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13 Reasons Why - Round Table - Season 2: Sure Thing or Why?



Hello, all my dear fellow 13 Reasons Why fans and welcome to SpoilerTV's Round Table dedicated to the season 2 renewal. Last Sunday Netflix officially renewed 13 Reasons Why for a second unnecessary season. With the news causing much turmoil within our community, we've decided to do this round table and discuss some worrying points ahead of season 2 and give you once again space to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. Today I'm joined by my fellow team members Jaime Coudeville (JC), Jimmy Ryan (JR), Justyna Kubica (JK) and Darthlocke (DL).

1. WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL REACTION TO THE SEASON 2 RENEWAL?

JC: I was pretty shocked. The book only has one installment. The show already went further than the book did but I didn't think they'd expand this much.

JR: I'm really pleased, but not without reservations, for Season 2. It's been fascinating observing how people have received the series, and there's a massive difference between how older generations have reacted to its content compared to the younger generations. What the 13RW showrunners did such a fantastic job of in Season 1 was to tell a powerful, emotional, raw and realistic story that didn't remind you that you were watching a television series, when in actual fact you were, and behind that the same commercial motivations remain, though the showrunners were careful to avoid letting that influence the messages and the way the story was told. Season 2 will have to remain firmly grounded and realistic to ensure its powerful messages from Season 1 aren't lost, but I have more faith than usual in the showrunners of this series because they did such a good job in Season 1.

MP: I was very excited. The show is really daring and challenging and we need more shows like 13RW on TV. People need to talk about social challenges and this is a show that encourages that.

JK: I wasn't completely shocked. There were talks about the renewal long before it actually happened so I was prepared this might happen. It was still surprising though. When I was watching the show I never even considered there might be a second season as it seemed like a closed story to me.

DL: I wasn't yet finished with the first season, when the news broke, but my initial reaction was that I thought it was good thing--and it's not that I don't feel that having a trigger warning with this series isn't warranted and that we should all take that seriously and be understanding when talking about the series with friends and family or just dropping lines on the internet, but I also think it's important that we hold up creative freedoms and not become a culture that sweeps everything under the rug, because something is not always realistically perceived, conventional, or because something can be painful. Sometimes we can learn from others' pain.

2. IS SEASON 2 NECESSARY? OR IS NETFLIX JUMPING THE GUN WITH THIS DECISIONß

JC: In my opinion, it's not. Everything could've been wrapped up in an extra episode, in the style of Sense8's Christmas episode. But if this season also has 13 episodes, I have no idea what they're going to fill them with.
I'm fine with the renewal if it was always meant to have a second season. However, renewing something that didn't is dangerous because the quality could be a lot less than the first season.

JR: Commercially it makes sense, and I think in terms of the bigger picture regarding suicide, mental health, consent and all the other topics that 13RW touched on, this series is a huge benefit to society. The global reach Netflix's platform has is a huge plus as well. Locking in a second season amid the publicity is a sensible move, and it may even encourage more viewers to try it out, and that's definitely a positive thing.

MP: Season 2 plot wise is unnecessary, but as a show 13RW is very much necessary. As Jimmy said the reach Netflix has is a great way to spread a very important message about challenging social issues. Also, while I love my old school teen dramas 13RW took teenage problems to a whole new level with their focused, raw and emotional storytelling.

JK: Maybe not necessary, but still potentially great. While the ending we got could work as it is there are some things I wanted to see and didn't have a chance yet. The movie or rather an extra episode would be great but I'm willing to give the creators the benefit of doubt and see where the story leads us in the second season.

DL: Necessary can be an odd word. I think the first season works fine by itself, but when one considers some of the strong criticism the series has received and/or with discussions it has provoked, and with the intent of the second season allegedly fixating on "healing", I think it could be a nice and even smart way for the writers and executive producers to appease to those that didn't approve of the first season. I'm personally curious to see where the lives of some of these characters go from here and if any good can come out this.

3. With the huge success of the first season and different responses to the renewal, could pleasing the audience be a potential stepping stone for the writers/producers?

