is it a perfect show? No. It would be impossible to make something that deals with such sensitive issues and have it be flawless, but I would recommend everyone watches it. Be warned that there is swearing, there is violence, there are some truly horrible people and situations depicted in it and they certainly do not shy away from showing the unsettling. There were times when I felt almost sick to my stomach, like the worst gut-punch you’ve ever had with without the actual blow. But that’s the point, isn’t it? If you can watch it and not be affected by something in it I would be shocked.
I do also have to mention the actress who portrays Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). Considering this is basically the first thing she’s ever acted in? She is pretty spectacular. Especially given the things that are represented in this show.
I’m going to stop rambling now and leave you with the trailer for the show and a reminder to be compassionate to other people – it won’t hurt you and you’d be surprised how far some kind words can go