“13 Reasons Why” premiered on Netflix on Friday, March 31, and it comes with a dark hook: it tells a story in flashbacks about Hannah (Katherine Langford), a teenage girl who took her own life, and Clay (Dylan Minnette), the classmate trying to understand the reasons for her suicide.
The show’s lead actors aren’t household names, but there’s a lot of firepower behind the scenes. It was developed for television by Brian Yorkey, a Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner for the 2009 musical “Next to Normal.” Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”) is on board as an executive producer and director of two episodes. Another Oscar champ, Jessica Yu (“Breathing Lessons”), also directs a pair of episodes, and so does acclaimed indie filmmaker Gregg Araki (“Mysterious Skin”). Actress and singer Selena Gomez also serves as an executive producer.
The reviews so far have been positive. As of this writing the series has scored 76 on MetaCritic and 93% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. The performances by Langford and Minnette have been called “career-making” and “jaw-dropping.” And it “aspires to join the likes of” other mature teen dramas like “My So-Called Life” and “Friday Night Lights.”
Are you planning to binge “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix? And what do you think of its Emmy potential? Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion with your fellow TV fans in our forums.
Maureen Ryan (Variety): “Langford and Dylan Minnette give career-making performances as the two central characters, Hannah and Clay … There is not one false note or even the slightest attempt at manipulation from either actor; the honesty and transparency of their work is frequently jaw-dropping.” It’s “a frank, authentically affecting portrait,” and “the result is devastating.”
Leah Greenblatt (Entertainment Weekly): “‘Reasons’ is also a crackling whodunnit — or at least whydunnit. And as much as it can be hobbled by archetypes and cliché, the series also smartly self-corrects, offering something rare in Millennial mass entertainment: A frank, authentically affecting portrait of what it feels like to be young, lost, and too fragile for the world.”
Matt Roush (TV Insider): “When he does [listen to the tapes], though, unraveling a tangled and emotionally fraught web of relationships and peer pressure and social humiliations, the result is devastating. There are many reasons why hearing Hannah’s unhappy story is worth your time, but you’ll have to discover them for yourself.”
Alan Sepinwall (UPROXX): “There are teen dramas that are excellent by the standards of the genre, and then there are excellent dramas that just happen to be about teens. ’13 Reasons Why’ aspires to join the likes of ‘My So-Called Life’ and ‘Friday Night Lights’ in the latter group.”
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