Warning: Major spoilers for 13 Reasons Why from seasons 1 through 4 ahead. Trigger warning: This article contains language related to rape, sexual assault and suicide.
After four seasons and nearly 50 episodes, 13 Reasons Why came to an end in June 2020. The series — based on a 2007 Jay Asher novel of the same name — was definitely one of a kind. That said, there are a handful of movies and television shows on Netflix that have the same vibe.
What separates 13 Reasons Why from your stereotypical teen drama (i.e. Gossip Girl, Riverdale, Outer Banks) is the plot often deals with more serious issues than just partying, romance and prom. Sure, 13 Reasons Why did include those elements, but it also touched upon substance abuse, suicide, sexual assault, rape and more.
Additionally, viewers eventually learned to never expect a happy ending from 13 Reasons Why. Take Justin Foley’s death, for example. Showrunner Brian Yorkey, Dylan Minnette (who played Clay Jensen) and Brandon Flynn (who played Justin Foley) knew that audiences would be devastated by his character’s loss, but ultimately, that was the point.
“I remember all season, Brandon and I were specifically hoping that it would be Justin,” Dylan, 23, previously told Entertainment Weekly. “We were pushing for it and we would plead to Brian making the case of why we feel like it should be him, because he and I both felt that it would have the biggest emotional impact on the series given Justin’s entire arc.”
In order to support his long-standing heroin addiction, Justin turned to sex work. As a result, he contracted HIV, which later became AIDS. Since AIDS is a life-threatening condition that attacks the immune system, Justin suffered from pneumonia and meningitis before dying in season 4, episode 10, “Graduation.”
Perhaps the most controversial death in 13 Reasons Why came in season 1. Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford) died by suicide. Although Netflix has since removed the scene, author Jay Asher stands by the decision — even if it differed from his novel. “They wanted to show it as a very horrific experience,” the California native explained in a 2017 interview.
“You know, we’re used to, when it comes to sexual assault or suicide, things happening in another room. Or things going black at that point. We’re more comfortable with that. That’s how we’ve been doing it for so long — and yet people still then wonder why some people aren’t grasping how horrific these things are,” Jay continued. “So we felt we need to show how horrific it is, and how horrific it is to find that body when you’re the parents.”
To learn about more movies and TV shows like 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, keep scrolling.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
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