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Archive for August 9th, 2021

13 Reasons Why was a television series developed by Netflix and released on their platform in 2017.  It is based on the 2007 novel of the same name (stylized as TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY) written by Jay Asher.  The show was well written and directed, and featured excellent performances from the young cast.   The thing that set it apart from other similar shows was the brilliant concept: [spoiler alert] high school student Hannah Baker takes her own life leaving behind a set of cassette tapes detailing thirteen reasons why she killed herself. [end of spoiler] Each episode focuses on different cassette, each tape one of the thirteen reasons (or more specifically thirteen people) of the title.  The show was very good, and extremely popular, for the first season at least!  This was its undoing! What should have been “one and done” was strung out for a further three convoluted seasons, the last of which was truly bad.  Am I just bitter, that The OA, a stunning TV show with a planned five season arc got cancelled after season two? Probably!

Cruel Summer is a original idea created by Bert V. Royal.  Each of ten episodes focuses on the same day over the course of three consecutive years: 1993, 1994 and 1995 from the point of view of two girls: Kate Wallis a popular girl who goes missing, and Jeanette Turner an awkward girl desperate to be popular. The point of view alternates between the two girls each episode.  Skipping backwards and forwards between the three times is what makes it really work. drip-feeding the viewer.  Riddled with clichés and contrivances and a few plot holes, it isn’t up to the same standard as 13 Reasons, but is still an enjoyable show.  Making the most of the 90’s setting, the music choices are a little obvious but good.  The show is currently streaming on Amazon Prime in the UK having premiered on Freeform in the US in April.  The show had already been renewed for a second season before making its way to the UK. 

There many reasons a second season could be a problem, not least that the story started running out of steam towards the end, with final twist that was telegraphed from early on.  Is there really that much more story to tell? The structure of the show is fundamental to its appeal, but to repeat it for a second season wouldn’t be as effective.  The same was true of Quantico that ran for three seasons from 2015.  The first season had a similar high concept, the second repeated it to reasonable effect if you could get past the contrivance.  The thirst and final season became a villain of the week procedural shortly before its demise.  Had 13 Reasons Why stopped after one season, leaving audiences wanting more it would be forever remembered as a great show, now it is likely to be remembered for its terrible final season.  Cruel Summer doesn’t have as far to fall as 13 Reasons, but it would be better to leave audiences wanting more, rather than the inevitable disappointment of a weaker second season.  This does beg the question, will I watch season two?  Of course I will!

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