Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Bright Sessions: Season 1

The Bright Sessions is a speculative fiction podcast that focuses on Dr. Bright, a therapist who put an ad in the paper offering therapy for the strange and unusual. Although a vague description, she helps numerous people with fantastic abilities to better control their power. The narrative is a combination of the sessions with each patient and her verbal notes afterwards.

This season, Dr. Bright meets with three patients: Sam Barnes, Caleb Michaels, and Chloe Turner. Their powers cause problems I haven't seen before even in other science fiction work. Sam has intense anxiety attacks that causes her to travel through time. She isn't able to interact with anyone there and no one can see her. The length of her trips are completely out of her control, ranging anywhere from a day to a month. It could also happen at any time, so she doesn't interact with people a lot, fearing that her secret would be exposed. Her story takes an unexpectedly dark and heartwrenching turn at the end of the season.

Caleb is a high school jock who is an empath, one who feels everyone else's feelings. You can imagine that being stuck in high school surrounding by teenagers with high, hormone infused emotions would affect him. The football team grounds him because they all feel the same thing at the same time, but other's emotions make it hard to differentiate if they are his or not. Some have different colors or feelings attached to them. His main problem is that a classmate named Adam feels sad in his class and that's all Caleb is able to feel. With Dr. Bright's prompting, they become friends. The most fascinating thing about their sessions is how other's emotions make him feel and how they can be different for seemingly no reason. At the end of the season, his story takes a happier, more satisfying turn.

Chloe is an art student in college who thinks she hears angels. It turns out to be the thoughts of those around her, which can be overwhelming in a crowded classroom. Her cheery demeanor sets her apart from the other patients in addition to her skepticism towards Dr. Bright. She isn't always so eager to follow advice or believe that the voices come from actual people instead of angels. I found her the most frustrating because she is so stuck in her way of thinking and rationalizes anything that she wants to do despite reality. Her story is the first where we see that Dr. Bright's motivations may not be as altruistic as she seems and we get a glimpse of Dr. Bright's most challenging and dangerous patient, Damian.

I finished the first season of The Bright Sessions in two days. The episodes are less than a half hour each and the format really draws the audience into the story. This is a fascinating podcast with characters that use different types of language, come from different backgrounds, and have different experiences with their powers. The stories can pack an emotional punch that can deliver warm fuzzies or tears. There are so many things about this world that wasn't covered in 9 episodes and I'm completely intrigued. I highly recommend this podcast and I can't wait to start the next season.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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