‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ TV Show- Full Review

1 May

Image via Flickering Myth

Last week I posted about my thoughts on 13 Reasons Why after getting halfway through it. I listened to the audiobook a few years ago and was shocked that it was being turned into a Netflix series. At the time, I felt the book was trying to justify suicide and I still feel that way. Suicide is not an option when things get bad and I felt telling Hannah’s story the way the writers did made it seem like Hannah had no other option. Unfortunately, this show was sickly addicting and I sped through it over the last week and I want to share some thoughts.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Examining how Hannah’s tapes affected others. In the book, Clay is so impacted by the tapes and they’re hard for him to listen to. It’s good to see that this happened to others, too. Maybe this went a little too far, which I’ll address later. Suffice it to say I don’t think Justin would have come away from the tapes without feeling affected.

Skye and Tony. It was nice to see that not everyone at the high school negatively impacted Hannah’s life. Thought I couldn’t help but feel they might be a set up for a second season, it was nice to have characters who were not on the tapes show up in the story.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

The lawsuit. I can understand it. If the school really was as negligent as the tapes claim, it’s deserved. I don’t think the school can be wholly to blame for not recognizing the signs, but I think they did play a part. I think the lynchpin of their case was something they didn’t have at first (the tapes) so I’m not sure how they planned to win that case, but I got it.

Not giving the tapes to Bryce. This made so much sense. If Bryce got the tapes, there’s no way he’d pass them on. When he didn’t, Tony would have been released them and everyone’s secrets would be out. Granted, they were getting out anyway but at least the way the show ended, the students had some control over it.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Changing the suicide. I don’t see a reason for this at all. It was the only scene I couldn’t watch and I think for anyone who knows a person who’s committed suicide or is squeamish (or both), this was really hard and felt uncalled for. Hannah took pills int he book if I’m remembering correctly and pill overdose is a much more common method of suicide for women. I don’t understand why the writers felt it was appropriate to change this.

Things That Changed Too Much

Sequel set up. The show displays on Netflix as ‘Season One.’ The way it leaves off, there’s a lot of room for another person’s story. Alex is in critical condition, Tyler is amassing guns, and Justin seems more suicidal than Hannah. (Side note, I have a theory that Tyler might have shot Alex, but that’s a different story.) We’ve gone through thirteen stories of how these characters were destroyed by Hannah’s death. Why would we want to go through another season of ‘Thirteen Reasons why Alex shot himself’ or ‘Thirteen Reasons why Tyler went on a school shooting spree.’ I think it’s ridiculous to set this up, even if it doesn’t happen.

Jeff and his death being swept under the rug. I get that Jeff’s death was supposed to come as a surprise, but it made everyone at school seem like jerks. They’re falling apart over Hannah and building a memorial to her while Jeff passed away a short while before her and no one is mentioning it. His parents seem apologetic about their son’s death! It’s really despicable and it made me even more upset with the school and if anything gave the Bakers something to root their case in. The school was too reactive and obviously not proactive.

There were some other things that bothered me that don’t fit into these categories. First of all, where do you have to live where school starts late enough to have breakfast at home with your parents after your mom goes for her morning run? Do they start at noon? And where are parents so chill about school-night sleepovers and unchaperoned parties? I was in high school ten years ago, but I don’t think things have changed that much! And what school that size has only one counselor. We had four and my high school was nowhere near that big! There was a lot of ‘suspension of disbelief’ that was hard for me in this series because Liberty High was so different from my (now closed) high school. It kept me out of the story.

I’m not sure what I’ll do if another season comes out. Having a way to teach teenagers to deal with mental illness is great but I don’t think this is the way to do it. Reader, have you see the Thirteen Reasons Why show? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!


4 Responses to “‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ TV Show- Full Review”

  1. deannalcooley May 1, 2017 at 11:04 AM #

    The set up for a second season really bothers me. Part of me understands it, especially because it is Netflix most popular show ever, but taking this story that is about Hannah and about what happened to her and taking these characters and pushing them into something new bothers me. If they do another season I would hope that it would be a different group of characters. I feel like the characters of 13 reasons haven’t told their whole story, but they’ve told their story as far as it relates to Hannah’s story is over.


    • Sam May 1, 2017 at 11:10 AM #

      I don’t think I could take anymore terrible things happening to this group of characters. Having them go through a second season of emotional turmoil and tragedy seems cruel. The plot focused on Hannah and the ripple effects of her death. I don’t think it should be about someone else either. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Charlie @ Girl of 1000 Wonders May 3, 2017 at 10:55 PM #

    I don’t think this show really did teach about mental illness. I think it just showed it and they didn’t know what to do with it, and that’s the part that bothers me. If you’re putting this super shiny resource into the hands of teens and young adults – which the producers admitted was the point to open up that conversation in their demographic – then why the hell is there no relief or recourse? It would be crazy to see results of how many who have watched self-identify with some form of mental illness or feelings like some of the characters had….and no help to turn to.

    Ironically, I was pretty numb to the suicide scene. I have (had – still hard, even after 10 years) 3 family members who committed suicide, the first on my 16th birthday. The second in September 2011, and the last in March 2013. The first one was by pills, the second two were more horrific. All young men in their 20s and one in his 30s. Honestly, I think that scene was for shock value.

    I definitely think the door is open for a second season, and I think Clay and the tapes will be integral to that. I am worried about Tony and Justin’s characters, and even Jessica. I hope they don’t do another “13 Reasons Why” with Alex.

    I agree with a lot of the semantics you’ve listed. My high school was fairly large and only had 2 counselors. That seems unrealistic for the size (and socioeconomics) of the town. The parents seem to be largely uninvolved, which is true today, so the entire party scene and disconnect I can see.


    • Sam May 4, 2017 at 6:16 AM #

      Thanks for bringing up the lack of resources, that’s a great point. Suicide prevention was the theme of the whole show and I felt the only response was to be a better friend and to bully less. There are a lot of other resources that were never touched upon. Thank you for commenting.


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