Sam Brooks

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

Television
Dec 17, 2018

Your Lightbox guide to television binge-watching over the holidays

It can be hard making small-talk with your loved ones over the holidays – which is exactly why television was invented. Sam Brooks shares the best shows to binge on Lightbox over the silly season, no matter your demographic.

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Television
Dec 13, 2018

House of Drag power rankings: The all-white rap challenge

House of Drag breaks out of the Drag Race mould with an all rap-challenge, with mixed results.

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Beverage
Dec 13, 2018

The Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar: December 13

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, open the door to reveal a Spinoff writer’s short, sizzling commentary on a weighty subject. Our arbitrary and strictly enforced word limit: 365. Today: Sam Brooks on why cocktail snobbery is for losers.

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Society
Dec 12, 2018

Shortland Street The Musical: A post-mortem

On Monday, it was announced that ATC’s Shortland Street: The Musical would be cancelling its planned 2019 tour. Sam Brooks analyses why the show might’ve fallen short of its ambitions – and what it says about the industry.

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Gaming
Dec 11, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a future-facing nostalgia playground

The latest entry in the Smash Bros. series doesn't just cash in on nostalgia, it builds on it. Sam Brooks reviews Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

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Television
Dec 7, 2018

Who plays who in Law and Order True Crime: The Menéndez Murders

It was the *other* double murder that defined the nineties – the one that wasn't OJ-related. Coming to Lightbox today is its TV dramatisation: Law and Order True Crime: The Menéndez Murders. But who are all these people?

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Television
Dec 6, 2018

House of Drag power rankings: Let me see y’all one two step

It's taken five episodes - but we've finally gotten to a choreography challenge. Sam Brooks power ranks the fifth episode of House of Drag. 

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Gaming
Dec 4, 2018

The gaming gift guide for non-gamers this Christmas

You have to buy a gift for someone, and the one thing you know they're into is video games. But what the hell are you meant to buy them without looking like a fool?

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Television
Dec 3, 2018

Sex, scalpels and shit: The scuzziest things that happened on Ryan Murphy’s Nip/Tuck

Before American Horror Story, before Glee, before Pose, Ryan Murphy was television's biggest peddler of schlock. The biggest heap of it? Nip/Tuck, all available on TVNZ on Demand.

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Food
Dec 1, 2018

The Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar: December 1

Today: Sam Brooks with a hot tip for a hot meal on Christmas Day.

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Television
Nov 29, 2018

House of Drag, episode four recap: A shock exit leaves us shook

It's our first shock elimination - and one that genuinely leaves the show worse off. Sam Brooks power-ranks episode four of House of Drag.

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Basement Theatre
Nov 29, 2018

A strap-on covered in peanut butter: An oral history of the Basement Christmas Show

The Basement Theatre Christmas Show is celebrating its tenth year as the most fun you can have in December.

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Television
Nov 29, 2018

Mike McRoberts, Matilda Rice, and a lot of dead fish: What’s coming to Mediaworks 2019

Mediaworks launched their 2019 slate today. Sam Brooks has the lowdown on what you should be watching (and voting) for.

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Gaming
Nov 28, 2018

The Spinoff investigates… the Hawke’s Bay mansion in Hitman 2

Hitman 2 has a storyline set in a New Zealand beachfront mansion. So how accurately does Hitman 2 capture Hawke's Bay?

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Television
Nov 22, 2018

House of Drag power rankings: Finding your heels on the catwalk

It's costume chaos week on House of Drag – but who surfs the waves and who gets washed ashore? Sam Brooks power ranks episode three of House of Drag.

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Television
Nov 20, 2018

My Brilliant Friend is handsome television – but is that enough?

It's a story as old as time: a great book makes for a perfectly fine television series. Sam Brooks reviews My Brilliant Friend.

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Gaming
Nov 19, 2018

Spyro’s Reignited Trilogy revives a long dead corpse with beautiful result

Following in the strong, deep footsteps of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy comes another remaster of a 90s classic. Sam Brooks reviews Spyro: The Reignited Trilogy.

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Television
Nov 16, 2018

House of Drag wobbles in the man-sized heels of Drag Race

New Zealand has its own drag reality show now, House of Drag – but how does it fare under the mighty shadow of RuPaul's Drag Race?

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Lightbox
Nov 14, 2018

The best cult TV classics to stream on Lightbox right now

Inarguably the best sports drama of all time, Friday Night Lights, dropped in its entirety on Lightbox last week. Sam Brooks on why you should watch it – and the other cult classics you might not know are on the service.

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Gaming
Nov 12, 2018

The Playstation Classic is the easiest way to get your nostalgic-gaming fix

It's twenty of the games of your youth in one package – but is the Playstation Classic worth the price tag? Sam Brooks had a swing at the new-old console.

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Food
Nov 12, 2018

The Spinoff’s official Tim Tam power rankings

Six flavours, six packets of biscuit, one power-ranking. Sam Brooks risks his waistline for the cake-biscuit known as the Tim Tam.

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Television
Nov 12, 2018

The Little Drummer Girl is Le Carre, but cool

What do you get when you mix a South Korean auteur, a French-sounding British spy author and a ridiculous attractive cast? A genuine must-see.

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Lightbox
Nov 9, 2018

What is Scandi-drama and how do I get into it?

You've heard of them. All your cool friends and your coolest aunt watches them – but what the hell are these blonde dramas with subtitles? Sam Brooks is here to school you on Scandi-noir.

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Lightbox
Nov 5, 2018

A tale of survival: I watched 42 episodes of Outlander in a week

They said he couldn't do it, but what else are you going to do in seven days? Sam Brooks watched 42 episodes of Outlander in a single week to catch up before the fourth season premiere tonight on Lightbox.

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Media
Nov 3, 2018

The obsession with Meghan Markle, explained!

Meghan Markle and her ranked but unimportant husband came to New Zealand this week, and a huge amount of people lost their collective and metaphorical shit

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Television
Oct 31, 2018

Lisa Kudrow is the Meryl Streep of television

To you, she's just Phoebe from Friends. To me, she's the one of the finest actresses of the small screen, writes Sam Brooks.

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