13 Reasons Why: TV Show Review (TW: Suicide, Depression, Sexual Assault, Mental Health) Also Spoilers

I finally finished watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, and now I am go give my thoughts on the series.

First, let me discuss my views on the book. I felt the book was little over hyped. I did like the ideas the book portrayed such as how bullying leads to suicide, the problem I had with the book was mainly the character of Hannah, and I didn’t connect with her like I did with Clay. I also feel that we didn’t get enough depth about the character on the tapes.

The show, follows the same beats of the show, it starts after the suicide of Hannah Baker, Clay receiving the tapes and starts listening. In the book Clay listens to the tapes in one sitting, but in the show he takes his time to listen to each tape and process the information. That was one of the show main strengths, is not just listening to tapes but also seeing how the school and the other characters on the tapes react to them as well.

Each episode is one tape, that was a big plus because the story could also be more fleshed out. I remember when I first read the book a movie was optioned with Selena Gomez playing Hannah. A movie would not have done the book justice. A TV show made it so much better, and part of me kinda wishes that Hollywood should adapt YA novels into TV series instead of movies.

Another plus was how the characters were a lot more fleshed out, and you them on the tapes and also after the suicide. The characters I felt were more fleshed out were Jessica, Justin and Alex. WIth Jessica especially with what happened to her is who I felt had the most development throughout the show. Justin, while it was a douchy thing that he did , you also see a glimpse into his family life. Alex, is a character who actually really felt bad with what happened to Hannah.. Some other characters such as Marcus and Courtney who didn’t really change in the end and kept conspiring against Clay.

The performances were also very outstanding. Katherine Langford who plays Hannah does an amazing job with the role. She added a lot of depth to the Hannah role, which I always felt was lacking in the book, in which we only see Hannah through the tapes and not her as a person. Another amazing performance is Dylan Minnette who plays Clay is also outstanding in the role, and you really feel for Clay throughout the show. Kate Walsh who plays Hannah’s mother is also great in the role. She does a great job at playing a grief sicken mother dealing with her daughters suicide. Hannah’s parents don’t really play a role in the books so I was glad that it was included in the show. The rest of cast are also very good, and I think it has the best teen cast since Friday Night Lights.

The show also takes a few liberties with the book. It deals with a lawsuit brought forth by Hannah’s parents. Also how Clay listened to the tapes, instead of one night its about a few weeks. Another is how Hannah committed suicide. in the book she overdosed on pills, while in the show it she slit her wrists. Hannah’s suicide could seen as very triggering.

Now to give my thoughts on themes of the show. This show is very split on how it handles suicide and depression. One half says it raises awareness of teen suicide, another side says it trivializes suicide. Some people will say that Hannah’s suicide and the use of the tapes sees it as more of an act of vengeance rather than trying to deal with her mental health problems.

As someone that has dealt with bullying, dealing with depression and has on a few occasions contemplated suicide. I think there is no right or wrong way to write suicide, or mental health stories, and I feel that Hannah’s story shouldn’t have to match my story or anyone else’s. While for some the material the show addresses could be triggering I could fully understand if anyone doesn’t want to watch the show. I kinda wish that both the show and the book did a better job at addressing Hannah’s mental health issues.

In the end, 13 Reasons Why was a very good show that expanded on the book and fleshed out a lot of characters. If they make a second season, I think they will address the lawsuit, maybe Bryce getting arrested for rape, Alex’s suicide attempt and maybe Tyler shooting up the school. I want to see where the story goes.

Season MVP: Katherine Langford, Kate Walsh and Dylan Minnette

Best Episodes: Tape 1, Side A, Tape 6, Side A and Tape 7, Side A.

Season grade: A

Stranger Things: TV Review

Hello everyone,

Here is another TV show review, and this is one of the most talked shows of the summer. Stranger Things.

If I were to describe the show I would describe it E.T. meets X-Files with a little bit of Super 8.

The main story-line of the show is the disappearance of a young boy named Will Byers, and how his mother (Winona Ryder) and his friends try to find him and figure out how and why he disappeared. As his friends are looking for him they come across a young girl (Millie Bobby Brown) who has strange powers and who may have a clue of what happened to Will.

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This show is a basically an ode to 80s sci fi movies, and what I loved about the show is the acting of the boys. It was nice to kids act like normal kids, they rode bikes, played games and stayed out till the street lights came on. It really did feel like a throwback series.

Another stand out is Winona Ryder’s performance as Joyce Byers. She did a good job at playing a mother whose son has disappeared. Also David Harbour who plays the local sheriff on the case, also does a really good job.

If you are a fan of sci fi and 80s movies, this is a show I highly recommend. The only reason I am very vague in this review is because I don’t want to give anyway too many spoilers because the show is very good, and it should be watched.

I really hope season 2 dives deeper in the shows mythology, because I believe we are seeing a new version of the X-Files.

Season MVP: Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown

Best Episodes: The Disapearance of Will Byers and The Body

Grade: A

House of Cards Season 4 (with Spoilers)

I finally finished House of Cards season 4 and now let me review.

I think this season was a lot better than last season because it had a better narative flow without getting caught up in subplots. This season picks up where it left off with Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) leaving Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) in the middle of his primary campaign, and going to see her mother (played by Ellen Burnstyn). Claire also has her own political agenda and trying to run for a vacant seat in her hometown.

