“13 Reasons Why” REVIEW

**Mild-ish SPOILERS for 13 Reasons Why**

Through all the chaos, stress, and school work that has been going on in my life recently, there was one show that I just had to keeping watching no matter what: 13 Reasons Why. Odds are if you haven’t seen the show already, you’ve probably heard about it. This show is INCREDIBLY popular, which is sort of why it took me awhile to watch it. I wasn’t in the mood for another “teen” drama show at the time, and there was so much talk about it, that I just really wasn’t interested. I was still intrigued by the concept of the show, and started to get really curious. It didn’t help that my good friend, MaKaila, was constantly telling me that I NEEDED to watch this show. I finally gave in to the peer pressure, and watched the show.

The whole show.

In a week.

I was hooked.

I’m going to do things a little different with this review because I just really like puns… sorry.

Here are 13 reasons why 13 Reasons Why gets a FANTASTIC out of 10:

  1. Premiere Episode: Generally, I’m not a big fan of premiere episodes. They typically feel messy, unbalanced stories that never truly feel like the rest of the show. Premiere episodes have a lot of tasks to do. They have to introduce the premise of the show, introduce us to the main characters AND supporting characters, give us hints as to what the season will hold, and finish by telling its own story within an episode. It’s a tough job, and one that this show manages to do really well. The overall story of the tape is relatively small and spread throughout the length of the episode. While this story is being told, we are introduced to both Clay and Hannah, our two main characters to this show. Also, the show doesn’t reveal its gimmick at the end of the episode, but instead shows us in the first 20 minutes, and relies on the overall story to keep us coming back after the premiere. And it works.
  2. The Set-Up of the Show: For those that don’t know, here is the concept of the show. Hannah Baker, a high school student, has committed suicide. Clay Jensen, a friend of Hannah’s, receives a box of tapes (13 tapes) that have been recorded by Hannah. Each tape is about a person responsible for Hannah’s suicide, and because Clay has just received the tapes, he is on one of them. But he has no idea which one, or why he is on it. The mystery alone is enough for anyone to keep watching the show, but its structure in storytelling was more appealing to me. The show constantly cuts from the past (the stories on Hannah’s tapes) and the present (Clay listening and reacting to the tapes). It’s through these transitions that the story maintains its mystery. We only get bits and pieces of the story, and slowly put it together by looking at the causes of the past and effects of the present.
  3. Clay Jensen: As the main character of the present-day story, Clay works well as a character we can relate to. When Clay listens to the tapes, he learns more about the people that he has seen every day and it’s through Clay that we get to also learn about these characters. Sure, he makes some bad decisions, but it’s the kind of choices that we would probably make if we were in that situation. We want to see Clay grow and learn from his mistakes, and his progression through the show works really well.
  4. Hannah Baker: Right from the beginning we all know Hannah’s fate. We know where her story ends, and the show uses that as a way to attach us to Hannah. She becomes someone we know is hurting, and even though we want to fix things, it’s too late. Her story serves as a message, not only to the characters in the show, but to the viewers as well.
  5. Characters You LOVE: Besides Clay and Hannah, there are other characters that you begin to attach to. Tony and Hannah’s parents are obvious, but as the show goes on, there are a few characters featured on the tapes that you actually like.
  6. Characters You HATE: There are also plenty of characters that you hate. Either through their choices or just who they are as a character, you can’t help but feel angry when they are on screen. This show does a fantastic job portraying some really bad people.
  7. Parents: This show isn’t a typical “teen-drama”. In fact, calling it a “teen”-anything is just plain wrong. The parents in this show are just as important as the teenagers. Everybody has a role to plain, not just in this show but in real life. Things that happen in high school don’t just impact the kids, but the adults too. I found the parents to be just as compelling as any teen in the show.
  8. Mature Content: The story of the show is one that is very mature. It deals with some very serious topics. Thankfully, this show isn’t graphic to just be graphic and controversial. It’s graphic because it is REAL. These issues really do happen, and it’s not pretty. There are moments in this show that are horrifying and uncomfortable to watch, and it’s supposed to be. This show handles these issues in a respectable manner, but not a modest one. It puts a spotlight on these issues, and never turns away.
  9. The Message: The messages throughout the show are pretty clear, and I’m glad the show never loses sight of its meaning. Its story and characters amplify the meaning of the messages, and doesn’t get distracted with other topics or ideas.
  10. Everyone has Flaws: There is not ONE character in this show that is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody fails at some point. The students, the teachers, and the parents all have their flaws. It gives the show a more “real” feel to it, because just like in the real world… nobody is perfect.
  11. Bring some Tissues: Something would have been wrong with this show if I didn’t feel any emotions during the sad times. Not surprisingly, I cried like a baby. So good job… I guess…
  12. “The Night We Met” – Lord Huron: THIS SONG. If you’ve watched the show, you know how great this song is. It PERFECTLY captures the tone of the entire show.
  13. The Future (Season 2): By the end, this show sets-up some interesting ideas for a second season. I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen next for our characters. However, I don’t want this show to become a lame soap-opera. Don’t lose sight of what makes this show great in the first place.

 

So that was 13 reasons why 13 Reasons Why gets a FANTASTIC out of 10.

What did you think of 13 Reasons Why?

Let me know down below!

Thanks for reading!

-Manny 🙂

 

**My next review will be on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2**

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