Sam Brooks

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

Television
Aug 19, 2018

It's just quite funny, that's all: In defence of Family Guy

Family Guy has been on our airwaves for almost 20 years, and mostly critically reviled. Sam Brooks stands up for the perennial punching bag.

Read on.

Music
Aug 17, 2018

Aretha Franklin was more than just the Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin has died. Sam Brooks remembers the Queen.

Read on.

Music
Aug 16, 2018

The 60 best Madonna songs in honour of her 60th birthday

Madonna turns sixty today, so Sam Brooks rounds up the best sixty Madonna songs to celebrate this with her.

Read on.


Television
Aug 15, 2018

RuPaul’s Drag Race is now on TVNZ! Here’s what you need to know

Been living under a proverbial rock for the past ten years and have never heard of RuPaul's Drag Race? Don't worry, Sam Brooks has you covered.

Read on.

Television
Aug 11, 2018

The dark and depressing reality of Wile E Coyote

Funny slapstick comedy about a wild dog trying to eat a bird or a treatise on the meaningless of all human pursuits? Sam Brooks watched some Wile E. Coyote cartoons.

Read on.

Society
Aug 3, 2018

Why ‘do the work’ is the key to writing about people who aren’t like you

How do you write about an experience your own - and do it without offending anybody? Sam Brooks offers a solution: do the work.

Read on.

Television
Aug 2, 2018

When Shortland Street cuts, it cuts deep

On Monday night's episode, the possibility of a woman aborting her child because of potential medical issues was raised. Controversy ensued, which says a lot about Shortland Street's place in our culture.

Read on.

Gaming
Aug 1, 2018

The weird, the beautiful, the unfundable: A look at Kickstarter’s gaming section

Popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has been a boon for video game developers for a few years now. Sam Brooks investigates the less glamourous side of the platform.

Read on.

Gaming
Jul 24, 2018

The big unnaturals: What’s up with breasts in video games?

If you participate in a certain dark corner of the internet, you'll know that a lot of people are talking about video game breasts – and the fight to keep them unrealistic.

Read on.

Music
Jul 20, 2018

Chelsea Jade: ‘I want young women to like feel like they have someone on their side’

We ask Chelsea Jade everything about her (and other people's) music.

Read on.

Lightbox
Jul 18, 2018

What’s Katherine Heigl been up to, you guys?

Season eight of Suits starts dropping on Lightbox tomorrow – and Katherine Heigl is coming along with it. Sam Brooks details where the former TV princess has been up to since her heyday.

Read on.

Television
Jul 16, 2018

Review: Mistress, Mercy struggles against the constraints of doco-drama

Based on one of the most notorious murder cases in New Zealand history, Mistress, Mercy finds itself hamstrung by the limits of the doco-drama genre.

Read on.

Gaming
Jul 15, 2018

How BioWare saved Star Wars from disaster

In the midst of the bad prequels, after a slew of bad video games, and before the contested sequels, there was Knights of the Old Republic

Read on.

Television
Jul 12, 2018

Sweetie darling: Why Absolutely Fabulous is still utterly fantastic

Absolutely Fabulous is one of the best comedies of all time, no question. Sam Brooks explains why.

Read on.

Television
Jul 11, 2018

Harlots: Who are these corsetted women and where do I know them from?

Harlots returns to Lightbox tomorrow with a second season full of intrigue, feminism and corset-ripping good times. The show is full of famous faces, but where have you seen them before?

Read on.

Television
Jul 9, 2018

K’ Road in the 80s: Westside and the making of the new Kiwi myths

Westside is back for a fourth season tonight on Three. Sam Brooks visited the set and came back with thoughts on how the show mythologises our country's recent history.

Read on.

Television
Jul 6, 2018

You got your Dancing with the Stars judges in my real estate ad

Is it a real estate ad if you see more of the Dancing with the Stars judges than you see of the house? Our DWTSNZ power-ranker Sam Brooks investigates.

Read on.

Ātea
Jul 3, 2018

‘We all need kindness’: theatre director Rose Kirkup on her show Big J Stylez

Everybody Cool Lives Here is one of Wellington's most exciting theatre companies, and their work Big J Stylez comes to Auckland's Herald Theatre this week as part of Matariki Season.

Read on.

Gaming
Jul 2, 2018

What happened to our game mascots?

Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Lara Croft, Mario – these characters defined gaming in culture for so long. So what happened to them?

Read on.

Television
Jul 2, 2018

The definitive and final post-season Dancing with the Stars power ranking

Who won the season – really? And who truly, truly lost the season? And who the hell is in between? Sam Brooks power ranks Dancing with the Stars one last time.

Read on.

Television
Jul 1, 2018

Dancing with the Stars, final week: And the winner is…

It's the final dance off, fully voted on by the public – and here are your final power rankings. Dancing with the Stars, it is over.

Read on.

Television
Jul 1, 2018

‘We have a gay agenda we’ll never drop’: Chris Parker and Eli Matthewson on The Male Gayz

Chris Parker and Eli Matthewson's hit podcast The Male Gayz is now a thing you can look at with your eyeballs, thanks to TVNZ on Demand.

Read on.

Television
Jun 27, 2018

From Terrence Malick to Magic Mike: The hidden gems in the Lightbox Movies catalogue

Lightbox Movies has a huge selection of movies to choose from, but film geek Sam Brooks is most excited about the obscure, hard-to-find and objectively best ones.

Read on.

Music
Jun 27, 2018

The many faces of Cher: a celebration

Cher is coming to town! We run through the many facets of Cher's career – and what makes her so special.

Read on.

Television
Jun 25, 2018

Dancing with the Stars, week one million: Ding dong, David’s gone

It's '90s week on Dancing with the Stars – approximately the decade when this series started. We're doing the power rankings again. And they have to dance not once, but twice! There …

Read on.

Media
Jun 25, 2018

Revealed: What Clarke Gayford really thinks about baby names

Footage emerges showing the PM's partner urging the choice of a 'rad middle name ... something that says their parents aren't as old and boring as they seem now'

Read on.

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