Sam Brooks

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

Music
Nov 12, 2019

Gwen Stefani's Love. Angel. Music. Baby. was a pop gem flung out of time and space

Sam Brooks looks back on Gwen Stefani's Love.Angel.Music.Baby on the album's fifteenth anniversary.

Read on.

Society
Nov 11, 2019

And the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2019 is...

Who has nabbed the title of Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2019? Sam Brooks has the result.

Read on.

HOTC
Nov 9, 2019

The Giant Santa is leaving Auckland

Auckland's Giant Santa is retiring after the 2019 festive season. Sam Brooks has the good oil on what's happening to the local icon.

Read on.


Books
Nov 9, 2019

A review of JVN’s revelatory, maddening, potentially premature memoir

Sam Brooks, noted critic of the Queer Eye juggernaut, reviews Over the Top, a memoir by the show's most flamboyant star Jonathan Van Ness.

Read on.

Society
Nov 8, 2019

It’s back: Votes are open for the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2019

Sam Brooks is back with the real bird of the year competition: Dirtbag Bird of the Year.

Read on.

NEON
Nov 5, 2019

The kids’ fantasy that explains the adult world: A tribute to His Dark Materials

As the HBO TV adaptation arrives on NEON, Sam Brooks looks back on His Dark Materials, the only children’s book series he was allowed to read as a kid.

Read on.

Gaming
Nov 1, 2019

Kojima unhinged: A response to Death Stranding

Sam Brooks reviews the most anticipated game of 2019: Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding.

Read on.

Gaming
Oct 30, 2019

Review: Trails of Cold Steel is as good as video game storytelling gets

Sam Brooks reviews the latest Trails of Cold Steel entry and finds a rare thing: a game full of love and care.

Read on.

Television
Oct 25, 2019

Review: BoJack Horseman is a hilarious, devastating ode to damaged people

The first half of the final season of depressed equine comedy BoJack Horseman drops today on Netflix, and it's as bleakly hilarious as ever.

Read on.

NEON
Oct 24, 2019

What you need to know before you watch Watchmen

People are calling Watchmen the next Game of Thrones, but what is it? Here's the essential background before you start streaming it on NEON.

Read on.

Gaming
Oct 24, 2019

Review: The MediEvil remake is new skin on bad bones

Sam Brooks finds that nostalgia only goes so far in the 2019 remake of MediEvil.

Read on.

TVNZ
Oct 22, 2019

The star-studded TV series that will make you a movie genius 

The Movies, a documentary series that celebrates movies and their impact on culture, is available on TVNZ OnDemand today. Sam Brooks pulls some of the best quotes from its galaxy of stars.

Read on.

Television
Oct 22, 2019

A play-by-play of Paula Bennett and Chlöe Swarbrick’s cannabis referendum debate on Q&A

Last night, Paula Bennett and Chloe Swarbrick finally debated the 2020 Cannabis Referendum. Sam Brooks has the play-by-play.

Read on.

Television
Oct 18, 2019

Drag Race UK recap: Sew much drama!

Sam Brooks recaps the third episode of RuPaul's Drag Race UK, and wonders why some of these queens don't know how to sew.

Read on.

Television
Oct 18, 2019

Review: Amazon Prime’s Modern Love is a sweet, warm cup of tea but little else

Sam Brooks reviews Amazon Prime’s Modern Love, an anthology series based on the New York Times column dedicated to ‘love in all its forms’. 

Read on.

Media
Oct 12, 2019

Why Jennifer Lopez deserves an Oscar for Hustlers

Jennifer Lopez gives the performance of her career in Hustlers, and mark Sam Brooks' words, she's going to get an Oscar for it. And it's long overdue, he writes.

Read on.

Television
Oct 11, 2019

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK recap: Downton Shabby

Another acting challenge bites the drag dust with this take on Downton Abbey. Sam Brooks recaps the second episode of Drag Race.

Read on.

Society
Oct 10, 2019

Nga mihi mahana: A weekend at the Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival

Sam Brooks reports on his time at the first weekend of the inaugural Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival, which coincided with the launch of Tuia 250.

Read on.

Television
Oct 4, 2019

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK recap: Ten queens, one guvna

Start your Chitty-Chitty Bang Bangs and may the best lady win! Sam Brooks recaps the first episode of RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

Read on.

Television
Oct 3, 2019

A definitive ranking of all 162 Lip Syncs on RuPaul’s Drag Race

Every single Lip Sync For Your Life/Legacy, ranked. 

Read on.

Television
Sep 27, 2019

Review: Netflix’s The Politician is worse than actual politicians

Ryan Murphy’s latest show for Netflix indulges without excesses and fires off shots without finding a target.

Read on.

Gaming
Sep 16, 2019

The gaming apocalypse scenarios most (and least) likely to happen in real life

Grim post-apocalyptic settings are a dime a dozen in gaming, but which ones are the most realistic? Sam Brooks talked to climate scientist David Tong to find out.

Read on.

Television
Sep 11, 2019

My Dad Wrote a Porno and the hilarious, excruciating intimacy of bad sex

Bad erotica never sounded so good. Sam Brooks talks to Jamie Morton of My Dad Wrote a Porno, about the hit podcast's fifth season and upcoming return visit to New Zealand.

Read on.

Food
Sep 4, 2019

Confessions of an energy drink addict

Countdown's restriction on the sale of energy drinks to under-16s came into force this week. Avid energy drink consumer Sam Brooks writes on his relationship with the buzzy beverages.

Read on.

Television
Aug 30, 2019

Review: Carnival Row is stuck in the fantasy ghetto mud

Sam Brooks reviews Carnival Row, an Amazon Original which can't break free from its own shallow edginess.

Read on.

Television
Aug 29, 2019

What Netflix movie Falling Inn Love gets right and wrong about New Zealand

With Falling Inn Love, New Zealand gets its very own Netflix romcom – so how accurate is its depiction of small town NZ?

Read on.

The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.