REVIEW: “13 Reasons Why” emphasizes severity of bullying in school


“13 Reasons Why” was released on Netflix on Mar. 31. The show has quickly become one of the most popular original Netflix series because of the unique narratives it presents.

The highly anticipated television series, “13 Reasons Why,” adapted from Jay Asher’s original novel, was finally released on Netflix on Mar. 31. Created by Brian Yorkey and produced by Selena Gomez, “13 Reasons Why” is Netflix’s new hit series that everyone should watch.

The 13 episodes follow Dylan Minnette‘s Clay Jensen, a junior in high school who receives a mysterious box filled with cassette tapes recorded by his classmate and crush – Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). In the tapes, Hannah explains why she decided to commit suicide – there are 13 reasons and Clay Jensen is one of them. To find out what role he played in her death, Clay must listen to each tape; however, the other individuals mentioned on the tape are willing to take extreme measures to ensure no one else finds out about their secrets. Each tape reveals a new name and story about how they led Hannah to commit suicide.

Throughout the show, Hannah’s voice from the tapes narrates the scenes which make them more personal and emotional. Sometimes, it feels like Hannah is talking directly to the viewer when she asks questions about ignorance and passivity.

What’s different about the show is the episode length, about an hour each, which is longer than most drama series. However, the episodes go by so quickly, viewers won’t even realize it’s the end.

The show does a good job of transitioning to flashbacks, using a moving bus or a student walking through a set of doors to bring the viewer back to when Hannah was alive. Oftentimes, Clay will imagine the moments Hannah talks about; the editing is excellent because there are scenes where Hannah and Clay materialize into view as the current Clay who is listening to the tapes watches on in the background. Luckily, there isn’t much confusion about whether the memory is from when Hannah was alive or not because of the scar on Clay’s forehead.

People who have read the book Thirteen Reasons Why prior to watching the series will be expecting what happens next, while newcomers might be a little confused. The show tends to reveal a great deal of information out of context with no explanation, such as the overarching role of certain characters, the secrets they’re trying to keep and their motives. But then again, the goal of the creators is to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, wanting for more.

Besides the first episode being a little slow and uneventful, with Clay only just discovering the tapes during the last few minutes of the episode, the show is pretty fast-paced. Sometimes, the scenes are over-dramatized and unnecessarily melodramatic. For example, when Clay is biking at night, the shots will be somewhat long.

It’s crucial for people to understand different perspectives when it comes to sexual assault and harassment, bullying, depression, and suicide.

“13 Reasons Why” sheds light on bullying in school and how harmful words and actions can be. Hannah becomes the victim of microaggressions which damage her perception of herself and others. While the show doesn’t explicitly discuss depression, it’s implied that Hannah developed it as a result of being a victim of her classmates’ jokes and hate speech. The creators do a good job of presenting a “cause and effect” with Hannah’s story by focusing each episode on how one student’s actions hurt her.

It’s crucial for people to understand, or at least be aware of, different perspectives when it comes to sexual assault and harassment, bullying, depression, and suicide. Especially during a generation where technology is so powerful yet dangerous, teenagers are vulnerable to social-media shaming, and Netflix masterfully portrays the relevancy of these issues. More conversations need to take place to expose these topics to those who are uninformed and don’t know how detrimental the impacts are on people. The show encourages those who are experiencing similar situations to call for help at

Asher is considering creating a second season, but it’ll be difficult to follow the first season’s last episode. What other stories can he tell?

Overall, the characters are vibrant, three-dimensional, and compel viewers to reflect on the consequences of their actions. Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, viewers may be able to relate to the witness or the victim. Asher teaches audiences a valuable lesson that can be applicable to anyone, and will hopefully encourage people to stop avoiding and minimizing the emotional and physical effects of these topics.

Trigger warning: “13 Reasons Why” includes graphic scenes involving sexual harassment. Viewer discretion is advised.



5 out of 5 stars

Netflix US & Canada