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13 Reasons Why (stylized onscreen as Th1rteen R3asons Why) is an American television series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and adapted by Brian Yorkey for Netflix.[1] The show revolves around a student who kills herself after a series of culminating failures, brought on by select individuals within their school. The series received largely positive reviews from critics and audiences, who praised its subject matter and casting.[2]

Diana Son and Brian Yorkey are co-showrunners on the series, which consists of thirteen episodes.[3][4] All episodes, and the special 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons, were released worldwide on Netflix on March 31, 2017.

Originally conceived as a film set to be released by Universal Pictures for a female audience with Selena Gomez in the lead role, the adaptation was picked up as a television series by Netflix in late 2015. Gomez served as an executive producer.





Universal Studios purchased film rights to the novel on February 8, 2011, with Selena Gomez cast to play the lead role of Hannah Baker.[7] On October 29, 2015, it was announced that Netflix would be making a television adaptation of the book with Gomez instead serving as an executive producer.[8] Tom McCarthy was hired to direct the first two episodes.[9] The series is produced by Anonymous Content and Paramount Television with Gomez, McCarthy, Joy Gorman, Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Mandy Teefey, and Kristel Laiblin serving as executive producers.[9]

Filming for the show took place in the Northern Californian towns of Vallejo, Benicia, San Rafael, Crockett and Sebastopol during the summer of 2016.[10][11] All 13 episodes and the special were released on Netflix on March 31, 2017.[12]

Therapy dogs were present on set for the actors because of the intense and emotional content of the series.[13]


Critical response

The show has received positive reviews from critics, with much of the praise for the show has been directed at the cast's performances, direction, story, visuals, improvements upon its source material, and mature approach to dark and adult subject matter.

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 91% based on 32 reviews, with an average score of 7.33/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "13 Reasons Why complements its bestselling source material with a gripping look at adolescent grief whose narrative maturity belies its YA milieu."[2] On Metacritic, the series has a score of 76 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[14]

Jesse Schedeen of IGN praised 13 Reasons Why, giving it a 9.2 out of 10, "Amazing", stating that the show is "a very powerful and hard-hitting series" and "ranks among the best high school dramas of the 21st century".[15] Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe gave a glowing review for the show, saying that "the drama is sensitive, consistently engaging, and, most importantly, unblinking".[16] Maureen Ryan of Variety asserts that the show "is undoubtedly sincere, but it's also, in many important ways, creatively successful" and called it "simply essential viewing".[17] Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly gave the entire season a score of B+, calling the show "a frank, authentically affecting portrait of what it feels like to be young, lost and too fragile for the world".[18] Daniel Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter also praised the show, calling it "a honorably mature piece of young-adult adaptation", calling its peformances, direction, relevance and maturity as some of the show's strongest points.[19]

The cast's performances, particularly Katherine Langford as Hannah and Dylan Minnette as Clay, were frequently mentioned and widely lauded in several reviews. Schedeen of IGN praised the cast, particularly Minnette and Langford's performances, stating: "Langford shines in the lead role... [and] embodies that optimism and that profound sadness [of Hannah's] as well. Minnette's Clay is, by design, a much more stoic and reserved character... and does a fine job in what's often a difficult role."[15] Gilbert of The Boston Globe praised the chemistry of Langford and Minnette, saying that "watching these two young actors together is pure pleasure", while Schedeen of IGN also agreed, saying that they are "often at their best together, channeling just the right sort of warm but awkward chemistry you'd expect from two teens who can't quite admit to their feelings for one another." Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter also praises both actors: "Langford's heartbreaking openness makes you root for a fate you know isn't possible. The actress' performance is full of dynamic range, setting it against Minnette's often more complicated task in differentiating between moods that mostly go from uncomfortable to to gloomy to red-eyed, hygiene-starved despair."[19]

