13 Reasons Why
|13 Reasons Why|
|Based on||Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
|Developed by||Brian Yorkey|
|Narrated by||Katherine Langford|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||49–61 minutes|
|Picture format||4K (Ultra HD)|
|Original release||March 31, 2017|
13 Reasons Why (stylized onscreen as Th1rteen R3asons Why) is an American television series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and adapted by Brian Yorkey for Netflix. The show revolves around a student who kills herself after a series of culminating failures, brought on by select individuals within their school. The series received largely positive reviews from critics and audiences, who praised its subject matter and casting.
Diana Son and Brian Yorkey are co-showrunners on the series, which consists of thirteen episodes. All episodes, and the special 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons, were released worldwide on Netflix on March 31, 2017.
Originally conceived as a film set to be released by Universal Pictures with Selena Gomez in the lead role, the adaptation was picked up as a television series by Netflix in late 2015. Gomez served as an executive producer.
- Dylan Minnette as Clay Jensen
- Katherine Langford as Hannah Baker
- Christian Navarro as Tony Padilla
- Alisha Boe as Jessica Davis
- Brandon Flynn as Justin Foley
- Justin Prentice as Bryce Walker
- Miles Heizer as Alex Standall
- Ross Butler as Zach Dempsey
- Devin Druid as Tyler Down
- Amy Hargreaves as Lainie Jensen
- Derek Luke as Kevin Porter
- Kate Walsh as Olivia Baker
- Brian d'Arcy James as Andrew "Andy" Baker
- Josh Hamilton as Matt Jensen
- Michele Selene Ang as Courtney Crimsen
- Steven Silver as Marcus Cole
- Ajiona Alexus as Sheri Holland
- Tommy Dorfman as Ryan Shaver
- Sosie Bacon as Skye Miller
- Brandon Larracuente as Jeff Atkins
- Timothy Granaderos as Montgomery de la Cruz
- Steven Weber as Principal Gary Bolan
- Keiko Agena as Pam Bradley
- Mark Pellegrino as Sheriff's Deputy Standall
- Joseph C. Phillips as Mr. Davis
- Cindy Cheung as Karen Dempsey
- Henry Zaga as Brad
- Robert Gant as Todd Crimsen
- Wilson Cruz as Dennis Vasquez
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Tape 1, Side A"||Tom McCarthy||Brian Yorkey||March 31, 2017|
Clay Jensen finds a box filled with audio cassette tapes anonymously dropped on his front doorstep. He plays the first one in his dad's boombox and realizes it is his recently deceased classmate Hannah Baker who is talking, before accidentally dropping it when scared by his mom. On his friend Tony's Walkman, which he stole, Clay listens to the first tape, in which Hannah relates the experiences that triggered her suicide. She starts by sharing the story of her first kiss, with Justin Foley, who spread a salacious rumor that began her downward spiral. Clay is revealed, through numerous short flashbacks, to have been in love with Hannah and to have worked with her as cinema attendants.
Tape subject: Justin Foley, for spreading a racy picture of Hannah along with a sexual rumor about their encounter.
|2||"Tape 1, Side B"||Tom McCarthy||Brian Yorkey||March 31, 2017|
On the tape, Hannah reminisces about her friendship with two other new students: Jessica, who moves frequently because her father is in the Air Force, and Alex, whom they met at a coffee shop. Jessica and Alex eventually become an item and stop hanging out with Hannah. When Alex breaks up with Jessica, Jessica blames Hannah. In the present, Hannah's mother, Olivia, finds a note in her daughter's textbook that leads her to believe Hannah was being bullied. Bryce Walker's circle of peers meets with knowledge about Clay listening to Hannah's recordings.
