When Netflix first renewed 13 Reasons Why in 2017, TVLine asked, “Is a second season really necessary?” One year later, following the news that a third season is on the way, we’re done asking. It is not necessary.
Based on Jay Asher’s 2007 novel, the drama’s first season offered an unflinching portrayal of the high school experience, bravely tackling important issues like bullying, depression and consent. Its sophomore season also attempted to confront difficult topics, but with its Polaroid-centric mystery — complete with a black-hooded character running amok through town — it felt more like Pretty Little Liars than a series I once felt transcended the “teen” genre.
And then there’s the title of the show: 13 Reasons Why, aka the 13 reasons Hannah Baker chose to end her life, all of which were made clear by the time Season 1 reached its harrowing conclusion. The idea of Hannah getting literal justice (via Season 2’s trial subplot) was an admittedly inspired way to keep the story going, but that story could not have gotten a more complete ending.
Not only did Hannah’s spirit ascend to heaven after her memorial service — actress Katherine Langford even confirmed that Hannah won’t appear in Season 3 — but Hannah’s mother, before leaving to start a new life for herself in New York City, delivered what I consider to be the show’s thesis statement: “No matter how many reasons there might be why, there are always more why not.”
That sentiment also applies to the show itself; no matter how many reasons there might be to renew it, there are always more reasons why not.
But I’m not just opposed to a third season, I’m also concerned about what it will bring. In an effort to retain viewers, shows often feel the need to “top” themselves with each new season, but what does that mean for 13 Reasons Why? If it means more gratuitous scenes like Tyler’s finale assault — a wholly unnecessary act of violence introduced purely to inspire the finale’s cliffhanger, in which Tyler showed up to school with a gun — you can count me out.
A cursory glance at the comments on the Season 3 announcement video will tell you that I’m not alone in my thinking. For every “2019 can’t come soon enough,” there’s a “Please stop, it’s already dead” or a “Now you’re just dragging it on.”
In the interest of not being a total Debbie Downer, though, I will say that this show has given us some great performances. Along with Langford, Dylan Minnette (Clay), Alisha Boe (Jessica), Miles Heizer (Alex) and Kate Walsh (Olivia) are among the actors who delivered — dare I say — Emmy worthy performances throughout both seasons. Even in times of questionable content, the acting has always been its saving grace.
What say you, TVLine readers? Are you excited about Season 3, or should the show have followed its leading lady into the light? Cast your vote below, then drop a comment with your rationale.