School's out for 13 Reasons Why

13 REASONS WHY

Netflix

TWO TOO MANY: US teen drama 13 Reasons Why continues to drift away from what initially made it original in its fourth and final season.

TWO TOO MANY: US teen drama 13 Reasons Why continues to drift away from what initially made it original in its fourth and final season.

The question that US teen drama 13 Reasons Why always had to grapple with was; how do you sustain a TV series for multiple seasons when the main character and emotional anchor point died before the opening credits?

Executive producer Brian Yorkey did an impressive job during seasons one and two through flashback story-telling and heartfelt performances from Perth-bred actress Katherine Langford (Hannah Baker) and Dylan Minnette (Clay Jensen).

The series tackled suicide, sexual abuse, toxic masculinity, addiction and depression in graphic detail which made edgey '80s teen drama Degrassi High look like Sesame Street.

But by the time 13 Reasons Why reached season three last year it had completely run out of steam. The emotional heart of the show - Hannah and Clay's Shakespearan tragedy of a relationship - was supplanted for a ludicrous who-done-it murder mystery.

What made 13 Reasons Why something special was gone. It was just another teen melodrama.

Finally we arrive at the fourth and final season. Our group of traumatised teens are in their senior year at Liberty High.

Each is struggling differently with the guilt that they were responsible for the murder of rapist and football jock Bryce (Justin Prentice). None more so than Clay, who is being counselled by his therapist Gary Sinise (Forrest Grump).

Clay is tortured by panic attacks as he believes the police and fellow students at Liberty High are closing in on his dirty secret.

There's plenty of topical social commentary, especially relating to racial profiling from police, rape culture and the ongoing impact of trauma.

But it's only a minor improvement on the mess of season three. Season four is another bloated attempt to keep a series alive that collapsed under the weight of expectation two years ago.

REFRESHING: Monica Raymund plays the troubled Jackie Quiones in Hightown.

REFRESHING: Monica Raymund plays the troubled Jackie Quiones in Hightown.

HIGHTOWN

Stan

At first glance the Jerry Bruckheimer co-executive produced series, Hightown, resembles any other slick crime drama from "Mr Blockbuster". The sleazy strip club scenes and the snippy cop dialogue could have been lifted from any episode of CSI: Miami.

Where Hightown excels is with Hispanic lead character Jackie Quiones played by Monica Raymund. Jackie is a fisheries agent in Cape Cod, whose work is secondary to her hard-partying lifestyle of booze, drugs and hook-ups.

After stumbling across the body of a murdered woman, who was the informant in a drug investigation, Jackie crashes her car and winds up in rehab. While drying out Jackie becomes obsessed with solving the murder.

As crime dramas go there's enough gore, violence and sex to keep Hightown's narrative following, but it's Jackie's struggles which keep you invested. Within the same scene she's hilarious, spiteful, angry and pathetic. However, it does force you to suspend belief that a person with such destructive substance issues - that includes openly snorting cocaine in a street carnival - could maintain a job of authority.

JEFFREY EPSTEIN: FILTHY RICH

Netflix

BRAVE: Sisters Annie and Marie Farmer were victims of Jeffrey Epstein.

BRAVE: Sisters Annie and Marie Farmer were victims of Jeffrey Epstein.

Since the death of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein last year there has been endless intrigue into the man who counted Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew as friends.

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich attempts to unpack the 66-year-old's life and crimes in four episodes. Some of the US legal jargon will be tiresome for Australian viewers and the constant non-linear plot jumps are disorientating.

However, producers have rightly placed Epstein's victims at the series' heart. Many of their testimonies are soul-destroying, particularly when Marie Farmer and Chauntae Davies express guilt at introducing their sisters to Epstein. There are ample jaw-dropping moments. The illustration of the pyramid structure Epstein used to recruit and molest underage girls is frightening.

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich fills in the blanks from news reports about his sordid life and will leave you fuming about the depth of corruption that allowed the serial sex offender to prosper.