Frank is also dealing with trying to win the Democratic nomination to run for reelection, and dealing with Heather Dunbar (Elizabeth Marvel) as his opponent. I feel the story really picked up is the assassination attempt on Frank, done by Lucas Goodwin who was involved with Zoey Barnes who was killed back in season 2. Even though Frank was out of commission within those few episodes it gave an opportunity for other cast members to shine such as Donald Blythe, Frank’s Vice President who had to take power while Frank was in the hospital recovering. Also Doug Stamper his chief of staff, having to step up. I also think that Robin Wright was phenomenal in those episodes dealing with Frank’s assassination attempt both with performance and also behind the camera (she directed the 4th episode when the assassination toke place).

After the assassination I think the show didn’t slow down in terms of storytelling. With Frank securing the nomination, he had to deal with the Republican nominee William Conway (Joel Kinnamen), who is basically if JFK was on the Republican party. I think Joel Kinnamen was great in the few episodes he was on in the back half of the season. I like that at first he is the laid back candidate who is young and ambitious, but then at the end of the season he is almost as bad as Frank.

If I were to point out a negative about the season is how characters such as,  Heather Dunbar, Jackie Sharpe and Remy were sort of push off to the side and didn’t have a lot of story like they did in previous season, but it did have a reason, especially when an article comes out about Frank Underwood in the Washington Herald.

Another not really negative, but a point in the show when one must has to suspend disbelief is how Claire became Frank’s running mate in the election. I know its a fictional drama series but it did seem really strange that it happened.

All in all, I think this season was very good and much better than season 3. The performances was still amazing and the way the season ended makes me even excited for the next season.

Grade: A

Best Episodes: Chapter 43 and Chapter 52

Season MVP: Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey

Daredevil: Season one review

With season 2 of Marvel Daredevil coming up I think it is important that I share my thoughts on the first season.

First, let me address my thoughts on the 2003 movie. I didn’t hate the movie as much as most people did, I just thought it was okay. The directors cut, however is much better and I recommend that you check it out.

The show however, is so much better than the movie and I am so glad that Netflix was a part of it. It starts with Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and his partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) starting their own law firm it Hells Kitchen. The story also sort of picks up after the events of the first Avengers movie and how Hells Kitchen is rebuilding after the Loki’s attack which they call the incident. The rebuilding is being lead by Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), after a young women named Karen Page(Deborah Ann Wool) uncovers some illegal dealings that Wilson Fisk is involved in she works with Matt and Foggy to uncover the scheme.

Let me start by telling how great Charlie Cox is as Matt Murdock/Daredevil. While Ben Affleck did a good job on the Matt Murdock side, Charlie Cox does a great job playing both characters.

Another highlight is Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk. He plays such a villainous character with so much empathy and is one of the best villains in television and also in Marvel.

Also, the action and fights in the show are the best I have ever seen on television. Just watch the 2nd episode and see the hallway fight which was done in one continuous take and tell me I am wrong.

This show was truly amazing I am so excited to see season 2.

Grade: A+

Season MVP: Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio

Best Episodes: Cut Man, World on Fire/Condemned and Daredevil

Daredevil Season 2 trailer review

Sorry that it’s been a while since I posted. I was at a Model UN conference so I haven’t had time to read or post, but when I got back I saw the season 2 trailer for the Netflix/Marvel series Daredevil.

Daredevil, the first season was one of first in a series of Netflix/Marvel productions set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I will be reviewing the first season before the second season premieres.

The trailer really gets me excited for the season;  mainly because of the introduction of the Punisher (Jon Bernthal) who is basically Daredevil, except that he kills people.  It also gives us what is seen to be a Daredevil vs. Punisher in regards to their ideologies.

Also the trailer gives us a little “post-credit” scene is regards to Elecktra. More of that soon.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Season 1

Jessica Jones is one of several TV shows set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe just like Daredevil which came before it, and it stars Krysten Ritter as the titular character. Also like Daredevil while it is set within the MCU it is far enough that it can come up with its own stories and also very street level, so don’t go expecting Iron Man or Captain America to help her out. She also has powers in which she can jump real high and has unbelievable strength.

Now for the series, its AWESOME. Now let me tell you why. First of all, Krysten Ritter is Emmy worthy for her performance and knows how to be what is supposdly an unlikable anti-hero. Also she plays a charcter that has dealt with a signifacnt trauma which is bascially rape and also deal with PTSD and guilt for what she has done. Also very good, David Tennant as Kilgrave or the Purple Man and he plays what I think is one of greatest villians in comic book adaptation since Heath Ledger as the Joker from The Dark Knight. As a Doctor Who fan it blows my mind how David Tennant can go from the charming Doctor to the predotory Killgrave.

Another character is Luke Cage played by Mike Coultor, He will get his own series as well. But even though he has a few great episodes I am already impressed and can’t wait for his new series coming this year.

What makes the show great is not just the great cast but the fact that as a comic book show it doesn’t feel like a comic book show. It is more of a film-noir that just so happens to have people who have powers. I am very excited with the next Marvel netflix series.

Season MVP: Krysten Ritter and David Tennant

Best episode: A.K.A Sin Bin and AKA 1000 cuts

Grade: A