Based on the infamous book of the same name, 13 Reasons Why, is a brilliant, confronting, educational and controversial Netflix Original series, which, if viewed properly, can be an amazing tool to help teenagers and their parents to open up to discussions about the many obstacles which can occur in their lives and how to properly deal with them.
It stars Dylan Minnette (Don't Breathe & Goosebumps), as Clay Jensen, who was a typical teenage boy, with an average life, until it all fell apart, when his best friend and crush, Hannah Baker, (played by Katherine Langford (Daughter & Imperfect Quadrant), who started her career off in Perth, Western Australia) takes her own life. This leaves her devastated parents to start a lengthy court battle against her school to prove she was bullied to the point of breaking.
Meanwhile Clay is slowly learning the truth about what happened to Hannah in the months leading up to her death, through a series of cassette tapes, which she recorded to be passed down to each person who is mentioned on them. They indicate what they each did to contribute to her choice to end it all.
As the series progresses all the people who knew Hannah Baker, including her beloved parents, are affected in terrible ways by their loss. Eventually Clay himself is weighed how so much by the loss of his best friend that he must seek help from his new friend Tony Padilla, played by Christian Navarro (2017's The Tick & Vinyl), who oozes everything that is retro cool and is an absolutely understated star of the show. Even Tony, with all his level-headed coolness, is affected terribly by the loss of Hannah, who entrusted him to keep her tapes a secret. Tony ends up needing help himself, proving that no matter how tough someone appears, they are not unaffected by the loss of a friend or family member.
This series has an incredible soundtrack, narrative and cast, who delicately tackle the big issues of bullying, rape, depression and suicide, in a way which truly shows that these issues are not a laughing matter. If you or someone you know is in trouble, the best thing to do about it is to seek help and speak up about what you are feeling.
It also focuses on the truly horrific snowball effect that taking your life has on the community around you and how there is always someone around who can help you, even you you feel that there isn't. It also encourages its viewers to reach out to those around them who they may think may be in trouble.
This series is a very important learning tool for both teens and parents alike to deal with the modern world of bullying and suicide. It is recommended that parents should watch the entire first season, including the extremely important PSA episode at the end, which discusses these issues further, before watching it with your children. This will help you work through it together and open up about these issues and come up with a plan about what should be done if they are being bullied, or feeling depressed, to ensure their safety and well being.
Thanks for reviewing and recommending this show to parents and teens. I've seen it and it reminded me of how horrible a place high school can be. This show shames bully culture (and the role of 'online' in this). It doesn't glamorise suicide. I agree with you that this is an important one to watch...