Sam Brooks

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

TVNZ
Jun 5, 2020

Bond, Teen Bond: The brilliance of the Alex Rider series

Sam Brooks pays tribute to Alex Rider, and the new TV series that (finally) captures the spirit of the books.

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Television
Jun 2, 2020

Review: Netflix's Space Force crashes and burns with a laughless first season

The mind behind The Office reunites with Steve Carell to bring us... an unfunny mess?

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Books
Jun 2, 2020

A review of Fake Baby, a satire stuffed with tragedies and small kindnesses

A debut novel woven from life's small moments.

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Music
May 29, 2020

Review: Lady Gaga’s Chromatica sheds conflict for club-ready bangers

Sam Brooks reviews Lady GaGa's sixth album, Chromatica, which sees the popstar stepping back into big pop glory, but at what cost?

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Music
May 29, 2020

Who charted where: The hits of May 28, 2000, in the US and New Zealand

In the spirit of international cooperation and mutual chair dancing, Sam Brooks and New York City-based culture critic Mark Blankenship are revisiting the top 10 singles from key weeks in …

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Television
May 27, 2020

Chasing Nanette: Hannah Gadsby’s new special Douglas is a gentle piece of genius

Two years ago, her genre-busting show Nanette broke the internet. Now Hannah Gadsby has released a new stand-up special, and expectations are sky high.

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Television
May 21, 2020

A definitive list of every ridiculous thing that happened on Sex and the City

Definitive list maven Sam Brooks tackles 90s classic Sex and the City. It does not go well.

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Gaming
May 19, 2020

Turnip for what? Two calming months of Animal Crossing: New Horizons

How did this quaint village-making game become one of the biggest sellers of its generation?

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Music
May 15, 2020

Venue owners are coming together to keep NZ’s live music scene thriving

Live music was one of the industries hit first, and hardest, by Covid-19. Now venue owners are hitting back.

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TVNZ
May 15, 2020

A show for any mood: What to watch when you’re feeling…

Are you in a mood? Like, literally any mood? Don’t worry, Sam Brooks has you covered with something to cater to (or escape from) some very specific moods.

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Television
May 12, 2020

Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ends on a high, but who’s still watching?

The one-time Netflix darling finishes up its run with... an interactive special? Sam Brooks reviews Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs The Reverend

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Society
May 12, 2020

A few metres from normality: On anxiety and alert level two

For some, level two might be the road back to normality. For others? Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Television
May 8, 2020

Review: Netflix’s Dead to Me refuses to play it safe with genre

Why play it safe with genre when you can just take the talents of your two lead actors and run with them?

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Media
May 5, 2020

Taika Waititi directing Star Wars is huge, but there’s one big challenge to overcome

Taika Waititi is making a Star Wars film! Great news, but maybe let's lower our expectations, writes Sam Brooks.

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Business
May 4, 2020

Not about the party, but the dance: What the Rainbow Tick means for Kiwibank

Sam Brooks talks to Kiwibank’s chief risk officer Liz Knight about what the Rainbow Tick means for the company.

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Gaming
May 3, 2020

Review: Dating sim legend Sakura Wars returns

Sam Brooks reviews dating sim legend Sakura Wars, which returns after 15 years with a soft reboot.

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Society
Apr 30, 2020

An unwanted intrusion: Grief during isolation

Grief is an unwanted guest at the best of times, none more so than when you can’t actually have guests.

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Television
Apr 30, 2020

Review: Sally Rooney’s Normal People makes for thirsty telly

Sam Brooks reviews the BBC and Hulu adaptation of the Sally Rooney book club staple.

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TVNZ
Apr 29, 2020

Have You Been Paying Attention’s Hayley Sproull on the move from studio to lounge

How do you move your news-stuffed, comedian-packed game show to Zoom? Sam Brooks talked to Hayley Sproull, host of Have You Been Paying Attention?, to find out.

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TVNZ
Apr 28, 2020

A very amateur cook on how to Eat Well For Less

Ahead of the NZ debut of Eat Well For Less, literal first-time cook Sam Brooks gives a few of his own (barely tested) tips of how to eat well for less.

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Books
Apr 28, 2020

Ordinary isolation in Dunedin: A review of What Sort of Man

In this collection, Breton Dukes' characters are driven by primal compulsions like sex, power, pride – or the urgent need to defecate.

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Television
Apr 21, 2020

Review: A slow and strange start for Rebuilding Paradise with Paul Henry

Rebuilding Paradise with Paul Henry marks the controversial presenter’s return to primetime to talk about New Zealand after Covid-19.

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Media
Apr 19, 2020

The highs, the lows and the WTFs of One World: Together At Home

What if that 'Imagine' video was nearly nine hours long and featured over a hundred celebrities?

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Television
Apr 18, 2020

Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle is the horniest social distancing you’ll ever watch

Imagine Love Island without… the touching? Netflix’s new reality show Too Hot to Handle hits a little bit close to our distanced homes.

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TVNZ
Apr 16, 2020

Ten dogs that need to be on Pooch Perfect right now

Pooch Perfect is the dog-grooming reality show you never knew you wanted. Here are the famous dogs who we think deserve a spot to be groomed by the best of the best.

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Television
Apr 14, 2020

The Tiger King after-show reveals the scuzzy underbelly of the Netflix hit

Sam Brooks reviews The Tiger King and I, which does little to rectify the damage and distortion done by the monster Netflix hit.

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