BySam Cooper, writer at
Spastic writer and a lover of all things with the word "espresso" in the title.
Sam Cooper

For a TV show produced by Selena Gomez, 13 Reasons Why features a surprising lack of reasons to sing. This book-to-screen adaptation is the newest offering from Netflix, and with a story involving suicide and toxic school drama, it looks to be one of the darkest, most serious shows available. released a trailer for the show earlier in the month, but some fans called it out for misrepresenting the tone of the book with an unnecessary amount of added drama. How has Netflix responded?

The latest from 13 Reasons Why is a behind-the-scenes featurette that shines a spotlight on the motivation behind the project.

Check it out:

Talk about transformation. Not only does this featurette serve as a heartfelt, captivating look into the show, it also hints at how 13 Reasons Why could be a legitimate help to high school students struggling with similar circumstances. Let's break down a few of the differences between the initial marketing strategy and the emotionally focused take of the featurette.

Marketing Transformation Or A More Honest Angle?

13 Reasons Why is, in any medium, an emotionally heavy undertaking of a story. Following the same plot as Jay Asher's 2007 book, 13 Reasons Why looks into the complexities surrounding Hannah Baker's death. Hannah leaves a verbal suicide note via 13 cassette tapes, one for each of the 13 people she blames for her death. Clay Jenson, played by Dylan Minnette, unravels the story and learns that it's often the smallest things that make the most impact. It's a story that really gashes you open, but the first look at the adaptation didn't have the same impact.

Take a look at the trailer:

After the trailer dropped, fans took to Twitter and YouTube to express concerns over the apparent change in tone. The trailer was a tense, thriller-esque minute and a half that they felt undercut the deeply personal nature of the book. With such fragile themes at play, portraying 13 Reasons Why with added school drama and violence seemed like an insult. Was it a classic case of marketing magic gone wrong? The behind-the-scenes featurette makes it seem that way.

The most recent look into the show is a different story. It puts an emphasis on the heart behind the project — hope for those going through tough times. After the first trailer, fans questioned what the show would actually be about. Now we have an answer. 13 Reasons Why will focus on the tough subjects that made the book so effective, and the cast has a lot to say about it.

'13 Reasons Why' [Credit: Paramount Television]
'13 Reasons Why' [Credit: Paramount Television]

Hear It From The Actors

Everyone involved in 13 Reasons Why, from actors to producers, has a specific motive for working on the project. This featurette pulls back the curtain and lets us see how important the show is to them and how important it could become to everyone watching. Miles Heizer, who plays Alex, lays out the chilling concept at the center of 13 Reasons Why in just a few words:

"It's about how every single person, whether what they did seems small or large, how all of it together kinda builds up in certain people and can lead them to do something like take their own life."

'13 Reasons Why' [Credit: Netflix]
'13 Reasons Why' [Credit: Netflix]

In regards to the troublesome subject matter, Alisha Boe provides a look at how the show will carry itself:

"It's a very uncomfortable topic to talk about, and I'm so grateful that I'm on the show where they are telling the truth and they're not cutting corners or trying to sugar coat it."

Dylan Minnette gives a glimpse at the underlying heart of the story:

"If she [Hannah] had just lived for five more minutes, anything could have changed."

At first, 13 Reasons Why seemed like another book adaptation riddled with unnecessary teen drama. The trailer made fans suspect the message and the tone of the story had been thrown under the bus in favor of a more exciting experience. But thanks to the latest featurette, some of those fears have dissipated. Behind the scenes, 13 Reasons Why is driven by people who want to spread awareness for some of the issues teens face today. Suicide prevention, bullying and hope are a few of the topics we can expect to hear about when March 31 queues up on our calendars.

might be the latest and greatest mini series from Netflix, but past young adult drama, there's a message that could help those facing dark, hopeless situations.

Do you think it's important for teens to watch 13 Reasons Why, and what kind of impact might it have on them?


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