Brow Beat

The Trailer for Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why Is Dark, but Not in the Way We Were Expecting

Jay Asher’s young adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why has the pacing you’d expect from a TV show—which makes it a natural fit for a Netflix adaptation. Oscar winner Tom McCarthy directs the 13-episode series, in which Clay (Dylan Minnette) receives a box of 13 cassette tapes narrated by Hannah (Katherine Langford), a classmate who recently killed herself. Each tape explains a reason Hannah committed suicide and addresses a specific person she holds responsible for her death, including Clay, who isn’t sure why he’s on the list.


Given the premise of the series, the trailer was inevitably going to be dark, but this new one is surprisingly so in how it presents the story as more of a mystery thriller than a somber examination of how a life ended, with Clay apparently investigating Hannah’s death as one would a murder and confronting suspects. There are chase scenes, dramatic confrontations, and—sheesh, is that a gun?

The risk of overinflating the drama of 13 Reasons Why is that Asher’s novel, while suspenseful, is also a cautionary tale about how ordinary high schoolers drive a classmate into a dark place and then fail to identify the warning signs as she becomes desperate. It’s hard to get that lesson across when your trailer is selling conspiracies, secrets, and action sequences.

You can press play on the series when it hits Netflix on March 31.