Tape subject: Jessica Davis, for mistakenly believing that Hannah was the reason for her breakup with Alex.
|3||"Tape 2, Side A"||Helen Shaver||Diana Son||March 31, 2017|
Hannah's relationships are threatened by a 'best/worst list' made by Alex Standall, who has put a "target" on Hannah. In the present, Hannah's mother, Olivia Baker, seeks out the school principal about her suspicion of bullying and makes a disturbing discovery. In the midst of his investigation, Clay turns to Alex for answers, who warns him against trusting Tony, whom Clay later finds in a hostile occurrence. As Justin tries to recuperate from his recent slump, Bryce strong-arms Clay and Alex into a drink-off in an alleyway.
Tape subject: Alex Standall, for listing Hannah's ass as the best one in school to get Jessica Davis jealous so he could be more popular.
|4||"Tape 2, Side B"||Helen Shaver||Thomas Higgins||March 31, 2017|
Hannah hears someone outside her window, and confesses to her friend, Courtney, that she has a stalker. Courtney offers to help her catch the creeper in the act. While waiting for the stalker to arrive, they play an alcohol-fueled game of truth or dare which leads to the two of them making out on Hannah's bed. The stalker, school photographer Tyler Down, takes a photo of the girls and sends it around to the school. This effectively ends Courtney and Hannah's friendship. In the present day, Clay takes a naked picture of Tyler and sends it around the school as payback, instead of throwing a rock through his window as suggested by Hannah on the tapes.
Tape subject: Tyler Down, for stalking Hannah and spreading her and Courtney's kiss photo around the school.
|5||"Tape 3, Side A"||Kyle Patrick Alvarez||Julia Bicknell||March 31, 2017|
Courtney, afraid of her classmates finding out about her sexuality, spreads the rumour that the girls in the leaked photos are Hannah and Laura, an openly lesbian classmate. Courtney also adds to the rumor about Hannah and Justin, furthering Hannah's poor reputation. Meanwhile, in the present, Clay takes Courtney to visit Hannah's grave. She leaves quickly, not ready to face the loss of her classmate and her involvement. Tony arrives with Clay's bike and gives him a tape with the song he and Hannah danced to at the Winter Formal. Later the boys force Clay into the car with them and scare him into silence about the tapes by driving over the speed limit. They are pulled over by the police but get away with it as the officer is revealed to be Alex's father.
Tape subject: Courtney Crimsen, for throwing Hannah under the bus to avoid being discovered as one of the people on the kiss photo.
|6||"Tape 3, Side B"||Kyle Patrick Alvarez||Nic Sheff||March 31, 2017|
Hannah's date on Valentine's Day with Marcus doesn't go as planned due to the rumors that she's 'easy'. In the present, Alex gets into a fight with Montgomery and they both have to appear before the student council.
Tape subject: Marcus Cole, for humiliating Hannah in public on their One Dollar Valentine's date.
|7||"Tape 4, Side A"||Gregg Araki||Elizabeth Benjamin||March 31, 2017|
After Hannah refuses to go out with Zach, he sabotages her emotionally during a class project. Out of revenge, Clay damages Zach's car, but in the present, things turn out to be different than they appeared. Clay is having both audial and visual hallucinations of Hannah during the day as well, including seeing her dead body on the floor of the basketball court during a game and hearing her tape playing over the school's intercom system.
Tape subject: Zach Dempsey, for stealing the "positive notes" destined to Hannah in Communications class out of revenge for her rejecting him.
|8||"Tape 4, Side B"||Gregg Araki||Kirk Moore||March 31, 2017|
Hannah is touched by poetry recited by fellow student Ryan Shaver and pours her heart out after encouragement from his side. Ryan betrays her by publishing the poem against her will in his school magazine. In the present day, Tony confides to Clay about the night of Hannah's death.
Tape subject: Ryan Shaver, for stealing a poem she wrote noting her personal problems and publishing it in the school newspaper without her consent.
|9||"Tape 5, Side A"||Carl Franklin||Hayley Tyler||March 31, 2017|
While hiding in Jessica's room during a summer party, Hannah witnesses Bryce Walker raping an unconscious and intoxicated Jessica, with Justin's consent. In the present, Clay talks to Justin who claims it's better Jessica doesn't know the truth. Marcus warns Clay the worst is yet to come.
