Sam Brooks

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

Food
Feb 17, 2020

Meat, mullets and masculinity: Two days at Meatstock 2020

Sam Brooks heads along to Meatstock 2020, and finds himself questioning the symbiotic relationship between meat-eating and machismo.

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Television
Feb 14, 2020

Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before 2 could have been designed by algorithm

To All The Boys I've Loved Before was the Netflix hit of 2018, but the sequel feels designed to replicate the success of the original without half as much heart.

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NZFOTA
Feb 11, 2020

It takes two (or three): Collaboration in action at the NZ Festival of the Arts

Sam Brooks talks to artists in this year's New Zealand Festival of the Arts about the work they’re making and what collaboration means to them.

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Music
Feb 3, 2020

A play-by-play of the 2020 NFL Super Bowl

Sam Brooks watched today's NFL Super Bowl and recaps the moments that mattered.

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Television
Feb 3, 2020

Review: Netflix’s Miss Americana shows Taylor Swift’s best face and nothing more

Sam Brooks watches Netflix's Miss Americana, the new Taylor Swift documentary – and finds it light on revelation, heavy on image rehabilitation.

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Television
Feb 1, 2020

What Studio Ghibli did for me and my mother

Sam Brooks makes the case for raising your kids on the exquisite Japanese anime films, which have just landed on Netflix.

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Gaming
Jan 31, 2020

Twenty years on, The Sims is still the safest space in town

On its 20th anniversary, Sam Brooks looks back on The Sims, the safest space for an entire generation of gamers.

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Slack
Jan 30, 2020

Life, hacked: 15 ways to get your productivity on track for 2020

Now that the new year is well and truly underway, how can you make the most of your time and feel good about it? Sam Brooks has you covered.

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Television
Jan 26, 2020

Lucy Lawless as Stevie Nicks is New Zealand’s forgotten comedy masterpiece

Twenty-two years ago, Lucy Lawless wasn't just playing Xena, she was part of one of SNL's greatest ever sketches. Sam Brooks pays tribute to Stevie Nicks Fajita Round-Up.

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Television
Jan 24, 2020

Your hate only makes Gwyneth Paltrow stronger

She's an Oscar-winning actress, a widely hated celebrity and founder of one of the most successful wellness brands in the world. And all your jade egg jokes make no difference at all.

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Television
Jan 23, 2020

Space satire Avenue 5 is brilliant, even as it meanders off course

Avenue 5, the new show from The Thick of It and Veep genius Armando Iannucci, veers off-course after an ambitious launch, writes Sam Brooks

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TVNZ
Jan 21, 2020

Here’s how long it will take to watch some of the most bingeable shows

Sam Brooks covers how long it’ll take to binge some of the most bingeable shows – and how to prepare to for it.

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Television
Jan 17, 2020

Review: Netflix’s Sex Education keeps it up for a charming second season

Is there a more empathetic show on television than the British teen comedy-drama Sex Education? Unlikely, writes Sam Brooks.

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Music
Jan 16, 2020

Review: FOMO 2020 was more than just The Lizzo Show

Sam Brooks went to the FOMO 2020 festival in Auckland, and was relieved to find it was more than just the final time that Lizzo will ever perform at 7:20pm.

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Television
Jan 10, 2020

What TV looked like in the year 2000

In the year 2000 there was no Netflix or Amazon Prime or On Demand; the 'too much TV' era was still years in the future. So what did we watch instead?

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Television
Jan 7, 2020

Here’s all the great TV you’ll be watching in 2020

Another year, another avalanche of television to keep track of. Sam Brooks rounds up all the shows you'll want to watch this year – new, returning, and local.

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Television
Jan 5, 2020

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

Summer reissue: 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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Music
Jan 4, 2020

Now that’s what we called the monster hits of 2009

Sam Brooks steps back in time to 2009, the year of Now! That's What I Call Music 31. What did his younger self think of those songs – and do they still hold up today?

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Gaming
Jan 1, 2020

The original 151 Pokémon ranked from worst to best

Sam Brooks digs into his childhood to present his magnum opus: a ranking of all 151 OG Pokémon.

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Television
Dec 27, 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? Sam Brooks investigates.

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Television
Dec 26, 2019

Review: Netflix’s You returns for an irresistibly pulpy second season

Sam Brooks reviews the second season of You, the surprise Netflix hit of 2018 that made toxic masculinity fun and watchable, and it finally finds the depth to earn that fun.

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Television
Dec 21, 2019

Review: Netflix’s The Witcher isn’t the new Game of Thrones – and thank god for that

Sam Brooks reviews Netflix's The Witcher, a wildly fun adaptation of the Polish fantasy novels of the same name.

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Media
Dec 19, 2019

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker from a lifelong fan

Culture editor Sam Brooks saw a midnight screening of the new Star Wars film last night. These are his fast reckons.

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Society
Dec 19, 2019

How not to be a dick this holiday season

Holidays are stressful, and it can be real easy to lash out. Here's a list of easy things to do to make sure you don't come off like a Grinch this festive season.

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Media
Dec 11, 2019

What New Zealand’s most searched Google terms say about us in 2019

Google just released what New Zealanders looked for the most in 2019, and it says a lot about us. Not all of it is good.

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New Zealand Music
Dec 10, 2019

Cecily on spending New Year’s alone and her surprise side gig

Sam Brooks interviews Cecily, the local singer behind surprise sleeper hit 'Thinking 'Bout Me'.

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