The Brightest Sessions
A few months ago, we stumbled upon The Bright Sessions, a personal interest story that followed the therapy sessions of some super-powered young adults. Initially, it seemed like an anthology of slightly related stories, but it quickly escalated into a full plot filled with government conspiracy, tension and drama between the cast.
During our initial audio review, we had widely different opinions on the show, but all agreed that we’d recommend it to someone.
The Bright Sessions is an indie audio drama, so you expect a certain level of less-than-stellar acting, and maybe some mishandled plot points here or there. But those things weren’t what bothered me during our listen.
In fact, the one major thing that I disliked about the show had to be all of the hype surrounding it. Yes, I know; what a weird thing to dislike. But the show is often touted as one of the best modern audio dramas, and even AK talked it up prior to me listening to it. And honestly, because of that, I was a bit disappointed.
And that’s not to say it was a bad show by any means. Despite some common flaws in audio drama creation (including the ‘recording everything to explain why we’re hearing it’ trope,) The Bright Sessions is a good show that grows on you along the journey.
The show follows Doctor Bright, a therapist for the strange and unusual, as she introduces and tries to help a colorful cast with superpowers ranging from accidental time-travel (sort of) to mind reading. The premise of the show also seems to take a turn after the first season.
What begins as a one-on-one character study turns into a real bond between friends. Doctor Bright grows a little too close to her patients, and the patients themselves start to find comfort in knowing that they’re not the only one out there. Pair that with a government facility called the AM, which secretly holds and experiments on super powered people in society (and is currently holding Doctor Bright’s own brother hostage), and you’ve got a premise primed for an exciting story.
And with a cast of quirky characters, all of which have some unique baggage or all-too-true human characteristic that is refreshing to see from first-time creators, it’s quite easy to find a character or two with whom you can identify. (Sadly for me, mine was Damien.)
Sadly, the exposition of the plot does take a while to get off the ground. While my co-reviewers were interested in the story from the get-go, I found myself not truly intrigued until the episodes in the later twenties. So take that with a grain of salt when starting out. If you’re looking for an action-packed superhero show, this may not be the one for you. (Although we do recommend Bubble or Wolverine: The Long Night for those interested.)
But, if you’re looking for a different take on superheroes – one that humanizes and truly examines the struggle of living like that (plus a little action and tension here or there), then you’ve come to the right place.
And as a side note, it’s truly amazing what Lauren Shippen’s done here – She’s created a completely original take on a tired genre and valiantly succeeded, with over 50 episodes, prequels and spin offs. Despite my personal feelings for the show itself, her accomplishments are an indie audio drama creators dream, and it’s great to see her success.
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