Netflix Adds Changes to '13 Reasons Why' Format

Following a study conducted by Northwestern University, Netflix has added new resources to their site for viewers of 13 Reasons Why. The show, whose executive producer is Selena Gomez, follows Clay Jensen as he listens to cassette tapes left behind by Hannah Baker, a fellow student who has recently committed suicide. Each tape is addressed to a different person and details the events leading up to her suicide. 

After its debut, 13 Reasons Why was met with mixed reviews. Some viewers believed the show glamorized suicide rather than addressing it in a proper way. Others believed the show depicted scenes involving sexual assault, Hannah’s eventual suicide and many other difficult issues in too graphic a manner. Following initial requests by viewers, Netflix later added a trigger warning to the opening of the show. Parents of teenagers also worried that the show would be the cause of more suicides rather than preventing them. This mixed reaction is what prompted Netflix to commission the Northwestern study, which found that 63-79% of young adults and adolescents believed it was beneficial to watch the show. The study also found that teenagers felt that 13 Reasons Why prompted them to have discussions about topics such as bullying and mental health. Parents, teenagers and adolescents in the US, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK were participants in the study.

Courtesy: Medium

To proactively address concerns for season two of 13 Reasons Why the cast has filmed a new opener in which they provide a warning to viewers. They explain that their show features difficult issues such as substance abuse and suicide, which may be triggering for those that have endured them. They also advise these viewers that the show may not be suitable for them to watch and suggest that those who do continue to watch the show proceed with caution. One of their suggestions is that young viewers watch the show with an adult that they trust. The cast reaffirms that they have created their show to spark conversations among viewers about the various issues that are addressed.

Netflix has added additional resources to their website, 13reasonswhy.info/, which was available during the first season of the show as well. The website provides information on mental health, suicide prevention, hotline numbers and other information that would be beneficial to viewers that are triggered by topics addressed on the show. YouTube videos have also been released featuring the cast reading letters sent by viewers that were positively affected by their show. A new complimentary series has been introduced along with the show entitled Tell Them which allows viewers to tell their own stories involving bullying, abuse and rape.

Originally, 13 Reasons Why was a limited series that was only supposed to have one season, however, it was announced in mid-2017 that it would receive a second season.  Hannah Baker will continue to be a central character in the new season. Showrunner, Brian Yorkey stated in an interview that the new season may explore the other characters in the show more so that we can learn their side of the story.

Courtesy: Elle UK