Comparison between the edited, alternate Netflix version and the uncensored version
The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why is a mix of coming-of-age story, teenage drama and a touch of mystery elements. One of the best (mini-)series in a long time - and I'm going with many opinions - along with perhaps the current no less explosive mini-series about the nuclear reactor disaster at Chernobyl. 13 Reasons Why was a daring venture in its creation, but the result offers great class in all respects. The numerous, explosive and quite cruel themes are approached with the necessary skill and take a critical look at the abysses of the pink US small-town school world. All this is realized with a very depressing atmosphere, fine technical tricks, but above all with an absolutely outstanding, convincing cast. It's hardly surprising that the calls for a continuation came quite quickly. That happened in 2018. Does the chapter, which is closed in itself, need a sequel? Not necessarily. And yet, season 2 also takes up the events of the previous season again and even though the former quality is rarely reached to the same extent, season 2 is also well done and offers a more rounded ending of the character of Hannah Baker. In contrast to the previous season, the second season ends with a real cliffhanger, which will be solved and continued in season 3 that comes out in 2019.
Certainly it was hardly possible to avoid the series due to the press hype before and after the release of the first season. Far away from the achievements in front of and behind the camera, the series was a hotly debated topic due to its depictions of the difficult topics of mobbing, depression, sexual coercion, rape and suicide among so-called moral guardians, pseudo-psychologists and other ... apostles. Terms like "unreasonable", even "dangerous for the viewer" became loud; first studies should even attest to the series' complicity in an increased suicide rate in the US and refer to the so-called "Werther effect". As a first consequence, Netflix decided to phrase its content warnings more clearly and insert additional warnings before the beginning of the episode. A second consequence then applied to the home cinema release, because e.g. in the UK, four episodes of the first season were classified with the BBFC 18 rating, while all other episodes carry a BBFC 15. Season 2 did without suicide scenes bu still featured sexual violence, which of course was also part of many discussions and also led to two of the episodes being slapped with the highest age rating in the UK.
Recently the voices regarding the first season became louder again, because a scientific study apparently again sees a connection between the beginning of the series and a suicide increase among young people in the US. According to this study, in April 2017, the month in which Netflix launched its first season, the suicide rate among American adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17 rose by 30 percent. Netflix doubted the finding at first, but decided to remove Hannah's suicide in the last episode. Currently, only this edited, even slightly alternate version runs on Netflix. The streaming provider commented on the decision as follows:
“We’ve heard from many young people that ’13 Reasons Why’ encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help—often for the first time. As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we’ve been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we’ve decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one.”
Whether this step will also have possible consequences for future home cinema releases is currently unknown.
At a total of 6 deviating scenes consisting of the following changes:
- 1x cut = 4.56 sec.
- 1x zoomed alternative scene = no time difference
- 2x alternate scenes/exclusive material in the uncensored version = a total of 154.88 sec. (= 02:35 min)
- 2x alternate scenes/exclusive material in the shortened/alternate Netflix version = 51.68 sec.
- as well as a different text at the beginning and the modified credits.
The timecodes have been taken from the uncensored version.
The advance warning notice differs slightly in both versions. The shortened/alternate Netflix version is slightly longer here.
Netflix alternate/shortened: 9.92 sec.
Uncensored version: 9.60 sec.
Difference: +0.32 sec.
The two versions differ here:
The uncensored version shows Hanna at the beginning a little earlier as she chooses a long-sleeved T-shirt in the wardrobe, but then stops when she takes it off the hanger. It cuts to the bathtub which is filled with water. Cut to the sink with a pack of razor blades on its edge. Hannah takes out one of the blades, looks at it and drives her finger over it to test the sharpness of the blade. Then she looks into the mirror as the camera slightly approaches her mirror image.
Clay's voiceover explains what she's doing.
Cut to Clay talking to the principal.
Clay says that she got into the tub with all her things, slit herself open and bled to death."
Now follows the scene that's probably the main reason for the censored episode, because Hannah can be seen again, this time lying in the bathtub. At first she stares into the camera, almost absent, then she looks at her arm, takes the blade into her hand and first cuts the artery of her left arm, then that of her right arm. Then she leans back against the wall, breathing heavily, while a trickle of water runs across the floor.
The shortened version shows Hannah at the beginning a few frames later at the wardrobe, but here she is exclusively shown taking the t-shirt off the hanger completely and also taking off her denim jacket. Cut to Hannah in the bathroom as she looks in the mirror. Short voiceover by Clays narrating that she went into the bathroom. She breathes heavily and seems much more on edge.The camera moves substantially closer to her mirror image. Afterwards, the camera cuts directly to Clay talking to the headmaster and both versions run parallel again.
Alternate / Shortened Netflix Version: 34.56 sec.
Uncensored version: 136.28 sec.
Difference: 101.72 sec.
The shot when Hannah's mother Olivia enters the bathroom and finds her daughter lying lifelessly in the bathtub has been slightly altered and strongly zoomed in the censored version.
No time difference
Filmed from the door, Olivia tries to get her daughter out of the bathtub, calling for her husband a little earlier. This shot has been completely shortened in the censored version and has an enormous jumpcut, as the shot suddenly changes from one frame to the other.
Hannah's father Andy joins the scene but is then asked by his wife to call the emergency and runs out again. This shot is slightly different in both versions. The censored version has also been extremely zoomed in, the uncensored version may even run a bit longer at the end, showing slightly more of Olivia shouting towards her husband to get an ambulance.
Alternate / Shortened Netflix Version: 17.12 sec.
Uncensored version: 18.60 sec.
Difference: 1.48 sec.
Measured from the moment the first credit rolls, the two versions differ from each other: The uncensored version shows the credits in one go, and at the end there are various production studio logos, e.g. "Paramount Television" and finally the "Netflix" logo. The edited version, on the other hand, stops at Brian Yorkey's credit entry and inserts a reference to the series website that features info on where to get help in emergencies. Then, the credits continue until the executing producer Tom Carthy is named and end here abruptly with the "Netflix" logo insertion.
Alternate / Shortened Netflix Version: 29.20 sec.
Uncensored version: 116.72 sec.
Difference: 87.52 sec.