If there’s one thing Mean Girls, Duff, and Riverdale has told us it’s that high school can be such a cruel and scary jungle. The media has banked on this phenomenon. By now there are probably over a hundred different movies and TV shows about high school drama, but so few managed to deliver an emotionally impactful account of the social issues teens face within the concrete walls of high school and outside of it.
Netflix’s new drama, 13 Reasons Why, sets out to break the mold and tells a heart-wrenching tale of depression and suicide among teens. Here are 13 reasons why you should watch 13 Reasons Why.
It deals with real social issues
Depression, suicide, bullying, heartbreak, sexual assault, LGBTQ, racial discrimination—those aren’t exactly new territories when it comes to dramas centered on the lives of high school students. What makes 13 Reasons Why particularly engaging is the fact that it delves deeply into the emotional aspect of these issues, instead of merely scratching the surface and presenting what people already know. It goes into the many layers of it, and breaks them down in a manner that tugs at heartstrings.
13 Reasons Why tells the story of Hannah Baker, a high school junior who committed suicide. Days after her death, Hanna’s classmate, Clay, receives a box filled with cassette tapes. In these tapes, Hannah narrates 13 traumatic events that led to her decision to kill herself. She addresses each tape to a person who caused a particular drama.
Through the tapes, people unravel the events that led to Hannah’s ultimate demise. Moreover, it shows how Hannah’s death affects the entire school, especially those who now know that they may have contributed to it.
It’s not a pretty picture, and that’s a good thing
High school dramas are often painted in colorful, upbeat tones that sometimes trivialize the crucial issues they present. 13 Reasons Why shows a grimmer picture of these issues. It’s a very honest retelling. There’s no sugar-coating, as it should be.
It helps raise awareness on mental health issues and teen suicide
By now I have established what the subject matter of 13 Reasons Why is. I totally believe this show has the power to start the important conversation about these critical issues. It’s really an eye opener and helps put a lot of things into perspective.
High school teen drama requisites: check!
Despite its rather serious subject matter, 13 Reasons Why is still every bit of a high school teen drama as one would expect. Hannah and Clay go to prom. They attend basketball games. The usual ingredients are in the mix.
13 Reasons Why has a stellar cast. The female lead, Hannah, is portrayed by Katherine Langford. Riverdale’s Reggie is also in this show. Kate Walsh, whom I loved in Grey’s Anatomy, is playing Hannah’s mother.
Also, my younger sister definitely approves the eye candy in this film.
Dylan deserves a separate subtopic because I totally adore him as an actor. I particularly like the fact that Dylan is in this, especially since I enjoyed watching him in 2016’s amazing thriller Don’t Breathe. When I first saw him as Clay in the trailer, I immediately thought he was perfect for this role. Although I haven’t seen a lot of Dylan’s other works, I think he has really solid acting chops. Also, it doesn’t hurt that he’s absolutely charming.
Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy is directing
Academy Award-winning director Tom McCarthy directed Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and co-produced it with Selena Gomez. If you’ve seen Spotlight (which won Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars btdubs), you’ll know the level of caliber Tom is bringing to the table.
Selena Gomez is devoted to the show
13 Reasons Why holds a very dear place in Selena Gomez’s heart, who herself has been treated for emotional issues. Speaking to TVLine, Dylan says Selena “really cares so much about this project.”
“She’s been working this for years, and then to have this finally pieced together is a real achievement for her. It’s infectious, her love for it. It really spread,” Dylan adds.
Selena Gomez has been very honest about her anxiety and depression. She has been a strong advocate of mental health and a solid supporter of those who are going through the same pains as she. Selena is emotionally invested in the project, which means the show is filled with a lot of heart and soul, showing depression as real and as raw as it can get.
13 Reasons Why soundtrack
Of course, this Netflix teen drama wouldn’t be complete without an amazing soundtrack. Selena has two songs on the soundtrack: a cover of Yazoo’s Only You and an acoustic version of her own Kill Em With Kindness.
Classics such as Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart and The Cure’s “Fascination Street” are also featured.
Some of my personal favorites–Vance Joy, Billie Eilish, M83—are also in it. Check out Pop Sugar for a complete list of the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack.
High ratings, good reviews
It’s a Netflix show, so topnotch quality can be expected. So far 13 Reasons Why has an 8.4 rating on IMDb and 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Not that your viewing pleasures should be dictated by numbers and worded reviews, but a lot of news outlets are also raving about the show.
Jay Asher gave the adaptation a thumbs-up
Sometimes, book-to-screen adaptations can be a disaster and a lot of YA novels have fallen victims to that. Author Jay Asher gave Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why his personal seal of approval and called it an “amazing adaptation.”
There might be 13 Reasons Why Season 2 coming up
Season 1 is said to cover the entire plot of the book, but that doesn’t mean a second season is completely off the table. Even the first season has expanded the story from the original book. Even Jay Asher is totally on board with Netflix continuing his story.
“If they want to continue it, I definitely trust where they would take it,” Jay tells Bustle.
It’s easy to binge-watch
It’s relatively easy to binge-watch 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. The first season only has 13 episodes, and each one has a runtime of around 40-60 minutes.