Tape subject: Justin Foley, for allowing Bryce to rape his girlfriend Jessica.
|10||"Tape 5, Side B"||Carl Franklin||Nathan Louis Jackson||March 31, 2017|
After the party, Hannah gets a ride from Sheri. They get into a small accident and hit a 'Stop' sign, but Sheri refuses to call the cops. While Hannah is on her way to find a phone, a tragic accident occurs at that same crossing, causing the death of Jeff Atkins, a friend of Clay's. When Hannah tries to tell Clay about the 'Stop' sign he pushes her away thinking it's one of her drama moments again. In the present, Jessica's behavior becomes more erratic.
Tape subject: Sheri Holland, for abandoning Hannah after she crashed her car into a stop sign, which later caused the death of another student.
|11||"Tape 6, Side A"||Jessica Yu||Diana Son||March 31, 2017|
Clay finally listens to his tape and is overcome with guilt because he could not do enough to prevent her suicide. In present day, Justin finds out Jessica is at Bryce's. He confronts her there and admits that Bryce raped her on the night of the party. Olivia Baker finds a list with the names of all the people on the tapes, although she doesn't know what the list means.
Tape subject: Clay Jensen, for leaving Hannah at her request, after they almost have sex. However, Hannah notes that Clay does not deserve to be on the tapes (she confesses her admiration and like for him) but it was necessary to add him to the reasons because he was important to what happened and she wanted him to know.
|12||"Tape 6, Side B"||Jessica Yu||Elizabeth Benjamin||March 31, 2017|
After accidentally losing her parent's deposits which were supposed to go to the bank, a depressed Hannah stumbles upon a party thrown by Bryce. The night ends in tragedy when she ends up alone with him and he rapes her. In the present, Clay goes to Bryce's house on the pretext of buying weed from him and confronts Bryce about the rape, taping his confession. Everyone on the list Olivia found is subpoenaed for the lawsuit between the Bakers and the school. The episode ends with an ambulance treating an unknown teenager with a gunshot wound to the head.
Tape subject: Bryce Walker, for raping Hannah in his hot tub.
|13||"Tape 7, Side A"||Kyle Patrick Alvarez||Brian Yorkey||March 31, 2017|
Clay gives Tony the confession tape to copy. Hannah, with only one tape left, decides to give life one more chance and look for help. She visits Mr. Porter, the school guidance counselor, and tells him about her rape, without admitting who was the responsible. Mr. Porter implies that she has no chances of being taken seriously and insists that she continue with her life as if it never happened. Hannah records the conversation, which will become the side A of tape 7, gets her things in order, goes home, and commits suicide by cutting her wrists and bleeding out in the bathtub. She is later found by her mother. In the present, Clay confronts Mr. Porter about the incident and gives him the tapes, with the side B of tape 7 being Bryce's rape confession. Meanwhile, Tony, who at first wished to honor Hannah's wishes, decides to give her parents audio files of the tapes after her parents realized he was keeping secrets from them. All those named as complicit in Hannah's death confess their faults except Alex, who tries to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head. He is in critical condition and it is not revealed if he survives. Justin leaves his home and town out of guilt for not telling Jessica the truth, but not before telling Bryce about the tapes. Before leaving his home for his meeting about the lawsuit, Tyler hides various guns and ammunition in his room. At school, Clay reaches out to Skye, a classmate whom he previously noticed with scars on her wrists. Later, he, Skye, Tony and his boyfriend drive down the road.
Tape subject: Mr. Porter, for not believing Hannah was suicidal and for not giving her proper help.
