Some Fans Wish ’13 Reasons Why’ Had Ended After Season 1

There seems to be no more controversial show on Netflix than 13 Reasons Why based solely on how the show chose to deal with the suicide of the initial main character. We’ve delved into what the social impact might have been over depicting suicide in Season 1, but there hasn’t been any polling to see how fans really felt.

More recent evidence tells us at least some fans wish the show would have been a one-season series. The reasons are complicated, especially because some psychologists were against the show ever existing. Others have criticized the show for bringing more shock value than teaching teens about suicide repercussions.

Should it have wrapped after the suicide of Hannah rather than attempt to explain what happened in Season Two?

Critics think Season 2 was trying to make up for criticisms about its suicide depictions

Katherine Langford
Katherine Langford | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV

A true split has developed between psychologists on whether the depiction of Hannah committing suicide (not in the original book) was the right thing to do in Season 1. According to a recent analysis on Vox, one side thinks the show helped create more conversation about suicide in teens to help them reach out when they have problems. Another side thinks it’s created a suicide “contagion” as a trigger for teens to end their lives.

Both are probably correct, even though there’s a growing consensus the show has been more beneficial than not. The problem is there hasn’t been a thorough study done yet on what the show’s impact is on teen behavior.

One thing critics note is Season Two of 13 Reasons Why seems to have assimilated the criticism and gone in more repentant directions in the story, not including removing Hannah’s suicide scene. Ensuing plot devices now revolve around the true impact of Hannah’s suicide, including finding a note she wrote listing “11 Reasons” why she shouldn’t commit suicide.

From an outsider perspective, there shouldn’t be any criticism of them making amends. Others think Season One alone helped spark a long-overdue conversation about teen suicides and how to prevent them.

Has ’13 Reasons Why’ lost its blunt tone as a result of the changes?

Netflix recently decided to renew 13 Reasons Why for a fourth and final season, with Season 3 debuting Aug. 23. Those who’ve read the book by Jay Asher seem to think the show has run a little too long due to its recent clumsy attempts at proving suicide’s futility.

As dark and seemingly hopeless as the first season was, one could argue it opened a very frank conversation about suicide. Because it didn’t have any easy answers, it arguably gave the most realistic depiction of what’s going on in a teen’s head when they have suicidal thoughts.

Other stories the show is starting to delve into include teen sexual abuse, plus the potential for another school mass shooting. You’re starting to see some backlash to these plot lines as well since they seem to be done for shock value rather than with any empathetic approaches. Maybe teens disagree and find the graphically powerful bluntness a cathartic experience since regular television has no show even remotely close.

The controversies might make future producers leery of taking similar approaches

In the Vox analysis above, there’s sharp criticism of the show as perpetuating myths about suicide and other teen issues rather than convincingly explain why those things shouldn’t be done. Calling the show “cheap and aesthetically empty” are harsh words you don’t see every day in talking about a TV or streaming show. Because of this, perhaps we won’t see any more shows like 13 Reasons Why any time soon, even if some teens might prefer this blunter approach.

We have to wonder, though, what the legacy of the show might have been had it just been a limited one-season package of episodes. Would it have left viewers demanding a follow-up, or started a stronger movement toward teens finally having frank dialogue with their parents/counselors?