13 Reasons Why is a fictionalized drama, similar in some ways to the Canadian series Degrassi but dives deeper into serious issues that some teenagers and young adults face today. Even though it was fiction, I found the first few seasons to be very enlightening and the last two seasons to be a bit disturbing. Despite this, I do think it's a great show for pre-teens, teenagers and parents to watch together.
The first season came out back in March 2017 and the last season concluded this year. The series centres around a group of teenagers at Liberty High. The part that I found so fascinating was how little these teenagers trusted their parents, teachers and counsellors to help them with serious issues. In addition, how many adults were so busy with their own problems that they didn't notice their children or spend time with them to find out what was happening in their lives.
Not all the seasons are equally interesting. Season 1 was by far the best. We learn about each of the characters and the main character of the season - Hanna Baker. We are introduced to the tapes and learn of some horrific incidents. There are many mysteries and questions, which adds to the appeal of the season. Having been a teenager in the early 2000s, life as a teenager 15 years later is drastically different. I found this season to be very insightful and it encouraged me to spend more time with the teenagers in my life.
Season 2 follows the events of season 1 and adds additional details to the events that came to light in season 1. In addition, there is a court case between liberty high and a parent of a student from the first season. There are some heated events in this season as well as new serious events, some more disturbing than the first season. Season 2 is interesting and eventful but challenging to watch at times.
Season 3 is a murder mystery and takes us back through what happened to find out who died and how it happened. There are some new events that come up in this season, but the main premise is from an event from one of the tapes from season 1. I think the series could have ended here and it would have wrapped up nicely. Season 4 wasn't really needed and really dragged on. It was super slow and hard to watch. The last two episodes were interesting though.
There are some deep topics covered in the series including suicide, rape, deportation, divorce, cheating, pregnancy, abortion, murder, sexual assault, assault, gun violence, self harm, addiction, poverty, crime and more. My main takeaway is how important it is to talk to others and spend time getting to know their problems and issues. Everyone is going through something and in our always on, digital world, people feel more alone than ever. Take some time today to listen to someone.