Universal Studios purchased film rights to the novel on February 8, 2011, with Selena Gomez cast to play the lead role of Hannah Baker. On October 29, 2015, it was announced that Netflix would be making a television adaptation of the book with Gomez instead serving as an executive producer. Tom McCarthy was hired to direct the first two episodes. The series is produced by Anonymous Content and Paramount Television with Gomez, McCarthy, Joy Gorman, Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Mandy Teefey, and Kristel Laiblin serving as executive producers.
Filming for the show took place in the Northern Californian towns of Vallejo, Benicia, San Rafael, Crockett and Sebastopol during the summer of 2016. All 13 episodes and the special were released on Netflix on March 31, 2017.
The show has received positive reviews from critics, with much of the praise for the show has been directed at the cast's performances, direction, story, visuals, improvements upon its source material, and mature approach to dark and adult subject matter.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 91% based on 32 reviews, with an average score of 7.33/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "13 Reasons Why complements its bestselling source material with a gripping look at adolescent grief whose narrative maturity belies its YA milieu." On Metacritic, the series has a score of 76 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Jesse Schedeen of IGN praised 13 Reasons Why, giving it a 9.2 out of 10, "Amazing", stating that the show is "a very powerful and hard-hitting series" and "ranks among the best high school dramas of the 21st century". Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe gave a glowing review for the show, saying that "the drama is sensitive, consistently engaging, and, most importantly, unblinking". Maureen Ryan of Variety asserts that the show "is undoubtedly sincere, but it's also, in many important ways, creatively successful" and called it "simply essential viewing". Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly gave the entire season a score of B+, calling the show "a frank, authentically affecting portrait of what it feels like to be young, lost and too fragile for the world". Daniel Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter also praised the show, calling it "a honorably mature piece of young-adult adaptation", calling its peformances, direction, relevance and maturity as some of the show's strongest points.
The cast's performances, particularly Katherine Langford as Hannah and Dylan Minnette as Clay, were frequently mentioned and widely lauded in several reviews. Schedeen of IGN praised the cast, particularly Minnette and Langford's performances, stating: "Langford shines in the lead role... [and] embodies that optimism and that profound sadness [of Hannah's] as well. Minnette's Clay is, by design, a much more stoic and reserved character... and does a fine job in what's often a difficult role." Gilbert of The Boston Globe praised the chemistry of Langford and Minnette, saying that "watching these two young actors together is pure pleasure", while Schedeen of IGN also agreed, saying that they are "often at their best together, channeling just the right sort of warm but awkward chemistry you'd expect from two teens who can't quite admit to their feelings for one another." Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter also praises both actors: "Langford's heartbreaking openness makes you root for a fate you know isn't possible. The actress' performance is full of dynamic range, setting it against Minnette's often more complicated task in differentiating between moods that mostly go from uncomfortable to to gloomy to red-eyed, hygiene-starved despair."
Ryan of Variety also gave praise to not only the two leads, but also the supporting cast of actors, particularly Kate Walsh's performance as Hannah's mother, whom Ryan describes as "career-best work". Positive mentions from various critics, such as Ryan, Feinberg and Schedeen, were also given to the supporting cast of actors (most particularly Alisha Boe, Miles Heizer and Christian Navarro's respective performances of Jessica, Alex and Tony). Liz Shannon Miller of Indiewire, who enjoyed the show and gave it a glowing score of B+, gave praise to the racial, gender and complex diversity of its supporting cast of teens.
Another aspect frequently mentioned within several reviews was the show's mature and emotional approach to dark and adult subject matter depicted in the show. This was positively reviewed by critics, such as Miller of Indiewire, who gave it a positive review of the season, particularly her mentions that "the adult edges to this story ring with honesty and truth", but also states that this makes the show difficult to watch at times. Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter also states that the show is very difficult to watch at times, while Schedeen of IGN states that the show is "an often depressing and even uncomfortable show to watch... a pretty emotionally draining experience, particularly towards the end as the pieces really start to fall into place."
