The producers of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” filmed partly in Vallejo, recently announced its second season will premier May 18, and the possibility of a third season is being discussed.
The teen-centered series appears to be going on despite calls from an advocacy group to scrap the whole show.
In an announcement titled “Warnings about Neflix’s ‘13 Reasons Why,’” the Mississippi-based American Family Association “urges the streaming service to pull season two of the teen series that glorifies suicide.”
The religious-centered organization points to the suicide of a 14-year-old Alabama girl, who they say killed herself after binge-watching the series. Organization officials are spearheading a petition drive they say has already gathered more than 57,000 signatures.
“Even the mainstream media has publicized the potential dangers of ‘13 Reasons Why,’ and some schools here in America and abroad have sent home letters to warn parents about the series,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “These dangers are very real. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among teenagers. Therefore, asking Netflix to drop this dangerous series is the right thing to do. We ask that our friends and supporters please sign this petition, then share it as a way to warn other friends, family and church members about the dangers of ‘13 Reasons Why.’”
The series’ makers released a public service announcement video, featuring the series’ stars.
“Netflix announced new steps it will take for the show’s second season, most notably a warning video featuring the stars that will air before the first episode of each season,” according to last month’s Variety.com. “In the clip, stars Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Justin Prentice and Alisha Boe tell viewers how to get help if they are affected by what they see on the show. Additionally, the streaming service is adding crisis resources and a viewing guide to 13ReasonsWhy.Info, and will start a new after-show titled ‘Beyond the Reasons,’ where actors, experts, and educators will break down the series.”
It may boil down to whether people think it’s best to ignore difficult issues in the hope that this will make them go away, or bring them out into the open, and hope they can be dealt with that way.
“The hope is that the steps we’re taking now will help support more meaningful conversations as Season 2 rolls out later this year,” original series president Brian Wright said in a blog, to which questions were directed Tuesday. “We’ve seen in our research that teens took positive action after watching the series, and now — more than ever — we are seeing the power and compassion of this generation advocating on behalf of themselves and their peers.”
Following the show’s first season’s phenomenal success, “and ensuing cultural conversations about teen suicide, Netflix released a study… about the show’s impact on young viewers,” he said. “Conducted by Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development, researchers discovered that ‘71 percent of teens and young adults found the show relatable, and nearly three-quarters of teen and young adult viewers said the show made them feel more comfortable processing tough topics,’” Wright said.
Additionally, the study reported that “more than half of teens reached out to someone to apologize for how they had treated them, and nearly three-quarters of teens said they tried to be more considerate about how they treated others after watching the show.”
Film Mare Island Studios and Cinelease owner Mark Walter, who’s providing the production facilities, called the criticism “ridiculous,” and said he understands a third season may be announced.
The series has certainly sparked conversation, said Vallejo businessman Buck Kamphausen, whose downtown Vallejo buildings are being used as backdrops for the show.
“It’s brought big attention to problems in schools, and that’s the pros and cons,” he said. “It’s struck a nerve.”
Contact Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824.
Group calls for Bay Area-backdropped ‘13 Reasons Why’ show to be cancelled