Sam Brooks

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

Gaming
Oct 19, 2018

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is the best in the series - but it's not really an Assassin's Creed game

It's time for the annual Assassin's Creed game, but 2018's version doesn't feel very much like an Assassin's Creed at all. So why does it work so well? Sam Brooks reviews.

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Television
Oct 19, 2018

Review: Sorry For Your Loss is a heartfelt glossary of grief

The new drama from Facebook Watch (yes, that's a thing) is the small screen's most delicately rendered and thoughtful tackling of grief since Six Feet Under.

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Television
Oct 16, 2018

"I'm the Mary Berry": Great Kiwi Bake-Off hosts Hayley Sproull and Madeleine Sami

It's been a beloved cultural phenemenon for a few years now, but the Bake-Off finally makes it way to our shores. We chat to the two hosts of the Great Kiwi Bake-Off ahead of its premiere tonight.

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Society
Oct 15, 2018

And the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2018 is…

Last year it was the ubiquitous seagull! But who has nabbed the title of the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2018? Sam Brooks has the result.

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Society
Oct 12, 2018

The Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2018

RNZ is set to announce the Bird of the Year for 2018 on Monday morning. But what about our less-loved birds? We present: Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2018.

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Gaming
Oct 11, 2018

Dragon Quest XI is a hundred hours of the warmest, gentlest therapy

Sam Brooks has played over one hundred hours of Dragon Quest - and found it to be an act of self-care, not grinding torture. This is his story.

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Television
Oct 9, 2018

Wigs, wigs, wigs: The pre-Golden Age brilliance of Alias

Alias is mostly remembered as the show that launched Jennifer Garner's career. But it deserves more kudos for being a genuinely groundbreaking show, writes Sam Brooks.

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Gaming
Oct 2, 2018

Review: Life is Strange 2 is as effective – and unsubtle – as ever

Life is Strange 2 repeats the sins of its predecessor – for good and for bad. Sam Brooks reviews.

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Television
Sep 28, 2018

Pilot Week: The Verdict

Three's Pilot Week is done – but how good were the pilots, and which ones should get commissioned? Sam Brooks reviews.

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Television
Sep 26, 2018

Review: Anika Moa Unleashed returns for a successful second lap

Anika Moa Unleashed had a triumphant first season, and showcased the singer-personality as one of our best interviewers, but what does the second season do with her?

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Gaming
Sep 25, 2018

Review: Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a return to happy wartime form

It's taken three games to get there – but Valkyria Chronicles 4 finally recaptures the addictive and bizarrely positive magic of the first game.

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Television
Sep 23, 2018

Comedy Pilot Week is upon us. Here’s what you need to know

Three's Comedy Pilot Week starts this Sunday night on Three - but what is this newfangled thing?

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Gaming
Sep 20, 2018

What is the PlayStation Classic and will it connect me to my misspent youth?

Last night, Sony announced the PlayStation Classic - a console that looks like a PlayStation One and plays those games too. Is that all it is, though?

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Television
Sep 17, 2018

Minimum is an essential bridge between bleak statistics and human reality

61% of people working on the minimum wage in New Zealand are women. RNZ's new documentary series gives a voice - and more importantly, a face - to these women.

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Gaming
Sep 11, 2018

Shadow of the Tomb Raider limps the trilogy to a close

This generation's Tomb Raider trilogy comes to a close - and it's with a limp, not a wild leap into the future. Sam Brooks reviews. The Tomb Raider series is the Maria Sharapova of …

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Music
Sep 8, 2018

How did P!nk get so huge?

If you expected one pop singer to have five sold-out shows at Spark Arena in 2018, would you have expected it to be P!nk?

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Gaming
Sep 5, 2018

Take notes or get left for dead: Spider-Man is a landmark triumph for gaming

Spider-Man is an unqualified triumph of a game - but the best thing about it is also the most surprising. Sam Brooks reviews.

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Television
Sep 4, 2018

The best moments of The Simpsons, as chosen by the cast (of the NZ show)

It's one of the the longest-running television shows of all time – but what do people remember about it? The cast of the post-apocalyptic madcap theatre show based on The Simpsons weighs in.

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Television
Aug 30, 2018

Alibi is a quietly groundbreaking triumph for New Zealand television

Plus6Four Productions' non-linear who-dun-it web-series Alibi is something entirely new for New Zealand television - and it largely nails the landing.

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Media
Aug 26, 2018

Why Rose Matafeo winning best show at the Edinburgh Fringe is such a huge deal

Last night Rose Matafeo won the Edinburgh Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of the most prestigious awards for comedians anywhere.

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Music
Aug 24, 2018

Baby, you’ll be famous: Lady Gaga’s The Fame, ten years on

Impossibly, Lady GaGa's debut album The Fame came out ten years ago this week. Sam Brooks looks back at the album that launched an icon.

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Television
Aug 23, 2018

Hey Porkchop! The most iconic moments from Drag Race’s early years

They're the lost seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, but now they're back for New Zealand's viewing pleasure. Sam Brooks rounds up the early-episode moments that continue to live on in infamy.

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Television
Aug 19, 2018

It’s just quite funny, that’s all: In defence of Family Guy

Family Guy has been on our airwaves for almost 20 years, and mostly critically reviled. Sam Brooks stands up for the perennial punching bag.

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Music
Aug 17, 2018

Aretha Franklin was more than just the Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin has died. Sam Brooks remembers the Queen.

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Music
Aug 16, 2018

The 60 best Madonna songs in honour of her 60th birthday

Madonna turns sixty today, so Sam Brooks rounds up the best sixty Madonna songs to celebrate this with her.

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Television
Aug 15, 2018

RuPaul’s Drag Race is now on TVNZ! Here’s what you need to know

Been living under a proverbial rock for the past ten years and have never heard of RuPaul's Drag Race? Don't worry, Sam Brooks has you covered.

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