Ryan of Variety also gave praise to not only the two leads, but also the supporting cast of actors, particularly Kate Walsh's performance as Hannah's mother, whom Ryan describes as "career-best work".[17] Positive mentions from various critics, such as Ryan, Feinberg and Schedeen, were also given to the supporting cast of actors (most particularly Alisha Boe, Miles Heizer and Christian Navarro's respective performances of Jessica, Alex and Tony). Liz Shannon Miller of Indiewire, who enjoyed the show and gave it a glowing score of B+, gave praise to the racial, gender and complex diversity of its supporting cast of teens.[17][15][19][20]

Another aspect frequently mentioned within several reviews was the show's mature and emotional approach to dark and adult subject matter depicted in the show. This was positively reviewed by critics, such as Miller of Indiewire, who gave it a positive review of the season, particularly her mentions that "the adult edges to this story ring with honesty and truth", but also states that this makes the show difficult to watch at times.[20] Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter also states that the show is very difficult to watch at times,[19] while Schedeen of IGN states that the show is "an often depressing and even uncomfortable show to watch... a pretty emotionally draining experience, particularly towards the end as the pieces really start to fall into place."[15]

Numerous critics also praised several aspects of the show. Feinberg praised the show's directors, saying: "A Sundance-friendly gallery of directors including Tom McCarthy, Gregg Araki and Carl Franklin keeps the performances grounded and the extremes from feeling exploitative",[20] meanwhile Gilbert of The Boston Globe praises the storytelling: "The storytelling techniques are powerful... [as it] builds on the world established in the previous hour, as we continually encounter new facets of Hannah's life and new characters. The background on the show keeps getting deeper, richer."[16]

Conversely, the series has also received criticism over its portrayal of teen angst. Mike Hale of The New York Times wrote a critical review, writing, "the show doesn't make [Hannah's] downward progress convincing. It too often feels artificial, like a very long public service announcement." He also criticized the plot device that has Clay listening to the tapes one by one instead of all in one sitting like the other teens did, which Hale felt was unbelievable: "It makes no sense as anything but a plot device, and you'll find yourself, like Clay's antagonists, yelling at him to listen to the rest of tapes already."[21]

Writing for The Guardian, Rebecca Nicholson praised some aspects of the show, including the performances from Minnette and Walsh, but was troubled by much of the plot, writing, "a storyline that suggests the love of a sweet boy might have sorted all this out added to an uneasy feeling that stayed with me." Nicholson was skeptical that the show would appeal to older viewers, unlike other series set in high school such as Freaks and Geeks and My So-Called Life: "It lacks the crossover wit of its forebears... It's too tied up in conveying the message that terrible behaviour can have horrible consequences to deal in any subtleties or shades of feeling. It's largely one-note – and that note is horrifying. 'It has to get better,' implores one student towards the end, but given its fairly open ending, an apparent season two setup, it does not seem as if there's much chance of that happening."[22]

Washington Post television critic Hank Stuever wrote a negative review, finding 13 Reasons Why "contrived" and implausible: "There are 13 episodes lasting 13 super-sullen hours – a passive-aggressive, implausibly meandering, poorly written and awkwardly acted effort that is mainly about miscommunication, delivering no more wisdom or insight about depression, bullying and suicide than one of those old ABC Afterschool Specials people now mock for being so corny." He also wrote that he found Hannah's suicide tapes "a protracted example of the teenager who fantasizes how everyone will react when she's gone. The story ... strikes me as remarkably, even dangerously, naive in its understanding of suicide, up to and including a gruesome, penultimate scene of Hannah opening her wrists in a bathtub."[23]

David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the series a tepid review, saying that it was plagued by character inconsistencies, particularly Hannah. He praised Langford's "stunning performance" but noted, "There are times when we simply don't believe the characters, when what they do or say isn't consistent with who we've been led to believe they are... At times, [Hannah] is self-possessed and indifferent at best to the behavior of the popular kids. At other times, though, relatively minor misperceived slights seem to send her into an emotional tailspin. No doubt, teenagers embody a constant whirl of conflicting emotions, but the script pushes the bounds of credibility here and there." He noted that overall, the series worked: "The structure is gimmicky and the characters inconsistent, but there are still at least 13 Reasons Why the series is worthy."[24]

