(September 8, 2018)
Genre: Radio Broadcast, Supernatural, Paranormal, alternate timelines
Possible Triggers: None
Safe For Work: Yes
You’re listening to: The Bridge.
General: In an alternate 2016, a lonely lighthouse called Watchtower 10 looms over the largely abandoned Transcontinental Bridge. It’s the world’s largest bridge, spanning the entire Atlantic and connecting the Americas and Europe. The watchtowers broadcast regular traffic reports to the non-existent drivers on the bridge, but of course, it would be boring if that’s all they did, wouldn’t it?
The traffic reports from Watchtower 10 are given by Henrietta “Etta” Perault, who hates traffic reports and likes adding a little spice to her broadcasts by telling stories about the Bridge and its past (much to the annoyance of her supervisor). Etta is a quick-witted, sarcastic, hates it when anyone messes with her broadcasting equipment, and (appropriately, as the narrator of a supernatural podcast) has a dark past she’s kept hidden from her fellow crew members.
This colorful cast includes Robert Kaplan the supervisor, a man with seemingly no sense of humor who lost a bet and ended up at Watchtower 10; Kate Burnham, the resident travel agent with a secret of her own; and Bertie Renard, the groundskeeper who just wants to keep an eye on his flowers and make sure everything and everyone is safe. Like Etta, they all have their secrets, though some are more willing to talk than others.
Not on the payroll of Watchtower 10 (do they even get paid? Who’s running all this?) is a Lovecraftian monster housed within the lighthouse, fondly named Bob. Creatures like Bob are kept within all the watchtowers, as well as prowling the Atlantic Ocean (and sometimes taking abandoned cars off the bridge; Etta enjoys narrating those moments).
There’s a lot going on to keep you interested. The history of the Bridge is given away in bits and pieces, usually by Etta when she thinks she can get away with it. But the rest of the crew members have their own points of view to contribute as well.
Aside from the monsters dwelling within each watchtower and in the Atlantic Ocean, the Bridge itself has seen its fair share of non-monster related paranormal horror – including a ride at the famous Aqua Land which collapsed and killed dozens of people for no reason anyone can tell, and a hotel where a private party was being hosted one night, and every single adult within the walls of the hotel disappeared. Every year since, an item from one of the lost people appears for their loved ones to come and collect.
The crew members of Watchtower 10 are an absolute joy. They love each other, they hate each other, but no matter what happens, they’re all in this crazy adventure together (for better or worse). Even Robert, stuck-up and unlikable as he is, is portrayed in a way where you can’t really hate him. He’s boring and no fun, for sure, but his attitude and dry wit are delightful, and sometimes he even tells a joke – sort of. Bertie is a beacon of innocent light, and you have to wonder how such a pure being ended up in the middle of such a messed up situation. Kate is flirtatious, confident, and not afraid to take charge when the others are just being stupid.
The banter between the crew members is always fun, and never fails to add something more to the story. The first episode is a perfect example of that – Bertie and Etta are talking, and keep interrupting each other with more sarcastic banter before anyone can actually saywhat’s down on Submare 3 and why Bertie had to go check on it. Roger, in one exasperated line, can reveal more about Etta than we learn in most episodes – she’s flighty, she needs her job description read to her at least once a week, she hates giving the traffic reports and doing her actual job, she loves telling stories to whatever audience might be listening (she’s pretty sure it’s mostly just Frank, a cranky man who calls in daily to inform Etta that she got yet another fact about the Bridge wrong). Kate’s playful exchanges with the rest of the crew show she’s not allergic to a little fun, but she knows when it’s time to stop fooling around and get serious.
In the first episode, we learn so much about these characters, and we’re still left with a million questions – what’s on Submare 3? Are these stories Etta is telling really true, or are we dealing with a serious case of unreliable narrator? How did these four polar opposite people end up working together? What brought any of them to Watchtower 10? What’s the story behind this Aqua Land? What happened at the Transcontinental Hotel at Checkpoint 8? Why is the Bridge – which was supposed to be the crowning achievement of humanity – abandoned and left in disrepair while these characters watch it crumble? Are the other watchtowers still in use? Does the crew of Watchtower 10 even know the answer to that?
There are points where the show gets a little too wrapped up in its own mystery, and if you check out for a minute you’ll come back lost and confused (although you may have already been feeling that way), but the writing is mostly on-point, the characters are well voiced and a delight, and there’s still plenty of mysteries to unravel and keep you listening for a long time.
Beginner Friendly?: Some experience with podcasts of similar genres might be helpful for keeping up with the fast pace. Definitely start at the beginning, or you’ll be lost from the get-go.
LGBTQIA Friendly?: Yes
Pay to Listen?: No, but like most they accept donations
Length: 10-20 minutes.
Overall: The Bridge is certainly an enjoyable listen. The short episodes leave you wanting more, and continuing to hit the next episode until you realize you’ve hit the end of the season (new episodes are starting in October, however, never fear). The show gives away just enough to give you context, but keeps enough hidden so that you’ll keep listening, wanting to unravel the secrets of Etta, the crew, the Bridge, and all the lore and mysteries which surround it.