13 Reasons Why (2017)

13 Reasons Why © Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
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Air Date:  Friday, March 31, 2017  
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Genre: Television
Rating: 13 Reasons Why is rated TV-14This program is specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17.


Synopsis

The late Hannah Baker explains why she committed suicide to her high school peers through a collection of cassette tapes she left behind.

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13 Reasons Why Renewed for Fourth and Final Season  8/1/2019 4:30 PM EDT
Netflix has renewed 13 Reasons Why for a fourth and final season. Season three of the series is set to launch on August 23. The controversial show has had some issues regarding their subject matter of suicide. Netflix has even edited a scene from season one which depicts a character, Hannah, slitting her wrists and taking her life after numerous complaints. The series stars Dylan Minnette, Brandon...  More>>


13 Reasons Why: Season Two DVD Review


Author Jay Asher wrote a novel in 2007 called Th1rteen R3asons Why which has become both praised and criticized across the country.  Some schools banned it while others made it required reading and used it in its teaching curriculum. Last year Netflix created a drama series based on the book which has been met with critical acclaim for its writing and actors while once again creating controversy.  With mental health and bullying themes, it is not an easy show to watch but has none the less been renewed for a third season set to debut later this year.  Season Two will hit stores this week on DVD and fans of the show will want to be amongst the first in line to purchase it.

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.

Grade: B- 

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