I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t this series called ‘film talk’ not ‘TV talk’? Well technically yes but I felt this series was good and important enough to write about. Plus this is my blog and I can do what I want so there’s that too…
For those of you who have never heard of 13 Reasons Why, it is a Netflix original series about Hannah (Katherine Langford) who has committed suicide and has left 13 tapes for the people she feels caused her demise. This is a mystery drama that has you the audience questioning what will happen next.
So far the series has really taken off with mixed reviews. People can’t get enough of it but then there are those who feel its too much or triggering. I loved it. I loved it so much I watched the whole series over two afternoons! Let me break down why.
It Deals With Everyday Themes
This series deals with important themes of teen angst, underage drinking, rape, suicide, depression, drink driving, bulling and sexual objectification. The creators manage to pack a lot into 13 episodes but it is delivered in a fictional setting that doesn’t scream messages like ‘drinking is bad’ or ‘just say no’ etc. Instead its delivered in an entertaining, gripping and fictional setting. It was only after I finished the series that I was left with a heavy feeling of ‘wow, this mirrors everyday life’.
What gripped me was the whole idea for this series. The author of the book (Jay Asher) did an amazing job at finding a unique viewpoint of suicide and ran with it. I think if this series had been made or told in any other way it would not have been as gripping or as effective. With this story, we see more of a snowball effect of little things that start to amount to more without Hannah or her friends realising it. This way it shows the whole picture of not only Hannah but of everyone connected to her and how different aspects and actions can then have a massive ripple effect. This really highlights the fact that we don’t know how our words and actions – even seemingly innocent ones – can affect others.
It Highlights Teenager’s Immaturity
I found this show really interesting in the fact that the teens act quite mature but at the same time their actions and words often seemed immature. The snide bullying remarks, the inability to think of the cause and effect of actions and words. When you think about it teens are going through a lot of hormonal, physical, emotional changes all in an institutionalized setting filled with different characters at different stages in their development. We need to remember that the teenage brain can’t see around corners, meaning they’re more impulsive but also more susceptible to acting on their feeling of depression, sadness, anger, jealousy in the heat of the moments rather than thinking things through. As an audience we see a lot of examples of that throughout the series.
The Filming Style
I want to touch on the seamless filming technique of the series. As the series is constantly flicking between the present and the past, sometimes when movies try to do this, it gets rather confusing. Not with 13 Reasons Why. Apart from the fact that the past contains Hannah, the filming techniques used to create the transition was very ‘aesthetically pleasing’ for lack of a better word. For example: if someone opened a door in the present time and the door shut, the lighting would change and the person may walk back through the door in different clothes and a different attitude and we instantly know we’re in the past.
I know some people find this series either to raw or too, how should I say, ‘blaming-everyone-else-for-my-problems’. I personally didn’t see the series that way. Yes there are some moments that were uncomfortable but they’re supposed to be and I didn’t find Hannah trying to blame anyone. She was telling her truth and the way she saw things and it made for a very interesting series.
Lets start a discussion. Did you like the series? Why/why not? Would you have changed anything? I want to hear your thoughts!