Sam Brooks

Sam Brooks is a playwright, journalist and critic. Email him on sam@thespinoff.co.nz

Television
Jan 24, 2020

Your hate only makes Gwyneth Paltrow stronger

She's an Oscar-winning actress, a widely hated celebrity and founder of one of the most successful wellness brands in the world. And all your jade egg jokes make no difference at all.

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Television
Jan 23, 2020

Space satire Avenue 5 is brilliant, even as it meanders off course

Avenue 5, the new show from The Thick of It and Veep genius Armando Iannucci, veers off-course after an ambitious launch, writes Sam Brooks

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TVNZ
Jan 21, 2020

Here's how long it will take to watch some of the most bingeable shows

Sam Brooks covers how long it’ll take to binge some of the most bingeable shows – and how to prepare to for it.

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Television
Jan 17, 2020

Review: Netflix’s Sex Education keeps it up for a charming second season

Is there a more empathetic show on television than the British teen comedy-drama Sex Education? Unlikely, writes Sam Brooks.

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Music
Jan 16, 2020

Review: FOMO 2020 was more than just The Lizzo Show

Sam Brooks went to the FOMO 2020 festival in Auckland, and was relieved to find it was more than just the final time that Lizzo will ever perform at 7:20pm.

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Television
Jan 10, 2020

What TV looked like in the year 2000

In the year 2000 there was no Netflix or Amazon Prime or On Demand; the 'too much TV' era was still years in the future. So what did we watch instead?

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Television
Jan 7, 2020

Here’s all the great TV you’ll be watching in 2020

Another year, another avalanche of television to keep track of. Sam Brooks rounds up all the shows you'll want to watch this year – new, returning, and local.

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Television
Jan 5, 2020

A definitive list of all the dumb shit that happened on Glee

Summer reissue: Ten years on from its first episode, Sam Brooks revisits all the wild, dumb, and plain terrible things that happened on Glee.

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Music
Jan 4, 2020

Now that’s what we called the monster hits of 2009

Sam Brooks steps back in time to 2009, the year of Now! That's What I Call Music 31. What did his younger self think of those songs – and do they still hold up today?

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Gaming
Jan 1, 2020

The original 151 Pokémon ranked from worst to best

Sam Brooks digs into his childhood to present his magnum opus: a ranking of all 151 OG Pokémon.

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Television
Dec 27, 2019

What Netflix movie Falling Inn Love gets right and wrong about New Zealand

With Falling Inn Love, New Zealand gets its very own Netflix romcom – so how accurate is its depiction of small town NZ? Sam Brooks investigates.

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Television
Dec 26, 2019

Review: Netflix’s You returns for an irresistibly pulpy second season

Sam Brooks reviews the second season of You, the surprise Netflix hit of 2018 that made toxic masculinity fun and watchable, and it finally finds the depth to earn that fun.

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Television
Dec 21, 2019

Review: Netflix’s The Witcher isn’t the new Game of Thrones – and thank god for that

Sam Brooks reviews Netflix's The Witcher, a wildly fun adaptation of the Polish fantasy novels of the same name.

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Media
Dec 19, 2019

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker from a lifelong fan

Culture editor Sam Brooks saw a midnight screening of the new Star Wars film last night. These are his fast reckons.

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Society
Dec 19, 2019

How not to be a dick this holiday season

Holidays are stressful, and it can be real easy to lash out. Here's a list of easy things to do to make sure you don't come off like a Grinch this festive season.

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Media
Dec 11, 2019

What New Zealand’s most searched Google terms say about us in 2019

Google just released what New Zealanders looked for the most in 2019, and it says a lot about us. Not all of it is good.

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New Zealand Music
Dec 10, 2019

Cecily on spending New Year’s alone and her surprise side gig

Sam Brooks interviews Cecily, the local singer behind surprise sleeper hit 'Thinking 'Bout Me'.

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Television
Dec 10, 2019

Review: Netflix’s Marriage Story wrenches an authentic heart out of an ugly divorce

Sam Brooks reviews Marriage Story, the latest Netflix movie that tackles that universally horrible experience: Divorce.

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Trade Me Gift Guides
Dec 10, 2019

Gadgets and gizmos aplenty: The Christmas gift guide for the person who has everything

What the hell are you meant to give the person who has everything for Christmas? Don't stress, we've got you covered.

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Music
Dec 8, 2019

Frozen 2 songs, ranked by how likely your kids are to constantly sing them in your face

Sam Brooks ranks the songs of Frozen 2 based on how likely it is your kid will scream them in your face.

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Television
Dec 6, 2019

All the wildly stupid moments in Netflix’s A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby

It's that time of year again when, for the third year running, a new A Christmas Prince movie is released. Sam Brooks watched the latest instalment last night, and is still recovering.

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Gaming
Dec 3, 2019

Review: Indie game Gris builds glorious beauty out of simple foundations

Sam Brooks reviews Gris, the stunning, newly updated game from Devolver Digital that gamifies and makes beautiful that one universal process: grief.

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Television
Nov 28, 2019

Baking bad: Netflix’s Nailed It! puts enthusiasm above talent, and it works

Sam Brooks reviews the latest season of Nailed It!, the cooking show that celebrates enthusiasm over talent or edibility.

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Gaming
Nov 21, 2019

Review: Pokemon Sword and Shield finally reach the next stage of evolution

Sam Brooks reviews the latest generation of the Pokémon games which finally hits the big-ish screen.

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Television
Nov 19, 2019

Cheat Sheet: Everything you need to know about Disney+

Sam Brooks gives you the lowdown on Disney+, the exhaustive streaming service launching today.

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Television
Nov 19, 2019

Review: The Mandalorian propels Star Wars to a galaxy far, far, not so far away

Can the much-hyped Disney+ show The Mandalorian serve the Star Wars diehards at the same time as the casual viewer?

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