Ok, that's going to be a hard one to review.
Not because it's bad or just ok, not at all. As the little "10" in the top-left shows, I've give this show the best possible score.
No, the difficulty is in finding the right words that will explain WHY this tv show deserve such a number.
Before getting into it, I must say that I've watched every episodes, including the special where the actors and crew explain how and why they did this show (you should watch it). And I have not read the book.
As I want this review to be read by as much people as possible, I will not give any spoiler. So feel free to continue reading !
First, the actors, and mainly the three main characters for me, meaning Dylan Minnette (Clay), Katherine Langford (Hannah) and Kate Walsh (Olivia, Hannah's mom). Their work is just astonishing.
Second, the pacing. The show find the right balance between content and emptiness. Seems weird writing this. But we're dealing with a suicide, with depression, and the void it creates is one of the hardest thing to translate and the producers found a way to make you feel it at your core.
Which explains my third point : this show can be overwhelming. 13 episodes that you want to watch, but you also dread watching. There is, in each of those episodes and even more in some of them, a psychological pressure that can almost be too much to bear.
Fourth, thriller. 13 reasons why. 13 reasons you want to know. 13 reasons that you discover slowly, methodically, but 13 reasons that are sometimes implied a bit before they're revealed. It creates a thrill, that you're on the verge of understanding or at least zeroing on what really when on.
Fifth, the candor of this show. I have never watched a a show that committed to being true, to ring true to how teenagers think and feel and live. Some people will think that things aren't really like that, that they can't be and it's just so that there is a story. I was a teenager not so long ago, and I found so many truths in this show that it even felt a bit awkward. That this character could have been me. Or this one.
When TV produces so many "teenage" shows that just transform teens into adults, or teens into dumb versions of humans, watching this felt surreal. Like someone finally understood what it meant. What the struggles were and how to show them in their purest form.
Sixth and last one, Suicide. No one wants to talk about it. Most TV shows that depicts one, uses it as a plot excuse. A way to spice things up.
This one does not. This is the first thing you learn when watching. You start with the suicide and then you try to explain what when on in Hannah's life, in her head, that made her do this. And the show is clear, you can't explain suicide. You can't rationalize it. But you can try to understand the actions and thoughts that lead to it. To try and prevent that for ever happening again.
And the show is exceptional at that. Yes it depicts all the elements that lead to a suicide, but by showing them, you also teach people how to recognize signs that could point you to a person in distress. And it also shows that our actions have consequences, may those actions seems trivial at first. And to those that are in distress it also shows that there always are people caring for you. You may not see it, they may not show it, but there are there and you need to have the strength to at least reach out to them. The will help you. And if this seems too much for you, there are free hotlines that you can call at any time to at least talk. Because talking is healing.
I could continue and expand this list much more, but I'll stop there.
Just go watch it. Take a month of Netflix, you won't regret it.