Mythic Quest is more than just a workplace comedy. Georgia Humphreys meets some of the cast and creators to find out why.

At a time when the world is slowly returning to normal, it feels exciting and hopeful to watch a TV show where office life is back in full swing.

And that's exactly what actor Rob McElhenney wanted to achieve with the second series of Mythic Quest.

There was previously a special episode of the Apple TV+ original released last May, which was filmed entirely on an iPhone, and written, filmed, and edited in quarantine.

But when making the new episodes last summer, McElhenney and his co-creators wanted to pull focus away from the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We were hoping that people would want to put this behind them in their television shows and movies, and popular culture - that we can look towards a more optimistic future," continues the 44-year-old star, also known for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

"So, that was really exciting for us to at least pretend, while we were in the middle of a pandemic, that things would return to normal."

Philadelphia-born McElhenney plays Ian, a member of the team behind the (fictional) biggest multiplayer video game of all time, called - you've guessed it - Mythic Quest.

Played online, the multi-player, role-playing game is similar to World of Warcraft, and the show follows Ian and his various co-workers' battles, friendships, romances, and personal challenges, as (almost everyone) returns to work in the office, with the quarantine finally over.

The biggest change in the new episodes is that Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) has a new role as co-creative director - leading to lots of struggles between her and Ian regarding the direction of the game's new expansion, following the success of the last expansion pack, called Raven's Banquet.

Discussing what viewers can expect from series two, Australian star Nicdao, 29, teases: "We do a bunch of episodes that are really unexpected and surprising and for me personally, as an actor, it was really fun receiving these scripts every week and being like, 'Wait, so now we're doing a fantasy battle? What is this show?!'"

Michigan-born Megan Ganz, 36, is one of the show's creators and executive producers and likes that we get to see a woman in charge now that Poppy is a boss.

"She used to be under Ian, she used to be able to complain about him all the time, and convince herself that she would do things differently if she was the boss, and this year we're going to see if she can put her money where her mouth is. And that's a really fun thing to play - seeing somebody's dreams come true and how that doesn't always go the way you think it will."

While one of the most entertaining elements of Mythic Quest is the volatile relationship between Poppy and Ian, chuckling McElhenney admits that challenges arise on set because of it.

"I find it difficult to be cruel to Charlotte... Even though I know it's not Charlotte."

"But you play it so well!" quips Nicdao, who's also known for the Aussie TV show, A gURLs wURLd

"There was a scene that we shot this season where Poppy and Ian are very cruel to each other, and I remember that day, as soon as they said 'cut' after every take, we were both like, 'I'm so sorry! I still like you!'" she adds, laughing.

Another returning character is CW Longbottom, who is a seasoned storyteller for the video game.

The actor behind this role is Oscar-winner F Murray Abraham, 81, who says he felt incredibly hopeful returning to work after shooting remotely, because he really missed the company.

"But it's also a chance to make people laugh - and I can't tell you how much I love that," continues the Pittsburgh native, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the drama film Amadeus.

"I love jokes, for one thing, and this is an opportunity to gather people together through their laughter, and it's wonderful that they can laugh at this old guy.

"They care for all the characters but they care a lot about C.W in particular. I think they admire him as much as think he's kind of silly. I love him."

One reason why the show has struck a chord with viewers is perhaps because of the dynamics Abraham is touching on; the fact that, as like with many work teams, the Mythic Quest team are like one big dysfunctional family; even though they're different generations, they (mostly) work well together.

Also, like Ganz points out, as a show, they've attempted to "wear our heart on our sleeves".

"We're not afraid of sometimes doing things that aren't necessarily to make you laugh, but maybe just reflect back to you the way you're feeling or the way you have felt in certain situations before - and I think people really responded to that, especially during quarantine," continues the writer, who's also worked on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Community and Modern Family.

"When we made our quarantine episode, we got a lot of feedback of people saying, 'I didn't even really know how I was feeling until I saw the characters go through it, and then it made me realise, 'Yeah, I've been feeling that'. So, we really endeavour to do that."

This is something McElhenney echoes passionately when asked about the show's appeal.

"We wanted to explore all aspects of what it is to be a human," he suggests, matter-of-factly.

"So, yes, we're making a comedy, and first and foremost we want to entertain, secondly we want to make people laugh. But we think it's important that, if you're going to present fully fleshed-out human beings, you see all sides of them, and what it is to experience the difficulty of navigating interpersonal relationships in an office - people you're stuck together with.

"Sometimes that can get dramatic and dark, and we wanted to go to those places."

Mythic Quest returns to Apple TV+ on Friday.