Kiwis are making the best of a bad situation during the alert level 4 lockdown, returning in droves to hilariously review the daily COVID-19 media briefings on IMDb.
As in previous lockdowns, viewers of the Government press conferences - mostly fronted by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield - have shared their thoughts on 'Season 3' on the online film and television website.
The return of the regular updates has been dubbed a "must-watch" and "household classic", with many reviewers noting the third series "dropped out of the blue", making "unmissable TV".
Several mentions went to COVID-19 Response Minister's "spread their legs" gaffe, while others focused on the Delta variant of the virus as the "new terrifying villain".
Here are some of the best reviews on the '1pm Daily Update' IMDb page:
'An unexpectedly raunchy twist'
This new season dropped out of the blue and shocked us all. The core duo Ardern and Boomfield consistently deliver their usual quality performance, but recent episodes have taken a rather raunchy twist, with series regular Hipkins encouraging viewers to "spread their legs in public".
All in all, an absolute must watch.
'Give Dr Ashley the Oscar he deserves!'
While today's episode was all about genomic sequencing and locating the potential index case, the real star of the show was Doctor Ashley (McDreamy) who uttered the emotionally powerful line of "Remember, the smallest and largest question you can ask someone is... 'Are you OK?'"
He got me right in the feels. A true legend and the hero we all need. I think he is the superstar of the show, frankly.
However, it's early days yet with the season. Not sure if there's going to be any breakout performances from anyone else, but right at the moment, Doctor Ashley is the man.
I hope he's getting enough sleep and rest. It's such a demanding role. Hey, McDreamy, you doing OK bro?
'A household classic'
This series immediately became a household classic. Everyone is raving about it, with snippets of the show making the radio and even the news.
Despite being a serious drama, there is occasional humour that the actors ace (eg "spread your legs"). Would have been a 10/10, other than there seems to be a budget cut since the location is mostly based in Auckland - last season there was a bit more variety.
But there's so much keeping me on the edge of my seat; will we see more locations? Is my school/uni going to be featured? Will Tova or Jessica ask first? All I can say is I'm invested.
'Much better than the Australian show'
I started tuning in to avoid the utter chaos and demise of the horrible NSW show which is killing off about 2-5 citizens a day (all together too radical for my taste).
Season 3, like the previous seasons is well organised with experts and statistics that really tell it like it is. I find the episode format and themes a bit predictable, they always seem to talk about the same things, like they should shake it up a bit and talk about something else next season.
Season three - Delta the villain
Season three is proving to be as riveting as season one. If not more so. Chris Hipkins appears again and this time really showing he has the ability to steal the limelight. Who will ever forget 'spread your legs not the virus'. Like "who shot Jr?" it will become a saying we all nod along with in mutual understanding for years to come. The comedic take has lightened the mood even if new villain Delta is proving to be terrifying.
'The latest season really raises the stakes!'
With the original series drawing to a natural conclusion, there was always a chance, due to the overwhelming popularity of the original, that the series would return. Beehive, the studio behind this indie darling, kept the series' production closely guarded and under wraps, much like other series produced in this plucky nation of 5 million.
As usual, the latest season started with a hiss and a roar, gripping viewers in an incredibly taut thriller (no spoilers). The technology employed in the series has improved, and is incorporated widely into the show, though in the lull between seasons, it looks like many viewers haven't been following developments.
I've also really enjoyed the increased comedic banter between stars Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Minister Chris Hipkins, who has been elevated from a guest star in earlier seasons to one of the main cast. Their sometimes saucy and amusing dialogue adds some real hilarity to what could have been a grim season. The entire series actually benefits from a lighter tone all round.
While it's still early days, the Delta plot is engaging and really raises the stakes. It's unclear where the story will lead at this point, but one thing is for sure, it's obviously building to what will no doubt be an explosive finale!
'Surprise drop? Chilling'
The season three surprise drop really did take us all out! I thought it'd be coming out in at least a few years and season two kinda felt like it wrapped up all the plotlines but alas, it's here.
However, I feel like some of these episodes just don't come out quick enough! I'm currently waiting on the cliffhanger to see if they'll get out of level 4 and it's so hard to wait! This 'Delta variant' is keeping me on the edge of my SEAT.
I'm LIVING for the slow burn romance of Jacinda and Ashley. 10/10!
'Season three dropped unexpectedly and it's a banger'
Despite little fanfare or promos, season three has dropped and it's on steroids.
Whilst Seasons one and two took time to find its rhythm and constantly changing main characters, Season three is focusing on plot. So far it's working and it's unmissable TV.
Jacinda is maintaining her stunning performance, fine-tuned over the last two seasons, whilst Chris Hipkins is showcasing his (albeit schoolboy) humour.
The stereotypical baddies (played by Jude and David) really need some fleshing out. Too one-dimensional and it would be great to see them pre-empt rather than the "after the fact" criticisms that are not reflective of the stunning writing team.
Some equality between the fractions would make this element of the show more realistic and compelling, but I'm just not seeing it.
Still, it's early days. Will season three end just as suddenly as it started, or will it outstay its welcome? I guess we'll have to stay tuned to find out.
'Back and better than ever'
As NZ's number one viewing returns to our screens for a gripping season three, plot twists and new subplots abound. Jacinda and Ashley again deliver their respective "Kia ora koutou" with notable gravitas, turning then to the drama at hand. No one quite knows how this season will unfold... but our confidence in the dynamic duo remains unshaken. A must watch.
'Can the team of 5 million beat COVID-19 once again?'
The enemy is back and stronger than ever. While a small island population enjoyed their peace, COVID-19 used the rest of the world as a boot camp and came back more contagious than ever.
Delta is the word that gives Kiwis daily goosebumps. Can the team of 5 million beat the virus once again? Or will it follow the rest of the world in a battle with no end in sight?