The Australian youth mental health service for 12–25 year-olds headspace issued a warning in late April 2017 over the graphic content featured in the series due to the increased number of calls to the service following the show's release in the country.[25][26][27]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "'Spotlight's Brian d'Arcy James Cast In Netflix Series '13 Reasons Why', Joins TNT Pilot 'Civil'". Deadline. June 15, 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "13 Reasons Why: Season 1 (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved April 4, 2017. 
  3. Andreeva, Nellie (February 26, 2016). "Diana Son Joins Selena Gomez's Netflix Series '13 Reasons Why' As Showrunner". Deadline. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Andreeva, Nellie (June 8, 2016). "'13 Reasons Why' Netflix Series: Dylan Minnette & Katherine Langford Lead Cast". Deadline. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Andreeva, Nellie (June 10, 2016). "'13 Reasons Why': Kate Walsh To Co-Star In Netflix Series, Derek Luke Also Cast". Deadline. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  6. Petski, Denise (June 23, 2016). "'13 Reasons Why' Casts Amy Hargreaves; Frances Conroy In 'The Mist'". Deadline. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  7. Schwartz, Terri (February 9, 2011). "Selena Gomez To Star In '13 Reasons Why': Movie, adapted from Jay Asher's young adult novel, looks back at a girl's reasons for committing suicide.". MTV News. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  8. "Netflix Gives Selena Gomez's '13 Reasons Why' Straight-To-Series Order" (in en). Retrieved October 29, 2015. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Andreeva, Nellie (February 25, 2016). "Spotlight's Tom McCarthy To Direct & Produce Selena Gomez's Netflix Series '13 Reasons Why' From Paramount TV". Deadline. Retrieved July 19, 2016. 
  10. Mara, Janis (June 23, 2016). "Marin Netflix series shoot brings economic benefits" (in en). Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved April 4, 2017. 
  11. Mara, Janis (June 24, 2016). "Selena Gomez-produced Netflix series shooting in Marin brings economic benefits". 
  12. Petski, Denise (January 25, 2017). "'13 Reasons Why Gets Netflix Premiere Date". 
  13. Keaney, Quinn (April 7, 2017). "How Netflix's 13 Reasons Why Is the Most Important YA Adaptation Yet". PopSugar Celebrity UK. 
  14. "13 Reasons Why: Season 1 reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 4, 2017. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Schedeen, Jesse (April 5, 2017). "13 Reasons Why: Season 1 Review". Retrieved April 6, 2017. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Gilbert, Matthew (March 29, 2017). ""Yes, '13 Reasons Why' is for young adults. It's still very good."". Retrieved April 6, 2017. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Ryan, Maureen (March 21, 2017). "TV Review: '13 Reasons Why' on Netflix". Retrieved April 6, 2017. 
  18. Greenblatt, Leah (March 22, 2017). "13 Reasons Why: EW review". Retrieved April 7, 2017. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Fienberg, Daniel (March 27, 2017). "'13 Reasons Why': TV review". Retrieved April 8, 2017. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Miller, Liz Shannon (March 31, 2017). "'13 Reasons Why' review: Netflix brings a brutally adult edge to a tale of teen suicide". Retrieved April 8, 2017. 
  21. Hale, Mike (March 30, 2017). "Review: ‘13 Reasons Why’ She Killed Herself, Drawn Out on Netflix". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2017. 
  22. Nicholson, Rebecca (March 31, 2017). "13 Reasons Why review – sex, drugs and mixtapes in Netflix's high-school horror show". The Guardian. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  23. Stuever, Hank (March 30, 2017). "'Thirteen Reasons Why' shows how adults can really mess up teen angst". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  24. Wiegand, David (March 29, 2017). "'13 Reasons' why Netflix drama works despite gimmickry". SFGate. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  25. "13 Reasons Why: Headspace issues warning over new Netflix show - Community News Group". April 18, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  26. "Netflix series 13 Reasons Why under fire from mental health experts". Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  27. "headspace: dangerous content in 13 Reasons Why". Retrieved April 19, 2017. 


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