Sam Brooks

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

Society
Aug 12, 2020

How to wear your mask without your glasses fogging up

Eyeglasses + face mask = fog city. But there are some solutions.

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Television
Aug 9, 2020

Robyn Malcolm is just getting started

She's Cheryl West, she's Ellen Crozier, she's the woman who makes headlines for throwaway jokes online.

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Books
Aug 3, 2020

Game of hats: The shambling, strange mess of George RR Martin, event MC

A bestselling author sets out on a jolly adventure – but quickly becomes lost in the woods.

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Books
Aug 3, 2020

Review: In Sex and Vanity, Kevin Kwan writes wealth like a fantasy novel

The author of Crazy Rich Asians opens a new series with his exquisite brand of glitz and skewering.

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Television
Jul 31, 2020

Review: Muppets Now skewers internet culture with joy and vigour

Muppets Now, the troupe’s first foray into the world of streaming, takes on the YouTube era with hilarious – if somewhat disjointed – success.

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Music
Jul 27, 2020

Review: Taylor Swift’s Folklore shuns big pop for pared-down poetry

Taylor Swift's surprise album folklore marks a step away from the noise and into the dark lushness of the woods, writes Sam Brooks

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Music
Jul 27, 2020

That’s our tucker: All the things Kiwis love in the new Kiwiburger song, ranked

How do the items on the new Kiwiburger hold up to a good ol' Spinoff power ranking?

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Television
Jul 24, 2020

Review: Netflix’s Fatal Affair scrapes the bottom of the erotic thriller trash can

Sam Brooks reviews the latest Netflix movie-of-the-week, the mildly erotic sex thriller Fatal Affair.

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Society
Jul 23, 2020

An entire city in 450m: A review of Courtenay Place

Sam Brooks reviews our capital’s most iconic stretch: Courtenay Place.

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Television
Jul 18, 2020

A tribute to the after-school anime of our youth

Sam Brooks pens a love letter to the after-school gateway drug of the late nineties and early aughts: anime on free-to-air TV.

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Gaming
Jul 17, 2020

Review: Ghost of Tsushima is a slick conclusion to the PS4’s lifecycle

Another PS4 exclusive, another game about the cost of violence.

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Television
Jul 15, 2020

Review: Urzila Carlson’s Overqualified Loser is a winning Netflix special

Carlson has long been one of our best comedians, and now the world can see it too, writes Sam Brooks.

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Television
Jul 12, 2020

Review: Netflix’s The Old Guard is what superhero films should always have been

Netflix's The Old Guard succeeds because it shows us not what's great about superheroes, but what's human about them.

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Gaming
Jul 10, 2020

Review: Iron Man VR is superhero wish fulfilment, pure and simple

Ever wanted to be Iron Man? Sam Brooks prefers Pepper Potts, but he had a great time stepping into the iron suit anyway.

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Politics
Jul 9, 2020

The insider: Three decades of amazing Michelle Boag headlines

Michelle Boag has been one of the country’s most infamous right-wing political insiders. Here’s a brief rundown of her headlines over the past thirty years.

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Books
Jul 5, 2020

Review: Lil O’Brien’s Not That I’d Kiss a Girl is a hazy mirror of a memoir

Lil O’Brien’s memoir Not That I’d Kiss A Girl is valuable, but unclear, story of the author’s struggle with her own acceptance, writes Sam Brooks.

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Television
Jul 4, 2020

Hamilton is now available to stream online. Here’s why that’s such a big deal

The biggest musical of the past two decades is available to watch on Disney+. Sam Brooks takes stock of this extraordinary move.

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Gaming
Jul 1, 2020

We don’t need any more zombie games

The use of zombies in video games is getting the world's most inventive artform stuck in the mud, ready to have its brains eaten out.

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Politics
Jul 1, 2020

The National Party is failing the queer community, again

Headlines about the ‘world’s gayest’ parliament only serve to highlight how far behind National has fallen on queer representation.

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Television
Jun 27, 2020

‘I know these people’: Miriama McDowell on leading the pack in Head High

Sam Brooks talks to actress and director Miriama McDowell, fresh off a starring role in Head High and directing Ahikāroa.

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Food
Jun 27, 2020

Nadia Lim on how she helped a nation take to the kitchen

Sam Brooks meets the woman who saved him from six weeks of living on wine and toast.

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Gaming
Jun 23, 2020

The 20-year legacy of the greatest game ever made: Deus Ex

Many call it the greatest game of all time, but where does its legacy sit now?

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Television
Jun 13, 2020

Walter Presents: Meet the Italian man serving up your next binge watch

Sam Brooks interviews Walter Iuzzolino, the man behind TVNZ’s new curated algorithm-free channel, Walter Presents.

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Gaming
Jun 12, 2020

Review: The Last of Us Part II is great for what it means, not for what it is

The greatness of The Last of Us Part II lies not in the gameplay, but for the conversations it will start, writes Sam Brooks. Major spoilers for The Last of Us …

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Society
Jun 11, 2020

Meet the 20-year-old creating pathways for young people into the arts

Sam Brooks talks to Matthew Goldsworthy, the 20-year-old founder and CEO of Youth Arts New Zealand, about helping young people access the arts both as creatives and as an audience.

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TVNZ
Jun 8, 2020

Bodyguard vs The Bodyguard: Who guarded the body best?

Sam Brooks compares two of the most prominent on-screen bodyguards to see how they stack up.

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