The basic plot of the book and season one of the show revolves around a high school girl named Hannah (Katherine Langford; Love, Simon) who has left 13 audio tapes as to why she has committed suicide. Before her death she mailed the tapes to her friend Clay (Dylan Minette; Don't Breathe) who listens to all the tapes that reveal a series of stories about bullying, innocent kisses turned into salacious rumors and sexual assault all set against the backdrop of typical high school drama.
Season two tends to be much of the same, however, told from a different viewpoint – those of the student named in Hannah's tape. As the season opens, Hannah's Mother, Olivia (Kate Walsh; Grey's Anatomy) has decided to move ahead with a lawsuit against the school maintaining the administration knew of the bullying and Hannah's situation and did nothing to stop it. Over the course of the season, we watch as student after student takes the stand and offers their perspective of the events Hannah laid out in her tapes. Meanwhile, throughout the season other subplots unfold including the return of Alex (Miles Heizer; Nerve) and Jessica (Alisha Boe; Teen Wolf) to school and how the other student interact with them.
There is a reason this show is critically acclaimed. From the acting, directing, writing, etc. it was obvious from the first episode of season one that NetFlix invested in this series and they're gambled paid off. Langford and Minnette are especially excellent and it is apparent they are wonderful leads commanding a terrific cast. We see and feel Hannah's pain even as she smiles for pictures and Minette exudes a quiet strength that speaks volumes even when he isn't saying much. Unfortunately, Season Two is as strong and loses steam quickly. The storyline laid forth in Asher's book and in Season One isn't sustained as the trial progresses but somehow they managed to leave things open-ended for Season Three.
The set is only offered in DVD format which is a shame since it is presented on television in HD so, while the picture quality is very good, I can only imagine how much better it could be on Blu-ray. It comes with 4 discs that house all 13 episodes of Season Two but doesn't offer any extras for fans to enjoy. Maybe they are waiting for a later date to offer an entire series (however long that may be) box set and will put some behind the scenes footage there.
While 13 Reasons Why is compelling television it isn't without controversy. Mental health professionals fear the subject matter will trigger more suicides among teenagers than before and some believe the sexual assault content is too mature for many. As a parent and someone who has struggled with depression in the past, I found it difficult to watch for a few reasons and I can only guess that others feel the same. On the other hand, I am sure the series creates an open dialogue on some tough subject matter.
If you loved Season One you should definitely watch Season Two even though it doesn't continue the same magic set in motion when the show debuted back in 2017.