JC: This is largely what I fear for next season. That they'll try too hard to please everyone. I hope they focus on the story that they want to tell.

JR: Yes, I think there is a sizable stepping stone there. There's a fine line between keeping the story realistic and relatable to the real world while the story itself is fictional. This is not a series that I want to have to suspend disbelief while I watch it. I think it's fair to say my expectations of the creative team are higher than usual because 13RW isn't an ordinary series given its role in society concerning its subject matter, but despite that I do have considerable faith in the creative team because they did a superb job with Season 1, and their passion for the subject matter means there's no reason why they cannot succeed at creating a second season at least on par with the first.

MP: This is my biggest worry about season 2. Season 1 worked so well cause the writers had a really great sense of direction as the original material was so good. Doing another season, comes with challenges that are difficult for any writer writing what you feel is right opposed to what realistically should happen. I have faith in the writers but still I am a bit afraid of what how the end product will look if their heart takes over.

JK: I hope they will choose their story first and focus on the best way to deliver it without focusing too much on any potential distractions. If there's a great story with a meaningful message to be told, I will be glad to see the show continue.

DL: Like I answered in the previous question, I think it can be a stepping stone for an expansion--13 reasons on how to heal or 13 reasons people can come together after a tragedy and become better people. I'm not saying that it should be all unicorns and rainbows, and/or that every character should get a happy resolution and/or that the 13 episodes don't still need to have drama to sustain itself, but I do think if they could use a similar device, like they did with the tapes, and find a way to use it help each other, that might be an interesting counterpart to the first season. Of course, it might be interesting to change format and story all together---take one character like Clay or Kat and start with them at a new location, although that doesn't seem too likely given there are some loose ends unresolved with the current story.

4. AS A SHOW THAT RAISED SO MANY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS AND DESCRIBED BY MANY AS TRIGGERING, WHERE DO YOU SEE THE BOUNDARIES OF SEASON 2?

JC: I think the boundaries will be similar to those of season 1. The season will probably have many triggering moments again since we still know very little about Alex' suicide attempt and whatever Tyler is planning.

JR: The creative team left a few doors open for Season 2, including Tyler's gun stash, a rape victim and rapist, a car crash victim, the lawsuit, and of course, Alex's condition after a gunshot to the head. What I'm really keen to see avoided is an actual school shooting, and the lawsuit having a significant role to play because they are topics that are by and large only relevant to American audiences, whereas the majority of other places in the world approach such topics quite differently. If 13RW becomes too American, its relevance and important messages which are universal among international audiences will be significantly dampened, and I really don't want to see that happen.

MP: Season 1 did push the boundaries quite far and I'm not sure where they will take season 2, but my fears lie just there. Where will the writers go to keep their momentum and in which direction will they push the characters to keep being relevant?

JK: I don't expect the boundaries to change. It will all depend on the story and if done correctly, I'll be okay with keeping things as they were in season 1. I'm choosing to be cautiously optimistic as the show proved to be the biggest surprise of the year for me and I hope the message the creators were trying to send to the viewers will find those most in need. There's a room for improvement for sure and I only wish them the best.

DL: I don't really see how they could cross any more boundaries than they already had, unless they would tell a story about child abduction and/or child abuse--that's the only untouched place where I think they could potentially tell you an even more harrowing or forbidding story outside of the ones they have--otherwise It could just be repetitious or even. But I also think they have to be careful to not turn the whole thing into something like Melrose Place or the original 90210 (but for teens), where too many characters just die, all because of what season one brought. I think if they do that, they take away from the purpose of the first season, which includes recognizing and feeling for the tragedy of Hannah Baker, cycles of victimization, and rape. If they want these things to be painful truths that make one think and feel, then they should try not to undermine what I feel they accomplished with a new series of events that come off as fantastic or something that is trying too hard to "outdo" it's previous subject matter.


That is it from us dear 13 Reasons Why fans, I hope you've enjoyed the read. Now it is your turn, the comment section is all yours and feel free to share your thoughts about the renewal.


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