Since it release at the end of March, Netflix's new teen drama 13 Reasons Why has been plagued with controversy and discussion regarding its dark subject manner. Revolving around the mysterious suicide of Hannah Baker, 13 Reasons puts a spotlight on the isolation, depression, and suicidal thoughts that can go unnoticed for high schoolers. But there are many naysayers that fear the series is glamorizing suicide, and possibly encourages copycats from taking their own life. Now it appears that Netflix has heard its critics, and is taking steps to address those issues.
In response to criticism, Netflix and the folks behind 13 Reasons Why are including additional content warnings to the series. While two of show's more graphic episodes already had these types of warnings, but now a lengthy one regarding the series as a whole will be stream before the first episode. Additionally, according to Deadline, the language and verbiage of existing warnings will be strengthened, as will the message to seek help and resources over at 13ReasonsWhy.info.
This latest news is no doubt an attempt to quell the fires of controversy surrounding 13 Reasons Why. Since its release, there have been a variety of organizations who have risen up to speak against the drama series, fearing that young and impressionable audience members will be encouraged to take their own lives after watching. Because it is in death that Hannah finally reclaims her power against those who tormented her, while also incriminating a few classmates of crimes like drunk driving, sexual assault, and stalking/harassment.
But the other side of the debate claims that the graphic depiction of Hannah's on screen suicide may actually do the opposite. The scene in question is absolutely horrifying to sit through, as is the following one which features Hannah's parents finding her dead. In fact, Hannah's parents (in particular her mother, played by Grey's Anatomy alum Kate Walsh with an outstanding performance) are major roles in 13 Reasons Why, and we see how Hannah's suicide has completely wrecked and taken over their lives. The real life consequences of Hannah's decision are fleshed out through the series, which may dissuade vulnerable teenagers and adults from going through with a suicide attempt.
With 13 Reasons Why presumably announcing its second season renewal any day now, it should be interesting to see how new warnings are weaved into Season 2's episodes. The sophomore season will likely introduce even more controversial and terrifying concepts, particularly with the character Tyler, who seems to be planning a school shooting of some kind. Additionally, Alex (Parenthood's Miles Heizer) apparently went through with a suicide attempt of his own, so the subject of taking one's life will not be shied away from.
You can currently catch all 13 episodes of 13 Reasons Why over on Netflix. Be sure to check out our summer premiere list to plan your next binge watch.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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