For a show that relies so heavily on a convoluted premise, it is important that they find interesting ways to vary the story up. In the first season, Clay almost never ventures out of the town, and the show just ends up bouncing between the high-school and Clay’s house. The repetitive nature of tapes does not help break the mold. When the high point of your season is your main character getting a liquor from a gas station, it means your show is low energy. Which would not be a problem if the other aspects of the show were solid, but as you will see with the rest of the list they are not.
2. In Bad Taste
When the first season aired, there was a very vocal group of people who called for the shows’ removal from Netflix. This is because they thought that the show made light of suicide. Is it in bad taste to turn teen suicide into a Riverdale clone? Yes. If the show had shown the proper respect to these topics, everything would have been fine, but they clearly did not know how to handle such a serious topic.
3. Bad Influence
To make matters worse, the audience consuming the show are mostly teens. Pandering to a teen demographic is not a crime, however when you pair that with glorifying suicide, you end up with serious negligence. To say this show is a bad influence on teens is an understatement. It was actively encouraging copy cats. Of course the show’s writers didn’t intend for this, but they still must bear this burden. Beyond glorifying suicide, this show also continued to spread the false narrative that you need to party to enjoy high school. The ever prevalent myth, that serves to increase teen alcoholism and encourages a dangerous party lifestyle.
4. Self Righteous
After being a public health hazard, their response was to declare the show was about suicide awareness. Would you want Teen Wolf to talk to your kids about suicide? No. Despite being ill-prepared to handle the role of educator, the shows’ writers went on to produce a number of preachy press videos. Now the show wants to be hailed for having a positive impact on teen mental health. Sorry, but they will need to do a bit more then one or two PSAs before they can even be forgiven for their poor handling of the topic in the first season.
5. I Hate the Characters
First off, I do not blame the actors for the shortcomings of the characters. For the most part, the cast actually has the real acting chops. The problem is, the show’s writing is awful. All of the characters feel one dimensional. Furthermore, the few times we see characters act differently, it does not feel like a moment of growth or a lapse in judgment, it just feels out of character since there is no build up. The cringe worthy dialogue and shallow characters are why this show is truly a pain to watch.
The show’s biggest issue is that it is boring. The thing is – season one had the advantage of being an original idea. It was able to skate by on that, and the controversy. However, later seasons have absolutely nothing going for them. Not much ever seems to happen in this small town in rural America. At the same time, the writers are constantly throwing crazy plot points at the viewer, hoping to distract them from how shallow the world and story is. Even if you are invested in teen drama, this show has nothing to keep you interested.
7. Jumped the Shark
In a desperate attempt to cling to relevancy, the show has introduced plot elements that are completely insane. Instead of fixing the show’s core issue, a lack of compelling characters, the writers take the easy way out. How far the show is willing to go would be funny if it was not so sad. The show went from the compelling narrative device of the tapes, to dumping automatic weapons in the ocean. Any appeal this show had, as a realistic depiction of how a suicide can affect a small tightly knit community, is completely thrown away in the later seasons.
8. Off the Rails
If you were a fan of the first season and were thinking about coming back for season 4, you will not be happy with what you find. The show has gone so far off the rails at this point, that even fans of the first season won’t be happy with how it ended up. This is the show’s constant need to one up itself. The show can only raise the stakes so many times, before audiences stop responding to it.
9. Lack of POCs
This show has a severe lack of POC representation. Obviously this is not a problem that only this show has, mostly white cast is a common issue in these sort of teen drama shows. The issue is, for a show that is made to provide teens with characters to paint themselves on, lacking POCs means that kids are being left without representation. In 2020 shows need to catch up, and represent all POCs in their shows.
10. Making Light of School Shooting
If you hear about controversies surrounding 13 Reasons, it is either about Hannah Baker or the school shooting episode. That’s right, there was an episode where one of the characters tries to shoot up the prom. If you thought the teams handling of suicide was bad, that you would be appalled by how much the dramatize school shooting. They go with the classic, but he was bullied, approach to humanize the kid who was about to blow down his classmates. Anyway, Clay risks his life and talks down to the school shooter. Instead of the shooter going to jail, he just ends up being forgiven. There are no repercussions.
11. From Serial to Soap
Despite the first season feeling like a complete story, they have decided to continue the show. With the way the show is going, it is starting to look like a soap opera. Every episode seems to try and raise the stakes, but the writers lack the tools to actually make us care about the stakes. The only enjoyment that can come from shows that have gone down the soap road is a guilty pleasure. In short, we are no longer laughing with the show, we are laughing at it.
12. No End in Site
The end of the first season felt like a natural stopping point. However, it seems the producers wanted to squeeze all they could out of this show, so Season 2 came out. Season 2 had many of the same issues that Season 1 had, however it’s biggest issue was existing. It signaled to the Netflix audience that 13 Reasons was going nowhere. At this point, despite the negative feedback, I see the show crawling along for a while. It will die a slow and lonely death, when even the hardcore fans can not stand to watch it spiral.
For a show that relies so heavily on a convoluted premise, it is important that they find interesting ways to vary the story up. In the first season, Clay almost never ventures out of the town, and the show just ends up bouncing between the high-school and Clay’s house. The repetitive nature of tape’s does not help break the mold. When the high point of your season is your main character getting a liquor from a gas station, it means your show is low energy. Which would not be a problem, if the other aspects of the show were solid, but as you’ve seen with the rest of the list, they’re not.