Why "13 Reasons Why" Should Abandon a Second Season By kevin Ludy

The Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why” has received a lot of heat for its controversial methods of raising awareness of suicide. The show was recently renewed for a second season, which raised questions on whether another season would take away from the serious message that it is trying to get across.

“13 Reasons Why” follows the events leading up to the suicide of teenager Hannah Baker, and the effect this decision had in her community. Before committing suicide, Baker made a series of tapes describing the 13 things that lead to her death. As the people described on the tapes find out their role in Hannah’s decision, they all react in vastly different ways.

The show was masterfully created, and I enjoyed watching it. However, despite the entertainment provided in this series, in terms of what “13 Reasons Why” accomplished, the series should not be continued.

Dylan Minnette starring as Clay Jensen in "13 Reasons Why"

The first season had a very systematic approach. Each 45 minute episode revolved around one of the main characters and their backstory along with how they were involved in Hannah’s decision to end her life, drawing you in and making you want to learn more about Baker’s peers that somehow played a role in her eventual demise.

The series’ format of using each episode to explore a new topic was one of the things that made the first season so unique. Each chapter introduced a new theme, which renewed your interest in the show as it progressed.

However, by the end of the first season, the viewer already knows the events that led to Hannah’s fate. While yes, there are always more sides to a story, in this case with Hannah being the center of the series, they are going to have to add a plot that will stray from what the first season focused upon. Creating more story has the ability to make the second season too different or repetitive compared to the first, reducing the attachment people have to the show.

Take for example another Netflix original series, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, where critics have become split as to whether or not the show is getting stale. Coming out with its third season on May 19, 2017, some loved it while others want it to end as soon as possible. With “13 Reasons Why” continuing, I’m worried that the second season will fall to the same divided fate. If the producers try to lag on a series that is already great in its entirety, then it may become repetitive and boring the way “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” seems to have done for many.

In addition, many of the themes discussed in “13 Reasons Why” are rather gruesome and upsetting with topics like suicide, sexual assault and stalking. The series tackles this subject matter head on, which is what made the first season so special. The show was able to spark new and compelling discussions about this subject matter creating a huge breakthrough for our society.

By covering deep topics like these, people can become heavily invested in the series and even protective of its reputation. Seeing a character experience something that you may have gone through can resonate with an audience member causing them to have a deep emotional attachment to the show. This emotional attachment lead to so much more awareness as people felt empowered and shared their experiences, proving to the world that these things happen in real life.

If the show continues and is suddenly too repetitive, fans, the very people who have brought attention to so many issues facing our society, will be the first to abandon it.

Right now, the show is at a very good place with Hannah’s story being completed, and it seems like most who watched it are moved by the message it gives.

The risk of a second season is that if it doesn’t live up to the first, the conversations in society will switch from real issues this show featured like sexual assault and suicide, over to the subject of how season two was bad. If this happens, the main takeaway from the series would vanish and just get smothered by a plethora of bad reviews.

“13 Reasons Why” had a significant impact on me and the millions of others who watched it. Society needs a show like this to raise awareness of commonly ignored issues and making sure these issues remain a prevalent topic of discussion is crucial. Sometimes it’s best to quit when you're ahead, and this definitely seems to be one of those instances.

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