The Bridge is an modern fantasy/horror story created by Alex Brown and Rebecca Mahoney. In an alternate 2016, there’s a bridge that crosses the Atlantic Ocean – The Transcontinental Bridge. Specifically, this story centres around Watchtower 10, one of the many watchtowers that run along the length of the bridge, originally built to keep the vehicles and people crossing the ocean safe.
At Watchtower 10, Etta’s job is to broadcast traffic reports. She’s not alone, there’s Etta’s supervisor Roger, Bertie the groundskeeper, and Kate the Bridge Travel Agent. And there are also old recordings from the bridge’s Welcome Brigade, which they can’t seem to get rid of. One of these recordings opens the season, with a message promoting the Transcontinental Hotel, and Aqua Land, the bridge’s water park. But the thing is, even though Etta’s job is to give traffic reports on the radio, there’s no traffic. Absolutely nothing at all. So, to pass the time, she tells stories.
Oh, and there’s also the secret that Watchtower 10 harbours, something everyone working there knows about, and tries to hide from the outside world.
Back in the day, there were many attractions along the bridge, all incredibly luxurious and decadent. From the Transcontinental Hotel with its three Michelin star restaurant, and ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows; to the cinema where you could have a three-course meal while you watched a film. Aqua Land had an underground rollercoaster, and The Gold Dubloon was a five star resort and casino, which would put Las Vegas’ attractions to shame. But by the time we arrive on the bridge, the attractions and landmarks have all been abandoned and left to decay, and nobody is driving along the bridge itself. And there are a lot of stories about what happened on the bridge over the years.
Etta loves telling stories about the bridge’s past, both on-air, and to her colleagues at meal times. There’s a wonderful contrast between Etta’s mundane job of doing traffic reports – when there isn’t any traffic to report – and all the lore and mysterious events that happened on the bridge. The fact that she has to carry on as usual – and she’s always reminded of this if she neglects the traffic reports! – only adds to the eeriness of the story. She has to at least give the outward appearance of carrying on as normal, even when nobody’s travelled along the bridge for a long time.
Pieces of the puzzle start coming together over the course of the season, as more stories are shared, and not only by Etta. We rely on the characters to tell us what happened to the bridge over the years, and for various reasons, they’re not always ready or willing to tell us the whole story. Or, they might talk about a particular event, series of events, or period of time, but are reluctant to tell the whole truth about their involvement, or leave some loose ends when concluding their story. So, the picture remains incomplete. This sense of being unable or unwilling to provide the full picture of what exactly happened for the bridge to completely fall out of popularity only adds to the mystery and sinister atmosphere.
During the first season, there was also a series of mini episodes, which I really enjoyed. These dive deeper into the bridge’s lore, the characters’ past. There are more details about Aqua Land, and the Transcontinental Hotel, which we hear about earlier in the season; and there are also stories about other bridge landmarks like the community where people could live permanently, and a mansion that was moved onto the bridge from the mainland. There’s also a story about a film that was made on the bridge. These mini episodes also provide some clues as to how the characters ended up on the bridge, or what their connection is to it – often more by what is left unsaid, than what they actually say.
As the season progresses, the team at Watchtower 10 have more to contend with, as they actually see a car travelling along the bridge – a car that then crashes into the ocean. There are two survivors, but who are they, and what do they want from the bridge?
The Bridge has been on hiatus for a couple of years, but in August 2020, an update was posted on their feed, announcing that the show would be returning in the autumn (and also that writer Rebecca Mahoney’s debut novel was to be released in October!). I’m very excited for the return of the show, and for the conclusion of its first season.
- Website: http://www.thebridgepod.com/
- Twitter: @bridge_podcast
- Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thebridgepodcast