NC’s favorite Netflix show of 2018 is the one Wake schools warned you not to watch

Dylan Minnette in the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”
Dylan Minnette in the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” Beth Dubber/Netflix

The original Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” a drama about teen suicide, was the streaming site’s most popular program in North Carolina in 2018.

That’s according to a report from the company highspeedinternet.com, which compiled a list of 40 Netflix shows and then used Google Trends to rank each of them across every state in 2018. Also popular across the nation: “Stranger Things” (created and written by Durham’s Duffer Brothers), “Orange is the New Black,” “House of Cards” and the Marvel series “Daredevil.”

When the second season of “13 Reasons Why” premiered on Netflix in May, the Wake County School system sent a letter to parents warning them about the controversial drama, which tells the story of a teenager named Hannah who dies by suicide and leaves behind a chronicle of reasons why various people contributed to her decision to take her life.

As The News & Observer reported in May, the letter from Wake schools repeated a warning from The National Association of School Psychologists, which recommends that vulnerable young people — for example, those struggling with depression, previous suicidal behavior or trauma — not watch the first season. If they do watch, they should not watch alone, the letter stated.

Both seasons of “13 Reasons Why” are rated TV-MA, which means the show is meant for mature audiences and may be unsuitable for children under 17.

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The most popular Netflix shows by state in 2018. highspeedinternet.com

The series is based on the 2007 book by Jay Asher, “Thirteen Reasons Why.” There have been efforts to ban the book in several school systems — not Wake County — since it was published. The News & Observer ran a guide for parents and other viewers when Season 1 of “13 Reasons Why” landed in 2017.

“Kids are watching it, whether or not they should,” Nicole Heilbron, co-chief of the Division of Child and Family Mental Health & Developmental Neuroscience at Duke University, told The N&O at the time. Heilbron said that it’s good for teenagers to talk about suicide and that parents and school leaders shouldn’t avoid the topic.

The Wake school system has a suicide prevention program called Signs of Suicide in place in middle and high schools. Their staff, they say, is also trained to work daily to identify and assist students who show signs of depression, self-harm, thoughts of suicide or mental-health concerns.

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Other popular Netflix shows

Surrounding North Carolina, tastes vary. Virginia prefers “Daredevil,” Tennessee likes “House of Cards” and South Carolina is into “The End of the F***ing World.”

“13 Reasons Why” was the top show in seven states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio and Rhode Island.

“The End of the F***ing World” was the second most popular show in the nation, locking up six states.

You can read the full list at highspeedinternet.com.

Brooke Cain is a North Carolina native who has worked at The News & Observer for more than 20 years. She writes about TV and local media for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and also covers local retail.