“13 Reasons Why” Scores Big For Netflix
On Friday (March 31st, 2017), Netflix's latest in a long line of original content was released on the streaming service. 13 Reasons Why has really struck a chord with its audience and has become the new "it" show people are talking about.
13 Reasons Why has been on people's radar over the past few months because it became newsworthy when pop star Selena Gomez attached her name as Executive Producer to the show. However, outside of contributing one song used once, you would never know Justin Bieber's ex-girlfriend had anything to do with it. I would venture to guess that the older end of Selena's fan-base would likely be the target demographic for the show. I would say women in their late teens and twenties. But I'm a 33 year old dude and I loved it too, so don't be turned off by that.
The show does focus on high school students, which will also probably cause people to come to improper conclusions about this show. This is no John Hughes film, and it doesn't FEEL like it's about high school students as the situations they're in are very adult and not what you'd typically associate with shows or movies set in that age range. You'll FEEL like you're watching adults.
In fact that would be a small complaint I'd have, which I seem to have anytime I'm watching adults portray children on film, is that some of these casting choices were off the wall. Many were amazing (such as the female lead Hannah Baker, the male lead Clay Jenson, and the easy-to-hate Bryce), but others took me right out of moment. Like, I know that SOME kids in high school have gotten tattooes, but several characters that are supposed to be 17 years old are COVERED in them, like Skye, who honestly looked like she was in her 30s to me. How many high school students do you know with tattoos on their HEAD, like pivotal-character Tony?
I won't spoil anything that you can't ascertain from a quick description from the show, but the show chronicles the last year or so of a 17 year old girl who committed suicide. Before her final act, she recorded 13 audio cassettes and specific instructions on what should be done with them for people that played a role in her decision to end her life. Those tapes tell the story of her life, her decision, and the impact other people had on her, sometimes unbeknownst to them. Each piece of audio outlines one of the people or events that led to her decision, and if they are a reason, they get a copy of the tapes. The result sets off a chain of events of people blaming other people, making changes to their lives, or learning profound things that they otherwise wouldn't have known. As the viewer, we go on the same journey as one of the recipients, with each episode focusing on one side of the cassette. Episode one is called "Tape 1, Side A." Episode two is called "Tape 1, Side B." And so on.
The show's way of telling a story is unique and the narrative is compelling enough that the show will stick with you after the last side of the last tape has 'popped.' You'll sympathize deeply with some characters, loathe some characters, and relate to at least one person on the show.
I feel like if I had a teenage daughter, I'd be leery to let them watch this show. I would say it's very harsh for PG-13, but not fully harsh enough to be R-rated. If PG-16 were a thing, I'd say this would be PG-16. There's no nudity, but strong sexual content and situations. There is a good bit of bad words, but probably not anymore than typical high school students are hearing all the time.
Lastly, I want to commend the show's use of music. The music exists in the show almost like a character. Outside of one or two exceptions, I had never heard any of the music used on this show previously, but I found myself in love with so much of it. It's hard to explain how well it was used, and I know that many people probably don't even notice it most of the time, but I did, and I wanted to let them know that the choices they made musically were brilliant.
I feel like any person in KISS-FM's audience would likely fall in love with the stories and music of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why. If you're unsure and you have Netflix, it's one of those shows that you'll probably know inside of the very first episode if it will work for you or not.