Logline: A rag-tag ensemble from across the globe meet up in the online universe of EVE, to become the people they want to be, to experience risk and adventure – and make something of themselves. Meanwhile, in the real-world, they each live very different existences to those: lives with day-to-day challenges which, consciously or otherwise, the game release them from.
Premise: Set in the near future, in-game sci-fi meets real-world dystopian drama; with thematic opportunities for social commentary. Stylistically presented in much the same way as THE EXPANSE or FIREFLY when in-game. Everything here revolves around minerals, trade, scraping an independent living in the vastness of space and all that has to throw at you.
In the real-world, far more serious background events take place… with a grounded, subdued, tone for these real-world interactions that they could easily be missed. The more background themes include racism, terrorism, capitalism: all the isms. These are set amongst more prominent small-scale struggles; finances, career, love, lack of direction. Real-world locations could – and should – genuinely be anywhere. That said, a small core of the characters do, coincidentally, live in the same city. A city with a real underbelly, and population enough for someone to live there in anonymity; perhaps London?
Though each episode can pick a character from the ensemble to highlight and run with – the entire concept being a vehicle for character-driven work – Season One deals primarily with a pre-formed team pulling together in an attempt to complete a spectacular revenge heist. A heist against the massive Cole-North Corporation. Subsequent seasons can each go on to explore other aspects, such as the group splintering, setting up new base of operations, switching sides on a key aspect, etc. as the overall story evolves. Like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER / ANGEL.
But Season One addresses the heist Cole-North Corp, introduces the premise, and the key players.
Financing the in-game protagonist clan is North. He’s totally devoted to the game, and as the series progresses, it transpires his life outside has atrophied over recent years. He’s lost everything to the game. He’s addicted. His only focus is trying to settle this score with the ex-clan-mates he feels elected to screw him over years before; the other founders of Cole-North. All this traces back to an event long ago where North was left stranded in space, nearly annihilated. From this his comrades went on to great success with Cole-North Corp; practically developing it into a government, run with a cold, iron, fist. The irony he’s unaware of is that the event in question was simply an AFK (away from keyboard) misunderstanding. As the series progresses, he becomes entirely ruthless, ultimately selfish, with his revenge so close in sight. All thoughts turn to payback, with no regard to his current team-mates who have helped get him claw back to even have the opportunity.
Next up is Kieran, the true leader and heart of the group. He’s charming, confident, fair. The team would do anything for him, and Kester in particular has grown close to him. Psyche! In
real-world, it’s Ciaran. He’s a she, so to speak. Though so confident, brave, inspiring to others she plays the game as male because the hard time female gamers get online. The series is named after her in-game ship; Lowflyer
Towards the end of the series – when the last preparatory sortie on their enemy goes awry, and North considers everyone expendable – Kieran sacrifices himself to save the others, experiencing permadeath in the process. However, due to lessons learned real-world throughout the series – and a time of soul-searching when the Kieran character dies – she returns in the nick of time to save the day: Lowflyer 2.0, Ciaran – now proudly playing as a female.
The rest of the team include…
Matt – IT dork in both worlds. His connection to the game frequently fails, leaving him in-game as unresponsive at crucial moments.
Kester – the team’s Security expert. Introduced in the opening of episode one, blowing the deep cover she’d been under at Cole-North, on their battleship Juno.
She’s very glad to be back with her clan-mates, and has missed them. She’s used to really drive home the sacrifice Kieran makes. In the real-world she lives not far from Ciaran, and they have some friendly chance encounters, unaware of each other’s in-game personas, of course. Ultimately, North’s actions lead her to quit the game at the end of the series.
Jay-Gee – At times reckless, puerile. Other times, thoughtful and elegant. This allegory for bipolar disorder comes to light at the series conclusion when it’s revealed they are brother and sister, sharing an account. With natural changes in their real-world circumstances, as well as the in-game loot from the heist, they go on to each have their own characters, and set up something akin to capo regimes.
The Cole-North organisation is painted as a massive, wealthy, and evil enterprise. This makes the plotting against them, the sneak attacks, the scope and planning of the heist so justifiable to the audience. Over there in Cole-North, the audience build up a rapport with one single ensign initially assigned to the Juno
Esther – She’s a likeable, obliging, twenty-something. In-game she wants to loyally work her way up the ranks. In the other world, she’s an almost radical advocate for animal rights and veganism; often forced to work against her strict ethics in order to cave two cents to rub together. Her character is a dichotomy. She’s Matt’s ex, though only the viewers are ever made aware of this; the opposing sides in the game battles unaware who the faceless other parties are.
Cole – co-founder of Cole-North back in the day. Given the way his Corporation has grown, its size as well as direction, along with North’s bitter focus, he’s portrayed as a morally rotten, real-world loser. As is happens, he’s a very pleasant family-man, and a veterinarian. To him it’s
all a very fun, engaging, game. He – if any of the characters – is actually interested in making a difference back in the real-world.
This is ultimately the reveal, and the core arc, for season one. It’s the story on which the other plots, observations, and episodes are carried along with. Also, spaceships! Lasers! Rocks!