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Furious Flight of the Conchords fans have hurled abuse at the show's producers for restricting a sneak peek at the second series to US audiences.

A preview of the premiere episode was on comedy website Funny or Die this week ahead of the show's return to American screens in January.

The marketing ploy was heavily promoted, with a clock counting down the seconds until the clip went live. But international fans were only told they would not be able to view the clip just minutes before the countdown reached zero.

Hundreds of irate viewers - many from New Zealand - posted comments on the website claiming it was "mad" and "arrogant" the preview couldn't be seen in the country the show's stars hail from.

One wrote: "A brother Kiwi should be able to see these idiots in action. Corporate shite."

Another said: "What is up with the whole US-only thing! People around the world love these guys! Especially down here in NZ where they are from!!"

Another said it was unfair to lure people to the website with the promise of a preview, only to reveal the truth minutes before it was due to screen: "I'm not mad that we can't watch it ... I'm mad that we weren't made aware of this until 2am my time... until the moment it was released on the website."

The website, managed by Hollywood star Will Ferrell, of Old School and Anchorman fame, posted a response from the show's producers, US pay-per-view channel HBO, on Friday. They explained the preview could only be played in the US for legal and contractual reasons.

"Trust us, we all want the whole world to be able to watch Flight of the Conchords. To be honest, legally we only have rights to stream the video in the US, but there will be other opportunities internationally to watch it.

"International fans please check your local providers for additional details regarding when the episode will be broadcast in your area."

Expectations for the second series were raised after the show's creators, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, picked up a Grammy award for best comedy album in February.

The first series is a huge hit on DVD around the world and co-star Rhys Darby is in demand, starring with Jim Carrey in Yes Man, due for release in New Zealand on January 1.

But Clement, McKenzie and Darby have all spoken of concerns about whether the second series would be as good as the first.

A Prime spokeswoman says the second series will screen here early in the new year.