How ’13 Reasons Why’ Will Address Backlash in Season 2
When it premiered last May, 13 Reasons Why found itself amid a firestorm of criticism from the mental health community. While some praised the teen drama's frank depictions of topics like bullying, sexual assault, and suicide, critics argued it recklessly glorified them, raising important questions but neglecting to follow with the necessary dialogue and resources for those confronting similar issues in real life.
Despite the controversy, Netflix renewed the series for a second season, but announced on Wednesday (March 21) that it will be making some adjustments. When the show returns, it will be supplemented with a new after show featuring the actors, experts, and educators who helped inform how 13 Reasons broaches sensitive material. The offshoot is an expansion of the first season's after show, Beyond the Reasons, which included behind-the-scenes interviews.
A special intro will also be added to the beginning of the season. The one-minute video, streaming below, features discussion from the cast about how to get support for those seeking it and disclaiming that viewers who might be struggling with some of the issues covered should either refrain from watching or watch with a trusted adult.
Finally, 13 Reasons' companion website, 13ReasonsWhy.Info, will now come with a viewing guide to help start the difficult conversations the show will touch upon.
The changes come in response to a study commissioned by Netflix from Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development, which found the series had a predominantly positive impact on young viewers. Among the highlights of the findings:
- 71% of teens and young adults found the show relatable, and nearly three-quarters of teen and young adult viewers said the show made them feel more comfortable processing tough topics.
- More than 50% reached out to someone to apologize for how they had treated them.
- Nearly 75% of teens said that they tried to be more considerate about how they treated others after watching the show.
- Two-thirds of parents asked to have the cast come out of character to discuss how to get support. (The custom intro will address this request.)
- More than half of parents want more guidance from mental health experts. (The after show will address this request).
“The hope is that the steps we’re taking now will help support more meaningful conversations as Season 2 rolls out later this year,” Netflix VP of Original Series Brian Wright wrote in a company blog post. “We’ve seen in our research that teens took positive action after watching the series, and now — more than ever — we are seeing the power and compassion of this generation advocating on behalf of themselves and their peers.”
A release date for 13 Reasons Why Season 2 has not yet been announced, but it's expected to arrive later this year.
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