If you’re not already planning on settling in for a binge session this weekend, it’s time you cancel your plans. Netflix’s latest original is sure to have you hooked. With a push from Selena Gomez and an avid book following, this incarnation of literature is even more gripping than the rapid page turning story in print. I know, you’re probably dying to get home and dive into the new Riverdale episode, but this mystery for those with a deeper investment in mind. Here’s just why 13 Reasons Why is a heavy must view. Binge away.
#1 It Deals With Teen Suicide With Immaculate Honesty
This series follows the story of Hannah Baker and the contradictions that surround teenage suicide. Hannah has a wisdom beyond her years and a self assuredness about her that makes her situation even more poignant. The show touches on the stereotypes that surround mental illness and doesn’t shy away from touchy topics or glaze over the harsh reality of the young protagonists ultimately all consuming grief. It makes for a heavy watch, but it’s bravery shouldn’t be ignored.
#2 Think Mean Girls For The Social Media Generation
Where Mean Girls used humour to address the epidemic of high school bullying and the burn book as their viral medium for abuse, 13 Reasons Why sees cassette tapes and social media slut shaming that fuel the fire. It’s equal parts nostalgia and social media involvement that sees Hannah orchestrate a puzzle piece mystery from beyond the grave. Regina George’s unfortunate bus accident has nothing on this epic display of consequence.
#3 Selena Gomez Produced It
In fact she didn’t just produce it, she recorded part of the soundtrack and even pitched the original project to Netflix to create. Originally she was poised to star but scheduling conflicts saw her take a seat behind the camera instead. Given her honesty surrounding her own struggles with mental health it adds a depth to the project that some depictions of high school drama lack.
#4 The Cast And Crew Is Wonderfully Familiar
Kate Walsh of Greys Anatomy and Private Practice fame takes on the role of Hannah’s mother. While Hannah’s doting partner Clay is played by Dylan Minnette who you may recognise from Saving Grace, Don’t Breathe and a million features beginning with a time as young Michael in Prison Break. Not to mention the series is directed by Academy Award nominee Tom McCarthy, of Spotlight fame. The mix makes for a thrilling cocktail of recognisable faces and blank canvas actors just about to come into their own. Including the titular Hannah played by an up and coming Aussie actress from Perth, Katherine Langford.
#5 It Tackles The Bystander Effect
While we’re not here to give too much away, the whole essence of the show is just how much of a role each person played in Hannah’s eventual act. The tapes handed out like court appearance notices, as if noting just how much of an impact words, shares and just letting it all happen without stepping in has on the person on the receiving end. One recording from the tape sees Hannah offer this warning “Maybe you did something cruel… Or maybe you just watched it happen.” Without romanticising it the series dives head first and delves deep into online cruelty served up callously and it’s awful domino effect.
Image source: Netflix, TV Guide.