Numerous critics also praised several aspects of the show. Feinberg praised the show's directors, saying: "A Sundance-friendly gallery of directors including Tom McCarthy, Gregg Araki and Carl Franklin keeps the performances grounded and the extremes from feeling exploitative", meanwhile Gilbert of The Boston Globe praises the storytelling: "The storytelling techniques are powerful... [as it] builds on the world established in the previous hour, as we continually encounter new facets of Hannah's life and new characters. The background on the show keeps getting deeper, richer."
Conversely, the series has also received criticism over its portrayal of teen angst. Mike Hale of The New York Times wrote a critical review, writing, "the show doesn't make [Hannah's] downward progress convincing. It too often feels artificial, like a very long public service announcement." He also criticized the plot device that has Clay listening to the tapes one by one instead of all in one sitting like the other teens did, which Hale felt was unbelievable: "It makes no sense as anything but a plot device, and you'll find yourself, like Clay's antagonists, yelling at him to listen to the rest of tapes already."
Writing for The Guardian, Rebecca Nicholson praised some aspects of the show, including the performances from Minnette and Walsh, but was troubled by much of the plot, writing, "a storyline that suggests the love of a sweet boy might have sorted all this out added to an uneasy feeling that stayed with me." Nicholson was skeptical that the show would appeal to older viewers, unlike other series set in high school such as Freaks and Geeks and My So-Called Life: "It lacks the crossover wit of its forebears... It's too tied up in conveying the message that terrible behaviour can have horrible consequences to deal in any subtleties or shades of feeling. It's largely one-note – and that note is horrifying. 'It has to get better,' implores one student towards the end, but given its fairly open ending, an apparent season two setup, it does not seem as if there's much chance of that happening."
Washington Post television critic Hank Stuever wrote a negative review, finding 13 Reasons Why "contrived" and implausible: "There are 13 episodes lasting 13 super-sullen hours – a passive-aggressive, implausibly meandering, poorly written and awkwardly acted effort that is mainly about miscommunication, delivering no more wisdom or insight about depression, bullying and suicide than one of those old ABC Afterschool Specials people now mock for being so corny." He also wrote that he found Hannah's suicide tapes "a protracted example of the teenager who fantasizes how everyone will react when she's gone. The story ... strikes me as remarkably, even dangerously, naive in its understanding of suicide, up to and including a gruesome, penultimate scene of Hannah opening her wrists in a bathtub."
David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the series a tepid review, saying that it was plagued by character inconsistencies, particularly Hannah. He praised Langford's "stunning performance" but noted, "There are times when we simply don't believe the characters, when what they do or say isn't consistent with who we've been led to believe they are... At times, [Hannah] is self-possessed and indifferent at best to the behavior of the popular kids. At other times, though, relatively minor misperceived slights seem to send her into an emotional tailspin. No doubt, teenagers embody a constant whirl of conflicting emotions, but the script pushes the bounds of credibility here and there." He noted that overall, the series worked: "The structure is gimmicky and the characters inconsistent, but there are still at least 13 Reasons Why the series is worthy."
The Australian youth mental health service for 12–25 year-olds, headspace, issued a warning in late April 2017 over the graphic content featured in the series due to the increased number of calls to the service following the show's release in the country.
In April 2017, National Association of School Psychologists released a statement regarding the series, saying: "Research shows that exposure to another person's suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of death, can be one of the many risk factors that youth struggling with mental health conditions cite as a reason they contemplate or attempt suicide". Similarly, MollyKate Cline of Teen Vogue remarked that "[her] biggest concern for viewers who are struggling and watching this show is the suicide contagion effect". Clinical psychologists, including Daniel J. Reidenberg and Erika Martinez, have also voiced their concerns regarding the risk of encouraging copycat attempts. However, Eric Beeson, a counselor at The Family Institute at Northwestern University noted that "it's unlikely that one show alone could trigger someone to attempt suicide".
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