13 Reasons Why: Ranking Every Season From Worst To Best
How does the final season stack up against the others?
The fourth and final season of 13 Reasons Why arrived on Netflix recently, inciting the familiar online debates on the show's existence, the purpose it serves and whether or not it should ever really have gone past its first season. And, looking back now, it's hard to remember a time when the entertainment world wasn't buzzing about it (for better or for worse).
Based on the Jay Asher novel of the same name, the Netflix series arrived on the streaming service back in 2017 and it set the internet ablaze, with millions of people weighing on its depiction of important themes such as mental health and sexual assault. And it has continued to do so every year since without fail.
Like most shows, the standard of 13 Reasons Why has alternated over the course of its run, but what made this show's declines and rises all the more infuriating for fans was the fact that many felt it was becoming less about raising awareness and more about shock value. And that is an interesting topic of discussion considering the show has long since deviated from its source material.
With the end of 13 Reasons Why upon us, now is the time to reflect on the show's run, its strengths, weaknesses and, overall, how each season holds up when compared to each other.
4. Season 2
The finish of 13 Reasons Why's debut season was all about closure as it detailed how Hannah Baker's life came to a tragic end and wrapped up her arc in the process. It all seemed like the show was going to conclude the story much like its source material did, but one open-ended plot thread meant that it had to return for a second season.
This was where things began to fall apart for the show. As problematic as many found the first season, it was gripping television that expertly made viewers feel everything the writers wanted them to feel, but few of those qualities were present in the second.
Moving on with Hannah but still too afraid to let her go, the show had Katherine Langford return as Hannah's ghost (inside Clay's head), but all she did was serve as a plot device so that Clay could exposit information to the viewers. Worse than that, the real Hannah's return - if you will - through various flashbacks was accomplished at the expense of the first season's tightly-constructed narrative as the writers wrote around the events of it, changing things just to suit the new story.
In addition, the attempt to recreate the first season's tape format through the trial didn't work at all and only made the 13-episode season feel like it dragged on much longer than necessary.
There were some silver linings in there, such as Alex's road to recovery/his friendship with Zach and the beginnings of Justin and Clay's brotherly bond, while the cast's authentic performances elevated everything it tackled. That said, bringing the series back still felt like a complete misfire.