As a child, Jared Turner pored over Norse god comics, occasionally imagining what it would be like to have mythical powers. Several decades later, the good-looking actor got the opportunity to find out. Sort of.

Although Turner had read about the gods Thor and Odin, he was unfamiliar with Hodor, the god of winter and darkness, until he won the role of human incarnation Ty in TV3's offbeat local dramedy The Almighty Johnsons. As he discovered, the mythological deity's domain did not make for idyllic working conditions.

"We worked in a fridge for the ice sculpting scene [in episode three]," says Turner, best known for playing sexy schoolteacher Ben on Go Girls. "There was a huge physical challenge there trying to look like I was pumped full of warmth in this minus-10-degree fridge."

In one early scene, Ty runs down a dark street with two of his brothers, who are exhaling frosty breath in the coldness of night, yet the wintery god's breath does not react to the chilly air (kudos to the special-effects department). In another, a glass freezes in his grasp. But when View meets Turner, there's nothing but warmth emanating from this would-be god.

The genial actor confirms that Ty, a lovelorn, misery-filled refrigeration repairman, is very much his polar opposite.

"Ty is a pessimist and I'm an optimist," Turner says, his eyes twinkling. "He hardly ever smiles; I'm a guy who's always beaming, so trying to play that down and keep this almost stoic persona was not easy for me."

Possessing a touch of the Pollyanna has been helpful in the roller-coaster world of acting. "You get knocked back quite a lot and you have to be persistent and an optimist."

"You're trying to keep faith that it will happen because you have those spells of not working for a couple of months, and by the end of that you're pulling your hair out going, Am I ever going to work again?' "

Thankfully it is happening for Turner, and he's loving it. The Almighty Johnsons is his first leading TV role and filming was more like a series of joyous social gatherings than a job.

"Everyone was always happy and smiling and loving working on the show. I can honestly say it's the most enjoyable experience I've had in my working career." There's that optimism again .

As the series gains momentum, Turner is being recognised more. The success of Go Girls is also partly responsible, but so is his role fronting The Energy Spot, a long-running series of TV commercials offering power-saving advice from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

"One of the first things I did when I got home from the first shoot was check my hot water cylinder," he recalls. "I did all the checks around the house and went, Oh my gosh, I'm wasting so much money'."

You can understand his concern; Turner has three children, aged 14, 9 and 4, with his partner. Being a parent, he says, is his easiest and most rewarding role.

"What I love most about my job is the time I have off," he says. "My little girl's not at school yet, so I just pull her out of daycare and we hang out."

Turner's onscreen superpowers may be the responsibility of special-effects wizards, but in the eyes of his 4-year-old daughter, who runs excitedly to the TV when the commercials screen, he's practically super-human.

"I'm quite happy being a normal mortal, I think," comments Turner.

"There's that line that with great power comes great responsibility', and I think I've got enough responsibility looking after my kids. I'm quite happy just to do my bit."

* The Almighty Johnsons plays on TV3, Monday at 9.30pm.