Back to School

Happy Autumn! It’s that time of year where so many children and young people go back to school or university – if they’re not already back. I had the idea of doing an appropriately themed list for the start of the month, highlighting some shows either set at a school/university, or featuring high school or university students.


Electromancy is a modern fantasy by Nathan Comstock, one of the team behind Solutions to Problems. In this world, mages are rare, and their use of magic is strictly controlled by the government. Jenna is a lightning mage, and both she and her father have been hiding her powers her entire life – until she’s accidentally discovered. When we meet them in episode one, she’s being taken far away from her home to study at the Royal Institute for the Study of Sorcery. She’s thrown into a completely new life, and before she’s even had time to settle into her new surroundings, she’s challenged to a duel.

Great & Terrible

Great & Terrible is one of A.R. Olivieri’s microfiction podcasts, and in this story, the protagonist/narrator is a high school student. Penelope Jane is a junior when we meet her in season one, and she’s not a fan of school. In the show’s first few opening episodes, we follow her as she gets ready for another school day, and ends up getting detention for being disruptive. But soon, she’ll have a lot more to deal with than the average teenager, as she gains immortality. In order to keep on living, she must kill someone every full moon, and she has to figure out a way of doing that without getting caught – and decide who deserves to die.

Me & AU

Me & AU is a completed queer coming of age romance, created by Andrea Klassen. Me & AU isn’t set on a school or university campus, but one of the main characters is a university student. The story is set during the summer before Kate’s final year of university, the last summer before everyone changes. Everyone seems to be thinking about the future more than her, and she doesn’t have concrete plans for her post-university life yet. Kate is spending her summer working in a coffee shop, back in her hometown, and there’s definitely the sense that her circumstances don’t allow her to be a ‘proper’, fully independent adult. However, the main focus of the story is on the new TV show Kate gets super into, and a friend she makes thanks to the show’s fandom, who lives on the other side of the country.

The Beacon

The Beacon is a modern fantasy podcast by Claudia Elvidge, and in the show’s first episode, we meet Bee (who’s also played by Elvidge). Bee is the nickname she’s chosen to give herself to keep her anonymity, and she’s a second-year university student… who discovers that she has superpowers. During an Intro to Entomology class (everyone at her university has to take at least one natural world science class in order to graduate), when she was supposed to be collecting insects in the forest, she’s attacked by a monster. It looks like a wolf-lizard hybrid, and when she defends herself she discovers that she can make fire appear out of thin air! She decides to make a podcast – The Beacon – to try and find others like her, and it turns out that she’s not the only student on campus who has a superpower!

The Bright Sessions

Created by Lauren Shippen, much of the main The Bright Sessions series focuses on the lives of the atypical adolescents and 20-something patients of therapist Dr Bright. One of these patients is Caleb, an empath, who is a high school student throughout the main series. We see him trying to navigate school with his abilities, and coming to terms with his sexuality, as he develops feelings for Adam, a student in his English class. Spin-off series The College Tapes follows Caleb and Adam, as they’re both in their final year at different universities. The few years that have passed have changed many things for the two, but there’s no escaping their past.

The Mountain’s Heart

The Mountain’s Heart is one of MJ Bailey’s many wonderful projects, and in this story, our narrator is a college student. Felisa has made a deal with one of her professors, in order to be able to visit her family in the Philippines with her parents. To make up for her absence from class, she agrees to document the visit, and each episode is a recording she’s made as part of this assignment. This is the first time she’s seen her extended family since an accident she sustained a few years prior, and even though Felisa does really want to go on the trip and see her family, she knows it’s going to be difficult for many reasons.

The Path Down

The Path Down is a ten-part series by Leslie Gideon, which spans Vanessa’s first year of college. This isn’t going to be your average college experience, however, as Vanessa is a telepath. The story revolves around Vanessa’s struggles to keep her ability under control, and the effect it can have on her friendships. Things can get…difficult when she unintentionally reads her friends’ thoughts. She also comes from a wealthy family, which creates tensions with her roommate Lucero, who has a part time job to fund their studies. As the show’s title suggests, Dante’s Inferno has an important role in the story, and we often see Vanessa studying and discussing the text during her first semester.

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