The Bright Sessions Wiki

Sam's patient file from the desk of Dr. Bright.

Samantha "Sam" Eleanor Barnes[1] is an orphaned atypical who suffers from extreme anxiety. Her powers manifest by taking her to a different time period when she has an anxiety attack.


Sam’s ability first appeared when she was nine years old and found herself in ancient Greece. For the first few years, Sam’s time-traveling trips were short and either uneventful or pleasant. Though she didn’t understand her ability and kept it from her parents, it didn’t seem to cause her much distress.

At sixteen, Sam went out for a driving lesson with both her parents in the car. Her anxiety and the stress of driving caused Sam to vanish from the car, leading to a car crash which killed both of her parents.

Sam blames herself for her parent’s deaths and spent the next nine years isolating herself, for fear of her trips hurting anyone else. During this period Sam spent most of her time online, picking up considerable hacking skills but growing increasingly depressed and lonely. When she began therapy with Dr. Bright, Sam had no friends except for her pet cat, Darwin.

After the crash, Sam’s trips became more frequent, longer, and more traumatic, beginning with a two-week experience in the trenches of World War 1. By the end of the trip, every soldier sharing the trench with her had been killed.

After beginning therapy with Dr. Bright, Sam learned some skills to help manage her anxiety. Her sessions also led her to meet and become close to a number of people, ending nearly a decade of loneliness. While she continues to work to avoid unintended trips, Sam now also uses her ability to learn about atypical throughout history.

Episode 1[]

Sam meets Dr. Bright for the first time when she comes in for her 2 o'clock appointment. She is very anxious and rambles through most of the conversation. When asked why she came in, she replies that she is doing well and does not really have a need for therapy because she isn't suicidal or depressed. Instead, her reasoning is that she saw Dr. Bright's advertisement in the newspaper and was "intrigued" by the listing Therapy For the Strange and Unusual. She goes on to mention that ever since she was young, she's had an ability to do something that shouldn't be possible, involuntary time travelling. As she continues to describe her condition, she becomes increasingly panicked, resulting in her disappearing.[2]

Episode 4[]

Sam returns for her second session with Dr. Bright, after leaving prematurely in her first one. She describes some of her past trips, and the pair come to the conclusion that Sam's trips seem to be set off by anxiety attacks. She is advised against visiting a psychiatrist by Dr. Bright, who instead prescribes Sam weekly therapy sessions with her.[3]


Time travel. Class D-9/10. She cannot be seen by or interact with people from the time she travels to. However, she can interact with other time travellers if they are in the same period.

She cannot be hurt while on a trip, as most objects pass straight through her, with water being the one exception. Her metabolism seems to slow down on these trips, as Sam says she only needs to sleep every few days, and can spend days on a trip before beginning to feel hungry.

Joan theorizes that when Sam time travels she is entering a separate dimension where she can view the past and time moves slower, this may be why she has a slower metabolism and doesn't need to sleep as much.


Mark Bryant[]

She describes Mark as "charming, funny, and smart." She mentions that he also knows the feeling of being trapped in the past. In Episode 22, it has been shown that she likes him in a romantic way. The two have been seriously dating but, in the newest episode, it is unclear if their relationship will continue or not.

Chloe Turner[]

They seem to have an interesting friendship. Chloe wanted to meet Sam even before the suggestion from Dr. Bright. They seem to be close, as Chloe has suggested for her to come over for a girl's night a few times and they appear to meet together to work with Frank.


  • Sam doesn't like Scotch.
  • The whole idea for The Bright Sessions started with the conceptualization of Sam[4][5].
  • Sam's religion is "vaguely Christian" [6]
  • Sam's Myers-Briggs personality type is ISFJ. [7]
  • Sam is tied with Joan as the shortest character in the main cast. [8]