13 Reasons Why: The Story of Hannah Baker

13 REASONS WHY

CREATED BY: Brian Yorkey

STARRING: Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Miles Heizer, Ross Butler, Devin Druid, Amy Hargreaves, Derek Luke, Kate Walsh

NO. OF EPISODES: 13 Episodes

GENRE: Teen Drama, Mystery

YEAR: 2017

COUNTRY: United States

Clay Jensen, a shy high school student, returns home from school one day to find that he has received a mysterious package in the mail. It contains seven double-sided cassette tapes used by Hannah Baker, a classmate who has recently committed suicide. Each tape details a reason that she killed herself. The tapes were sent to various other people before arriving at Clay’s door. Clay moves through them, one by one, while slowly descending in to grief as each tape makes him feel powerless.

Man, Netflix just keeps killing it with their original adaptations. Inspired by the original novel, 13 Reasons Why is a dark and adult look at bullying and suicide among teenagers in today’s society. Despite the majority of the cast being just mere teenagers themselves, the performances by the entire cast was fabulous. Each of the actors embodied their characters and really portrayed them to the best of their ability. The writing structure was superb, as it fantastically adapted the blend used in the original novel. This, paired with the slow breakdown of our main characters, just make 13 Reasons Why even darker.

Well said Clay, well said.

Honestly, there isn’t much that I could say negatively about the show. The production team behind its creation took plenty of measures to accurately portray teen suicide and we feel like they succeeded in getting their point across. The only drawback that I have seen for the show is that people claim that Hannah’s downward spiral feels almost artificial, that nothing could happen in that order. This is also attributed to the differences of Clay in between the series and the novel. The story is more drawn out in the series, and thus making Hannah’s suicidal spiral even more dramatic.

PROS:

  • Storytelling structure.
  • Dark and adult approach.
  • Main cast performance.
  • Solid adaptation.

CONS:

  • Differences with Clay.
  • Spiral too artificial?

SCORE: 9 / 10

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Travelers: Netflix’s Answer to Time Travel

TRAVELERS

CREATED BY: Brad Wright

STARRING: Eric McCormack, MacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahamson, Reilly Dolman, Patrick Gilmore

NO. OF EPISODES: 12 episodes

GENRE: Science Fiction

YEAR: 2016

COUNTRY: Canada, United States

A team of special operatives, sent back in time from the future, are tasked with preventing the collapse of society. These operatives, known as travelers, enter the body of a 21st century individual moments before the individual’s “recorded time of death” (although the transfer is not limited to only that moment). This process is referred to as a “transfer of consciousness” and requires the exact position of the target. Due to lack of precise location records prior to the 21st century (made possible by smart phones and GPS), this limitation prevents transmitting someone to an earlier year. For example, the travelers cannot stop World War II, because the technology of the 1940s did not provide sufficient data to determine the exact location of recorded death, thus preventing the possession of hosts by a traveler. Social media is also used to gain knowledge of the individual who will be dying, which helps the traveler prepare for the life they will inhabit.

The travelers must maintain their hosts’ pre-existing lives to avoid attracting attention while performing missions aimed at saving the world from a series of catastrophic events. As the series progresses, changes in the present make significantly unanticipated changes in the future.

Welcome to the 21st.

Now, we haven’t exactly been looking for a new show about beings from the future, but we figured that we should give Netflix’s Travelers a try. The show is fun, quirky, and light on the science as far as time travel shows are concerned. While it becomes a bit convoluted when it comes to the rules of sending back your consciousness, it makes up for it by setting a time where you don’t have to take the show too seriously. We would like to commend the entire cast for having fantastic chemistry and definitely making the show a solid 12 episode series.
However, if you are going into Travelers for the science and a serious time travel show, I urge you to pass on this one. While Travelers isn’t overly silly by any means, there is plenty of romp that it could easily fit into the “mission of the week” format. Kind of hard to believe when this show deals with mental illness and addiction so heavily. Just remember, “No more than 8 ounces of heroin, because then we know you want it not just to function.”

PROS:

  • Great chemistry.
  • Not overly scientific.
  • Balance between drama and comedy.
  • Fantastic main cast performance.

CONS:

  • Some episodes feel “Mission of the week”.
  • Tackle heavy issues with a light touch.

SCORE: 8.5 / 10

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Cosmos: Expanding Beyond Out Intergalactic Address

COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODDESSEY

cosmos_spacetime_odyssey_titlecard

CREATED BY: Ann Druyan, Steven Soter

HOSTED BY: Neil deGrasse Tyson

NO. OF EPISODES: 13 Episodes

GENRE: Documentary

YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY: United States

The show begins with a brief introduction recorded by President of the United States Barack Obama describing the “spirit of discovery” that the series aspires to give to its viewers. Tyson opens the episode to reflect on the importance of Sagan’s original Cosmos, and the goals of this series. He introduces the viewer to the “Ship of the Imagination”, the show’s narrative device to explore the universe’s past, present, and future. Tyson takes the viewer to show where Earth sits in the scope of the known universe, defining the Earth’s “address” within the Virgo Supercluster. Tyson explains how humanity has not always seen the universe in this manner, and describes the hardships and persecution of Renaissance Italian Giordano Bruno in challenging the prevailing geocentric model held by the Catholic Church. To show Bruno’s vision of the cosmic order he uses an animated adaptation of the Flammarion engraving, a 19th century illustration that has now become a common meme for the revealing of the mysteries of the Universe.

Let me start off with this absolutely gorgeous space porn for the masses. First off, this review will be strictly on the 2014 version of Cosmos, as I have not seen the original version. First off, Neil deGrasse Tyson is an absolutely amazing host. Not only is he talented and well accredited in his field of astrophysics, Tyson can talk to people. He is sociable and knows how to appeal to any individual person in the masses. Secondly, Cosmos is absolutely beautiful. The visuals are amazing and the crew behind the curtain making that happen is superbly amazing. Thirdly, it was an interesting choice to have many of the conversations between famous individuals be animated. It did pay off though. Lastly, Cosmos is one of the few shows that did actually teach me something. Well done.

Honestly, I don’t really have any gripes with Cosmos. My biggest peeve is that while I initially thought that the series was about space and the cosmos, it was much more than that. The series was about life and the advances we have made in the scientific field as a species. While incredibly interesting, it wasn’t what I signed up for. It also serves as a tribute to Carl Sagan’s original Cosmos, but it is lost on me since I haven’t seen the original.

PROS:

  • Intelligent conversation.
  • Unique experience.
  • Tyson’s amazing hosting skills!

CONS:

  • Tribute to Sagan’s Cosmos. Meaning will be lost if original unseen.
  • Not strictly about space.

SCORE: 9.0 / 10

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