I totally binge watched this beauty of a series this weekend. As soon as I heard that Netflix were releasing an adaptation of Jay Asher’s wondeful novel, I knew I just had to watch the series and I couldn’t contain my excitement for it. I had hopes that it would do the book justice. I was not expecting it to blow it out of the water…
When Clay arrives home from school one day he finds 13 cassette tapes sitting on his doorstep, addressed to him from Hannah Baker. However Hannah, former classmate and crush of Clay’s committed suicide just two weeks for. Instructed to listen to the tapes, Hannah informs the listener of the thirteen reasons why she decided to commit suicide. And Clay is one of them.
Even from the start there was a good feel about the series. The mood and atmosphere of the setting and tone just felt right and captured what this story was about. It was kept up pretty much throughout the series without straying too far from the origins.
I was concerned as to how the themes of the novel would be explored in the series. Normally when adapted they find themselves watered down for a wider audience. However, with an 18 rating (which I was a little surprised at considering the YA audience falling in younger than that) topics weren’t shyed away from like normal. They were gritty and approached head on – even more so maybe than the book. There were some pretty graphic scenes that made me want to cry, not because of what they were showing, but because of how emotional the scenes were. I actually appauld the makers for including these at such detail as it really does highlight the severity of the themes in this novel without highlighting, glamourising or brushing over the topics that are needing to be discussed.
I thought the protrayal of Clay and Hannah were depicted well in this series. Although Clay was bland, one dimensional and weak at the beginning, his character really developed as the episodes went one and I was so glad of this. I was scared he’d been stripped away. I thought the acting for both, especially Clay was amazing – a good central character. I was a tad confused at the changing up of the order of tapes, but made much more sense by the end.
I liked and appreciated all the extended storylines. As the book is relatively short in time, I did wonder how they planned to span it across 13 hour episodes. But oh my, was that done well. So many extensions from Clay, you really get to see the world around him and how others reacted to Hannah’s death. I thought it was so intriguing as to how the group are reacting to Clay listening to the tapes and responding to them internally. Instead of being one-dimensional characters that Hannah portrayed they to be, they are given traits and personalities. Also, it explores the thoughts and feelings of her parents in a lot more detail with their law suit with the school. I really appreciated more depth this way.
I liked exploring Tony’s back story too- although I’m still a bit confused as to why it wasn’t explained why Hannah chose him to follow etc. And, Jeff – oh Jeff. I really appreciated this addition, even if I’m gutted how it ended.
Although I really like the idea of another series – what with the Tyler set up and Alex’s end of series decision – I do hope it takes a good turn. This series was done so well in tackling issues, as well as leading the audience on a journey – I would hate it to be undermined in a second series. But there is potential, and I do hope it does come to that.
Honestly, grab Netflix and binge – watch 13 Reasons Why. It will be time definitely well spent.
I read the book a couple of years back – in preparation for my dissertation and fell in love with it. See why –