Back when it launched on Netflix, 13 Reasons Why stirred up a lot of controversy for its sensitive subject matter. The show, which was an adaptation of the book by Jay Asher, followed its source material pretty closely and ended on an arguably open-note. Controversies aside, the first season was fine by itself. Until the announcement of Netflix’s plans to follow it up came out. While the book doesn’t have any sequels, the shows commercial success led Netflix to greenlight a second season. And that’s where things turned interesting, to say the least.
Now, with season 3 almost upon us, it doesn’t take a detective to see just how different the show looks to be, especially when compared to its previous seasons. For many people, the second season was nothing but unnecessary. After all, the story was done. There was no source material to draw from for the subsequent seasons. So what did the showrunners do?
The second season of 13 Reasons Why took the characters we knew and threw them into even tougher, and eventually controversial, situations. After being done with using Hannah Baker’s tapes as a narrative tool, it took the format of a courtroom drama. Still following the first season’s underlying structure, the second season proceeded to put more focus onto the other supporting characters, with all of them dealing with Hannah’s death. This ended up hurting the show itself, as critical reception was largely mixed. Fans made it clear that this is not what they wanted. And so came the news that the show would come to a close after the inevitable season 4. But before that, let’s talk about the upcoming season.
Season 3, on the other hand, seems to be going in a completely different direction. Now, 13 Reasons Why is a straight-up murder mystery, instead of pretending to be one. Starting off with a bang, the trailers make it clear that Bryce Walker has been killed. This immediately changes the dynamics of the whole show. What was once a high-school drama with a serious subject matter is suddenly framed like a mystery show following the procedurals of a cop drama.
But the change was to be expected. Now that there isn’t any real ending in sight, it makes sense to change up the formula as the show keeps going. From the trailer above, it’s pretty clear what this direction is going to be. Everything from the look and feel, to even the dialogues, seems to have changed by a lot. Is that a good thing? Maybe. Maybe not. Too many shows set in high school live and die by the same formula that they think will get them through the years. 13 Reasons Why may not be a perfect show, and it does have its fair share of problems. But at least they’re trying to make it feel different.
Time will tell if the third season manages to surpass any expectations that the fans may have of this show at this point. 13 Reasons Why season 3 premieres on August 23rd, 2019 on Netflix.