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13RW is not your typical teen drama

People can’t stop talking about the provocative new series on Netflix 13 Reasons Why that debuted on March 31.  There is a lot to say about the show.  It delves deep in the lives of teens and it pulls no punches.

From the moment it starts, you know that the plot is about a dead girl.  Biggest spoiler alert – they weren’t bluffing.  Optimists may think that the tapes are a “what if” rather than, “yes, this terrible thing really happened.”  So for clarification purposes, the smart, beautiful and interesting Hannah Baker does kill herself, and it is shown in graphic detail by series end. The focus of this story is to unravel the mystery of why this tragic thing happened.

13RW is something special, but it is not for everyone.  Young children and pre-teens, the generally squeamish and people who wish to live in denial about teen depression and suicide should steer clear.  But older teens, young adults and especially the parents of teens or young adults should give it a look. It would strike a better dialogue if watched together, even though that though that will make some uncomfortable.

This show is not just for entertainment; it is an education on consequences and how, to quote Hannah Baker, why “little things matter.”

13RW has been a long-time passion project of executive producer Selena Gomez.  This series was based on the 2007 young adult novel by Jay Asher, and has Diana Son and Brian Yorkey as co-showrunners. The diverse, yet gifted cast is made of mostly young beautiful people – many of whom at least seem like new faces, even though many have been around for awhile.

This show should be nominated for any ensemble acting award offered including SAG, as the cast is truly marvelous.  It is hard to pick a standout amongst them because they are all good. If we really had to, there is one: Kate Walsh. Walsh is able to display the desperation, anguish, anger, fear and confusion that goes with losing a child without ever going over the top. Her performance was passionate, nuanced and remarkable. She is the best in a series that has no worst.

RELATED: A chat with Justin Prentice the most hated star of 13 Reason Why

13RW isn’t perfect. It runs too long, never really delves into some of the psychological issues that the story covers and the conceit of Hannah creating these tapes as a project in the first place makes her seem too self-aware to not go to her parents before it is too late. However, it is important.  The stories are interesting. These realistic depictions of bullying, sexual harassment, teenage isolation and grief strike a chord with anyone who watches it. Being a teenager is hard.  Every main character is shown to be a complicated mix of good and bad which leaves you at the edge of your seat waiting to know what happens.

Click next for our 13 shocking reasons why you need to watch 13 Reasons Why:

If you, or if you think someone else needs help, please reach out and talk to someone. To find help in your area 13reasonswhy.info for more information or for immediate help text HOME to 741741 or call 1-800-273-8255.

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Michelle Tompkins is an award-winning media, PR and crisis communications professional with more than ten years experience with coverage in virtually every traditional and new media outlet. She is currently a communications and media strategist and writer, as well as the author of College Prowler: Guidebook for Columbia University. She served as the Media Relations Manager for the Girl Scouts of the USA where she managed all media and talking points, created social media strategy, trained executives and donors and served as the organization’s primary spokesperson, participating in daily interviews with local, regional, and national media outlets. She managed the media for the Let Me Know internet safety and Cyberbullying prevention campaign with Microsoft, as well as Girl Scouts’ centennial Year of the Girl To Get Her There celebration in 2012, which yielded more than 800 million earned media impressions. In addition to her extensive media experience, Michelle worked as a talent agent in Los Angeles, California, as well contracting as a digital content developer and her writing has appeared in newspapers and online. She is passionate about television, theater, classic movies, all things food and in-home entertaining. While she has lived and worked in NYC for more than a decade, she is from suburban Sacramento and gets back there often to watch the San Francisco Giants on TV with her family.

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