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A Listener Reviews: The Bright Sessions

To read the review in its original format, click the “Read More” link. Otherwise, enjoy this updated style!

The Bright Sessions

Episodes:  56 full episodes, plus minisodes

 Length: Generally around 20-40 minutes

I’ve listened to… The whole thing!

The Premise: A psychologist provides services to people with special abilities, helping them manage their unique skills in healthy ways. However, it soon becomes clear that there is something important in Dr. Bright’s past, something her patients may be able to help her with.

My Review: I kind of credit The Bright Sessions (and Ars Paradoxica) for leading me into the wonderful world of audiodrama. They weren’t the first of the genre I had listened to, but they showed me that I could expect so much more than what I had been getting from some I listened to originally. So, Dr. Bright and all of her friends have a very special place in my podcast-listenin’ heart.

What first really caught my attention was the incorporation of therapy into sessions. I’m a psychologist, and I am used to really, REALLY bad depictions of therapy in various media. The Bright Sessions had some missteps, but for a lot of it, finally depicted therapy in a rather reasonable way. I mean, you have to add in the fantasy element, but for one of a very few times, I heard the therapist actually talk like a therapist. There are major ethical issues that come up later, but they are at least addressed, even if there aren’t maybe the consequences that would follow in the real world.

The characters are what make this podcast what it is. Each one is so distinct, with different strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and personalities. In addition, each person has their good and bad sides. They are multidimensional and flawed in ways that serve to deepen the story. There were times you knew a character was making a mistake, knew it would cause problems, but also understood precisely why they would choose to act in such a way. Its strength truly is in its ability to make realistic characters in such a fantastic scenario.

With such a relatively large cast, and with episodes focusing primarily on one perspective at a time, I think the podcast is notable in its ability to make each episode interesting in its own right. Yes, there were times I really wanted them to switch back to another character so I could hear the conclusion or next step of their arc, but by the end of the episode, I was wishing we didn’t have to leave the new piece of the puzzle. Each episode added something more and kept me waiting for the next episode.

In the end, I felt the ending was a bit anticlimactic, but with the promise of something else coming in this universe, I suspect this was just the pause before another exciting adventure.  The ending wrapped most everything up fairly well, but it did not seem to answer some of the larger questions that had been looming in the final season. And so while satisfactory, it still felt incomplete or insufficient for the larger story arcs that had been developing. I am hopeful that this “end” is more of the end of a chapter, rather than the end of a story. You can be certain that, should the creators venture again into this universe, I will be eagerly listening on day one.

Find them here: The Bright Sessions

Happy Kansas Day! Yeah, beyond that, I’ve got nothing. Here’s a podcast review.

The Bright Sessions

Episodes:  56 full episodes, plus minisodes

 Length: Generally around 20-40 minutes

How I Found It: Recommended by a friend.

I’ve listened to… The whole thing!

The Premise: A psychologist provides services to people with special abilities, helping them manage their unique skills in healthy ways. However, it soon becomes clear that there is something important in Dr. Bright’s past, something her patients may be able to help her with.

The Good:  It’s just great.  Dr. Bright is a relatable, interesting character. In fact, I’d say all of the characters are dynamic and fascinating. Their strengths and weaknesses (personally, as well as those of their abilities) are so human and stray far from your standard clichés. I was impressed by their ability to weave in questions of morality through the characters, treading thoughtfully through a lot of grey areas that make you think.  In terms of plot, it unfolds gradually in a way that served to draw me in. One of the most successful things for me was the method of exploring the world through individual perspectives at a time (via therapy sessions), steadily drawing them closer together until the whole thing came together. Each person’s account moved things a little further and shined a bit more light on everything. There are a handful of one-off character episodes, and they serve to flesh out the world and stay very interesting, even if it’s not the central story.  The writing gives you room to figure things out without trying to spell out too much, a fine balance a lot of podcasts struggle with in a pure audio medium. Also, as a psychologist, I thought the way mental health issues were handled was really well done. While it’s not 100% true-to-life when it comes to therapy (and mostly drops the therapy side towards the end), it is miles above what most media manages.

The Bad:  It’s over, which made me sad. The ending felt a bit anticlimactic after everything, but comments from the writers/creators suggest some of the story will be picked up in a new podcast. So it may be the end of a chapter, not the end of the story. On a handful of occasions, I felt character motivations were a little flimsy or inconsistent, but on the whole this was a minor issue.

My Rating:  Top of the Queue
This was my go-to thing to listen to on the way home from work. The therapy sessions are a bit…unconventional, and they make some errors despite having a psychologist reviewing it. But I really enjoyed the structure and found myself super interested in what was happening with the characters!

You should listen if… you have an interest in mental health and supernatural things, plus want to get really drawn in by a cast of intriguing characters.


Want to know what this is? Why I’m doing it? What my arbitrary rating system means? Read this post here for all the not-so-juicy details.

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