8 Shows and Movies to Watch When You’ve Finished ’13 Reasons Why’

Chris Tilly
Movies TV
Movies TV

New Netflix series 13 Reasons Why is pretty much the most talked about show in the world right now. It’s the tale of a young girl who, before taking her own life, sends a box of tapes to a classmate explaining why. It’s powerful and, at times, harrowing television.

But if you’ve finished 13 Reasons Why and find yourself in the mood for more thought-provoking teen drama, we recommend the following shows and movies. Including a few that are also currently streaming on Netflix.

TV SHOWS

My So-Called Life (1994-1995)

Being a teenager is hard, and few TV shows captured the pain of those formative years as well as My So-Called Life in the mid-1990s. Claire Danes played Angela Chase, a 15-year-old trying to figure out who she is while dealing with the kind of real-life issues that teen dramas had rarely dealt with up to that point. Jared Leto played her bad-boy love interest Jordan Catalano, though thanks to the show being cancelled after just 19 episodes, their rollercoaster romance was cut frustratingly short.

Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)

Currently Streaming on Netflix

Freaks and Geeks was created by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Ghostbusters) and produced by Judd Apatow (every other comedy of the last 10 years) the show was a humorous take on life in a Michigan school in 1980, but one that nevertheless dealt with serious teenage problems, most notably peer pressure and bullying. Linda Carddellini and John Francis Daley played the central brother and sister trying to navigate life at William McKinley High, while the supporting cast included James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel. It’s considered one of TV’s greatest shows despite there only being 18 episodes – one less than My So-Called Life – but those episodes have lived on long after its impromptu cancellation.

Skins (2007-2013)

Streaming on Netflix

Set in Bristol, England, Skins was a teenage drama that – like the previous two shows on our list – refused to shy away from tough subjects, the show shining a light on issues that actually mattered to young people. So as well as the drink, the sex and the drugs, there were episodes that revolved around mental illness, bullying, gender issues, sexual abuse and the like. The show kept things fresh by changing up its cast every couple of years, and helped to launch the careers of Nicholas Hoult, Jack O’Connell, Dev Patel and Kaya Scodelario.

MOVIES

Pump Up the Volume (1990)

In this searing drama, Christian Slater plays Mark Hunter, an angry High School student who starts a pirate radio station in a basement so he can speak his mind to the world. The show becomes hugely popular amongst his fellow students, though when one listener takes their own life, Mark is blamed. But Hunter uses the opportunity to speak out against suicide, encouraging his listeners to unite and face up to their problems together. The film is an inspiring rallying cry; one that – like 13 Reasons Why – has a kick-ass 1980s soundtrack, featuring the likes of Primal Scream, The Pixies, and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

The Virgin Suicides (1999)

A beautiful, lyrical ode to isolation and repression, The Virgin Suicides was an acclaimed 1993 novel that Sofia Coppola turned into an equally well-received film. One that starred the likes of Kristen Dunst, Josh Hartnett, Kathleen Turner, and James Woods. Set in Michigan in the mid-1970s, the story revolves around the five Lisbon sisters, and the neighbourhood boys who love them. But when one of the girls inexplicably takes her own life, their overprotective parents all but confine the girls to their house, with devastating consequences that make for an ending that’s as ambiguous as it is distressing.

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

Currently Streaming on Netflix

Based on the 2003 novel by Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a deeply disturbing account of the events leading up to a High School massacre perpetrated by a teenage boy. The story is told from the point-of-view of the boy’s mother, Eva, brilliantly played by Tilda Swinton. As she struggles to come to terms with the horror of her son’s crimes, we witness a potted history of their relationship, from birth right up to his incarceration. But is this what really happened, or simply her remembrances, coloured by fear and guilt? It’s a film that asks tough questions about grief, mental health, and nature vs nurture, but offers no easy answers.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Stephen Chbosky wrote the novel Perks of Being a Wallflower in 1999, and then wrote and directed the film version in 2012; a beautiful adaptation that tackles a difficult subject. Logan Lerman stars as Charlie, a teenager trying re-assimilate into High School following years of clinical depression and hospitalisation. He struggles at first, but as friendship blossoms with Sam (Emma Watson) and her half-brother Patrick (Ezra Miller) he starts to embrace life. Though the repressed demons from Charlie’s past are never far from his mind, making for a movie that’s frequently tough to watch.

Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)

Currently Streaming on Netflix

Set in San Francisco in 1978, Diary of a Teenage Girl follows the trials and tribulations of 15-year-old Minnie (a terrific turn from Bel Powley), an aspiring artist who is desperate to lose her virginity. Minnie also keeps an audio diary, one that enables the audience to hear her thoughts, and eventually plays into the storyline, a little like 13 Reasons. Similarly, while the film features funny moments, it isn’t simply a light-hearted coming-of-age tale, but rather a morally complex one, dealing with sex and drugs and the pressures that society heaps on young women.

Chris Tilly
FANDOM Managing Editor in the UK. At this point my life is a combination of 1980s horror movies, Crystal Palace football matches, and episodes of I'm Alan Partridge. The first series. When he was in the travel tavern. Not the one after.
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