If someone were to ask you to describe a show you’re currently watching in a few words or less, depending on what it is, it might be extremely easy or difficult. When I watched the final season of 13 Reasons Why, there were two words that stuck out in my mind—disjointed and hallow. The fourth season of this oftentimes controversial teen drama finally came to an end, and the supposed closure this finale should have offered to the story and characters was terribly lacking, frustrating, and pointless. Warning: Some spoilers ahead about the last season.
There comes a time when you know you should probably quit a TV show when the quitting is good. But for some inexplicable reason, or maybe not too inexplicable if you’re willing to admit the more shallow reasons for still sticking with a show (i.e. attractive actors), you continue watching even as you witness a show that once had a solid beginning eventually go down a ditch and burst into flames. If 13 Reasons Why Season 3 could be described as a person it’d be a stumbling hot mess who you want to look away from but can’t, watching with morbid curiosity to see how far they’ll make a wreck of things until there’s nothing left to destroy. Spoiler Alert: It’s that and then some.
When a show becomes a huge success, especially when it’s adapted from a popular book, there has been a persistent trend of studios wanting to find ways to extend the life of a show for however long they possibly can. The main motivation, though no one will admit it outwardly, is to make as much money off of the show while it’s still the hottest property on TV. Once the dollar signs start to become the central focus over the strength of the piece, a strong visual narrative that holds together well, you’ll start to notice how quickly a show gets run into the ground for the sake of more money.
When books get adapted for screen or television, it’s almost certain there’s a clear and definitive end, at least if it’s not a book series being adapted. If you read the book prior to the adaptation, you get to decide if the movie or show is a worthy interpretation of its original source material. Or if you haven’t read the book before watching the adaptation, it may convince you to read the book. I’ve always been convinced a standalone novel that becomes a movie or TV show would always be enjoyed as a self-contained story, a one-time piece of entertainment to consume and re-watch whenever you feel like revisiting it. Instead, when a show or limited series becomes a massive hit, albeit a bit controversial, studios are quick to renew it for another season. That’s the end result of Netflix’s original series 13 Reasons Why.
Everyone loves a good mystery. The kind that entices you to figure out the reason or motive behind why someone did what they did. But what if the mystery revolves around a girl who’s already dead, committed suicide a few weeks before, and the only way to understand her reasons for taking her own life is by listening to a series of recorded cassette tapes she left behind? This is the basic premise of Netflix’s latest original series 13 Reasons Why.