13 Reasons Why is an upcoming Netflix Original series that will dive headlong into the world of high school, bullying and teen suicide. It’s based on the best-selling 2007 young adult novel ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher, in which a teenage suicide victim narrates her reasons for committing suicide on tapes posthumously delivered to a former classmate.
The official plot synopsis is as follows:
Based on the best-selling books by Jay Asher, the Netflix Original Series 13 Reasons Why follows Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch.
Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Will Clay be one of them?
To be honest I find that setup to be incredibly contrived, but I try not to judge a movie or series by its setup – what’s important is where it goes from that starting point. Let’s take a look:
This looks like something that can go either way, especially since this is more of a teaser trailer than a full trailer and doesn’t give us much to go on. Should it go with a brutally honest take on why someone so young would feel the need to take their own life it could make for very compelling viewing, but it could also very easily devolve into melodrama.
One thing that gives me some hope for the former is that Tom McCarthy is on board as an executive producer and directed the first two episodes. He’s the writer/director behind one of last years’ best movies – Spotlight – for which he garnered an Oscar award together with co-writer Josh Singer. You can catch our review for it here. The movie delved into the Boston Globe newspaper’s investigation into the child abuse scandal involving the Catholic Church, so he seems like a very good choice to deal with the serious topics of bullying and teen suicide.
What do you think?
13 Reasons Why’s 13 episode long first season is due to go live on Netflix on 31 March. It stars Katherine Langford, Dylan Minnette, Christian Navarro, Michael Sadler, Justin Prentice, Devin Druid, Jillian Nordby and Miles Heizer.