Jack and Q, played by Calum Gittins and Mia Pistorius

1. The premise is entertaining and intriguing

A group of gamers wake up in the bodies of their online characters. It’s a World-of-Warcraft-like world which they know well (at least, most of them do), but living in it is entirely different to playing the game. It’s an unusual but compelling concept!

2. It’s every cosplay fan’s dream

Dressing up, fighting in battles, falling into the good side or the bad side? Whether you’re a fan of gaming, cosplay, Larp or just watching Lord of the Rings, you will probably have imagined how you would survive in your favourite fantasy world. AFK provides an answer – and it seems fairly accurate to us.

3. Ethics become involved

Where usually the gamers would be happy killing people to make it to the top of the virtual world, now death seems very real and final. Having to actually kill and watch people die makes the gamers take their actions far more seriously. 

4. The characters are more than they seem

Because they’re gamers trapped in their characters bodies, some are gender-swapped, while others are too young to really understand what’s going on. 

5. So it asks interesting questions about gender

Steven is an alpha-male type trapped in the body of a warrior princess. Dealing with the misogynistic attitudes of the other players makes him question his own behaviour in the real world. 

JJ Fong as Steven

6. Their real lives start to creep into the game

Slowly you learn more and more about the characters, like how old they are and why they play the game. It adds another layer to their gaming personas and explains why they want to either go home to loved ones or stay in the fantasy world of the game.

7. There’s heroes and villains

Like any game, there are good guys and bad guys so it’s easy to get invested in your favourite characters. Vanya is also a classic villain that you’ll love to hate.

8. It’s made in NZ

The series was created by Kiwi Peter Haynes, who originally raised funds to make it through a Kickstarter. It’s filmed in New Zealand and stars a bunch of great Kiwi talent including Friday Night Bites’ JJ Fong, who plays Steven, and Spartacus Blood and Sand actress Mia Pistorius, who plays leader Q.

9. Season 2 is almost here!

A new season is almost upon us, but never fear! If you haven’t watched season 1, it is all available to catch up now. With each episode around 10 minutes long, you can be all caught up by the time the new season premieres on Thursday 18 October.

Stream season 1 right here!