Sam Brooks

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

Books
Jul 17, 2019

Review: A book that redeems video games – and the people who play them

Sam Brooks, lifelong gamer, lost himself on a virtual battlefield in the days after his mother’s death. He reviews a book by a kindred spirit.

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Television
Jul 16, 2019

Review: Mean Mums is New Zealand's next great sitcom

Sam Brooks reviews Mean Mums, the new sitcom from Three that manages to make putting a great show together look easy.

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Television
Jul 11, 2019

A definitive list of all the terrible things that happened on Desperate Housewives

Before Big Little Lies, there was Desperate Housewives. Sam Brooks lists all the truly terrible things these women did over eight seasons.

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Ātea
Jul 9, 2019

Inheritance: The Matariki play that explores class privilege

Inheritance plays as part of The Basement Theatre's Matariki season this week. Sam Brooks talks to one of its creators about what the show wants to say.

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Television
Jul 6, 2019

Laura Daniel is committing to the bit

Sometimes it’s a joke. Sometimes it’s a zombie reality show. And sometimes it’s a ten week celebrity dancing competition.

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Society
Jun 29, 2019

Once: A cult movie musical comes to the Auckland stage

A new production of Once, the musical based on the 2007 film opens in Auckland tonight. Sam Brooks talks to the director Jesse Peach about putting the New Zealand premiere on its feet.

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Gaming
Jun 27, 2019

Review: Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is nostalgic navel-gazing

Sam Brooks reviews Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fuelled, an exercise in mining nostalgia for diminishing returns.

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Television
Jun 20, 2019

A definitive list of fireable offences over 15 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy

After 15 seasons, pretty much every doctor on Grey's Anatomy should be fired or in jail.

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Gaming
Jun 19, 2019

20 years ago, Driver reinvented gaming and nobody knew it

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Driver, a game whose innovations pioneered some of gaming's biggest present-day trends. Sam Brooks takes a look at the groundbreaking game's launch – and the series' unfortunate decline.

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Television
Jun 16, 2019

Dancing with the Stars finale: And the winner is…

Our three month celebrity charity journey is over! Sam Brooks power-ranks the finale of Dancing with The Stars.

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Society
Jun 15, 2019

Two greats of Auckland theatre meet in A Fine Balance

Tomorrow, A Fine Balance opens in Auckland, marking a historic collaboration between two pillars of Auckland theatre. Sam Brooks talked to two of the team – Amit Ohdedar and Ahi Karunharan – about the show.

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Gaming
Jun 13, 2019

All this year’s key E3 gaming announcements

E3 is the biggest week of gaming news of the year – which means it's easy to lose track of everything that's been announced. Sam Brooks rounds up them all up in one convenient place for you.

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Society
Jun 11, 2019

A life shaped by theatre: Jennifer Ward-Lealand on the roles that made her

She has scores of credits to her name, awards galore, she's an ONZM, and she stars in the cabaret Delicious Oblivion, opening tonight in Auckland. Jennifer Ward-Lealand talks to Sam Brooks about her most memorable roles.

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Television
Jun 10, 2019

Dancing with the Stars, semi-final: Farewell, my lovely (food bag)

"It's the semi-final of Dancing with the Stars! And so soon!" said nobody. Sam Brooks power-ranks the penultimate episodes of Dancing with the Stars. Everybody danced twice tonight! The theme for …

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Food
Jun 9, 2019

I went to a men-only ‘networking’ lunch and lived to tell the tale

Sam Brooks goes to a ‘lads lunch’ expecting the worst – and somehow gets the advertised ‘good vibes’.

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Music
Jun 5, 2019

How an opera singer maintains her voice

Sam Brooks talks to internationally-acclaimed opera singer Sandy Piques Eddy about the ins and outs of maintaining her voice, and how having a baby changed her career – in a way you wouldn’t expect.

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Television
Jun 3, 2019

Dancing with the Stars, week eight: Three’s definitely a crowd

It's week eight of Dancing with the Stars, and (some of) our favourite celebs from past seasons return! Sam Brooks power-ranks the contestants.

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Gaming
May 30, 2019

Review: Total War: Three Kingdoms is a superb game – and history nerd heaven

Sam Brooks reviews Total War: Three Kingdoms and finally finds the definitive Romance of the Three Kingdoms game.

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Books
May 28, 2019

The 10 most shocking moments in the blistering new book ‘Whale Oil’

A new book details the long-running fight between Matt Blomfield and Cameron Slater.

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Television
May 27, 2019

Dancing with the Stars, week seven: Unbroken wings

They're not tiny dancers, they're Elton John sized! Thank the lord! Sam Brooks power-ranks week seven of Dancing with the Stars.

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Television
May 27, 2019

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

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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Ava Max
May 27, 2019

Why Ava Max is 2019’s ideal popstar

At over five hundred million streams, Ava Max is proving to be one of the biggest popstars of 2019. Not only that, writes Sam Brooks, she might actually be the most perfect.

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Television
May 23, 2019

The Big C serves up the best kind of wish-fulfilment fantasy

All four seasons of Laura Linney cancer-comedy The Big C drops on Lightbox today. Sam Brooks writes about the series' surprisingly uplifting journey through a woman's nightmare.

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Music
May 21, 2019

Your guide to becoming a fully-fledged Carly Rae Jepstan

To celebrate the release of her third album, Dedicated, here's our guide to becoming a Carly Rae Jepsen fan. A Carly Rae Jepstan, if you will.

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Television
May 20, 2019

Dancing with the Stars, week six: Sticky has become unstuck

It's week six of Dancing with the Stars, and the cream has risen from beneath the crop! Sam Brooks power-ranks the contestants.

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Books
May 16, 2019

Auckland teens on racism, misogyny, body image, art, class… and Shakespeare

Sam Brooks has a transcendent experience at the part of the Auckland Writers Festival grown-ups never hear about: the school sessions.

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