'13 Reasons Why' Renewed for Season 2
The controversial Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” has been renewed for a second season.
— 13 Reasons Why (@13ReasonsWhy) May 7, 2017
The show, produced by Selena Gomez, follows the aftermath of the suicide of 17-year-old Hannah, who left behind tapes for the people she believes wronged her.
Series creator Brian Yorkey told The Los Angeles Times that “Hannah’s story isn’t over — she has parents who still don’t have the complete story.”
There’s a rapist who hasn’t been brought to justice, and there’s a living survivor of that rapist who is just beginning her journey of recovery… Part of the problem with our culture is that we say, ‘Oh, the story’s done. Rapes are treated, at best, as a multi-episode arc within a season, when anyone who’s experienced rape knows it’s a lifelong story… If we left these 13 episodes out in the world with [the rapist] not being brought to justice … it’d be incredibly dissatisfying to me.
There’s been much written both praising and criticizing season one. Nic Sheff, one of the show’s writers, took one of these criticisms (showing graphic suicide scenes) head on in a Vanity Fair op-ed, “Why We Didn’t Shy Away From Hannah’s Suicide.”
Showing a suicide in such graphic detail contradicts guidelines for how to safely report on suicide. The guidelines read, “Risk of additional suicides increases when the story explicitly describes the suicide method, uses dramatic/graphic headlines or images, and repeated/extensive coverage sensationalizes or glamorizes a death.”
“It was clear from the beginning that Hannah’s death would be depicted in the show,” Dese’Rae L. Stage, founder of Live Through This and a suicide attempt survivor, told The Mighty in response to the piece, adding:
Depicting it in a way that feels true and honest to one’s own experience does not also mean that the depiction needs to traumatize the viewer. In bringing a scene like that to life, the creator walks a fine line. It could have been filmed in any number of ways and still gotten its point across. Our imaginations are powerful, powerful things. Ask Alfred Hitchcock. In the case of ’13 Reasons Why,’ what we have is a team of artists who chose to willfully ignore recommendations of suicide prevention professionals, prioritizing Good TV over the fact that their artistic decisions could have a detrimental effect on their viewers.
Both Gomez and Netflix addressed criticisms as well.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Gomez said, “We stayed very true to the book. That’s initially what [author] Jay Asher created, a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story, and I think that’s what we wanted to do.”
“We wanted to do it justice and, yeah, [the backlash is] going to come no matter what,” she added.
Netflix has also responded to critiques that the show glamorizes suicide by adding additional trigger warnings.
“While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories,” Netflix said in a statement, according to Buzzfeed.
The streaming service will offer additional trigger warnings before the first episode of season one, as well as strengthened advisories and resource language for episodes that contain graphic subject matter. Resources include 13ReasonsWhy.info — a site listing resources and crisis lines for countries where the show can be streamed.
For more details around the “13 Reasons Why” controversy, as well as how to talk to your kids about it, read this piece by our mental health editor Sarah Schuster.
Season 2 is expected on Netflix in 2018.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.
If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.