Can the virtual world leave a footprint on our tangible plane of existence? Science-fiction films (The Matrix, Ready Player One), books (Neuromancer, Snow Crash), and television (Black Mirror, Sword Art Online) have worked overtime to grapple with those macro-level questions. Now that virtual technology is more prominent than ever, the answers seem closer and further away all at once. We know how VR works, but how does it work on us?
A new six-episode UK import, Kiss Me First, will delve into the metaverse to find new answers when it debuts later this month on Netflix. Loosely adapted from Lottie Moggach’s novel of the same name, it’s a series about the power of human connection at a time when actual physical connection has never been less essential.
In this exclusive trailer for the series, we meet Leila (Taboo’s Tallulah Haddon), a struggling 17-year-old who deals with her mother’s death by retreating to Azana, an massive, online gaming experience. Within the pixelated walls of Azana, Leila meets Tess (The Night Manager’s Simona Brown), a cool, collected arbiter of the virtual space. Clinging to the confidence, Leila follows Tess down the winding paths of the game, only to discover secrets about Azana and the real-world beyond her goggles.
Compared favorably to Skins during its UK run, Kiss Me First makes a bold statement about virtual reality through a blend of live-action and computer-graphic animation, which renders Azana as a combo of every sim from the last 10 years. That familiarity works to the show’s advantage; Leila’s world is ours, or could be, depending on our choices. Like any good game.
All six episodes of Kiss Me First arrive to Netflix on June 29.