13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why
13 Reasons Why
Home » 13 Reasons Why

A note for grownups: “Stranger Things” is NOT Netflix’s next hit “13 Reasons Why”.

Series based on Jay Asher’s 2007 novel of the same name, which comes out Friday, will most likely be appealing to those within that age group who pushed the book up the children’s and young adult best-seller lists. Chances are it won’t appeal to their parents.

It is like a gloomier variant of “Pretty Little Liars” and “Twisted”, the Freeform (once ABC Family) drama in tone and style. Like them, this show treats teenagerdom as an enigma beyond adults’ understanding.

Young audiences will find themselves hooked onto 13 Reasons Why due to its mix of thriller noir and morose teenage melodrama; however, beware that it has shockingly realistic scenes involving rape and suicide.

For the rest of us who do not have so much time for this labyrinthine story without sense or point or any narrative gimmicks hidden in its title.

Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), a socially-awkward classmate haunted by an unspoken crush, gets a shoe box containing vintage mixtapes from her – Maxell 60s for all you retro-heads – about two weeks after she died.

These tapes contained her accounts of thirteen traumatic incidents leading to her intentional death each dedicated to that particular school-mate or guardian responsible for such a torment. She left instructions such that when he is late on the list, other tormentors pass it on until Clay receives them since most people she accuses had already heard.

That book started off similarly although it took place over one night with Clay listening as he visited all spots where Hannah got into trouble. The present-day section of the plot has been expanded by Yorkey into 13 hourlong episodes (flashing back between how things used to be when seen through Hannah’s eyes and how they actually are for Clay).

This time round, however, Clay takes the role of a detective as well as an avenging angel who confronts other students in order to get at what really happened and restore Hannah’s reputation in the process. The show also includes more adults (among its cast of relatively unknown actors is Kate Walsh playing Hannah’s mother who sues the school), allowing it to draw on performers like Brian d’Arcy James, Steven Weber, Keiko Agena with whom we are somewhat familiar.

The book almost inevitably became a thirteen-part series but this inflation has some negative consequences. In reading through young adult novels in one go, Hannah’s litany of woes can be more easily digested – from broken friendships to fatal auto accidents and sexual violence.

We’re supposed to realize that there is an emotional and logical sequence behind these events; thus her loss of social standing along with declining self-esteem are triggers for new cases of bullying or abandonment. But this does not seem logical in her progression. It often feels fake, like a very long PSA.

Another problem is a storytelling contrivance that quickly becomes irritating. Clay’s listening to tapes in one sitting drives the Netflix series’ plot, while on the other hand, Tape 1 sets off its course of events — i.e., no longer is it possible to say “Stop”. This means that instead of taking up all the tapes at once as would be expected by any teen just like his fictional peers on TV show, Clay listens to them one after another and keeps meeting up with others in them by quizzing, arguing or fighting with them without knowing what happened or his own part in it although he could do so easily with a couple of hours binging.

It is almost seen only as an aspect of this episode but you are likely also going to want scream at him for not completing the rest of tape or rather feel like some other characters from Play. You might find yourself skeptical, though, despite the undeniable veracity of some of the show’s depictions of high school angst. The overall message — one that probably appeals to teenagers — is that it’s possible to figure out why someone takes her own life, and therefore avoid having others repeat the same mistake. But Derek Luke’s beleaguered school counselor may have been right when he said: you can never tell.

Watch free movies on Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top