Sam Brooks

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

Television
May 16, 2021

Drag Race's Michelle Visage on being an ally, living in New Zealand and loving L&P

The Drag Race judge talks to The Spinoff about her time in Auckland, the role of the show in queer culture, and why she's obsessed with our most-loved soft drink

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Television
May 15, 2021

Drag Race Down Under power rankings: All white is not all right

The third episode of RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under loses its only remaining queen of colour, and it's not OK.

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Television
May 11, 2021

We don't have enough celebrities for all these reality shows

The Masked Singer NZ is the latest show drawing on our shallow pool of celebrities. How long before the well runs dry? 

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Books
May 9, 2021

Deprogramme yourself: Author Marilynne Robinson on seeing beauty in everything

Ahead of her appearance at the Auckland Writers Festival, the much-loved Gilead author talks to Sam Brooks.

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Television
May 8, 2021

Drag Race Down Under power rankings: The worst Snatch Game in herstory

It's a race to the bottom, and we're only in episode two.

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Television
May 5, 2021

Popstars is good now, actually

After a faltering start, Popstars is now the show that the audience deserves.

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Gaming
May 4, 2021

Review: Returnal is the first great game of the next generation

What are the odds that we get the first great game on the PS5 only eight months in? Pretty high, actually.

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NEON
May 3, 2021

She’s your hell, she’s your dream: Cristin Milioti is everything

A look at the tremendous range of American actor Cristin Milioti (with a little help from a 90s one hit wonder).

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Television
May 1, 2021

Drag Race Down Under power rankings: Haere mai, Ru!

Buckle up on the upside down of the world! Who rose the top in episode one, and who had to kanikani away?

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Society
Apr 29, 2021

It’s been a long time coming, but Single Asian Female is making theatre history

It took a single Facebook post to change the trajectory of Auckland’s biggest theatre company.

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Ātea
Apr 21, 2021

Rawiri Paratene is a proud paka

The actor, protestor and overall blimmin' legend in conversation on the eve of his final show.

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Television
Apr 20, 2021

Review: Mare of Easttown is Kate Winslet at her best

Too bad the show doesn't quite deserve it.

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Review
Apr 14, 2021

Review: Popstars reboot is more flop than pop

It might have the same name, but Popstars is nothing like the original show. And that's a problem.

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Gaming
Apr 13, 2021

Game over: Why gaming peaked in 2001

Plug in your controller, blow in your cartridge, here's why gaming was better 20 years ago.

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Television
Apr 8, 2021

Review: New Zealand Today lets our wonderful weirdos shine

Breaking: the team of five million is not made up of normies.

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Television
Apr 3, 2021

Bottoms up! The best moments from Melodownz’s Kava Corner

Melodownz' interview series Kava Corner is one of the gentlest, most wholesome joys of the internet. Here's the best of it.

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Society
Mar 30, 2021

A rocky road to healing: A day at the inquiry into historic abuse in state care

The Spinoff was in the room to witness a quiet reckoning with an almost unbearably painful history.

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Food
Mar 27, 2021

Enter the void: True stories of working a bottomless brunch shift

Wellington councillors want to pump the brakes on this day-drinking trend, but how bad can it be?

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NEON
Mar 22, 2021

You love to hate them: How to crack the influencer code

Fake Famous tries to create three influencers from scratch. But how do you actually become an influencer? Here are some (dubious) tips.

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Television
Mar 19, 2021

Review: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier wins big by going small

The second Marvel show to arrive on Disney+ again pumps the brakes on narrative to explore the characters at its centre.

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Television
Mar 18, 2021

Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League is still a very bad movie

Four years since Joss Whedon dropped his cut of Justice League, original director Zack Snyder gets the chance to tell his story his way.

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Television
Mar 15, 2021

Does it hold up? Looking back at the shaky progressiveness of Ugly Betty

Fifteen years ago, a girl called Betty joined a magazine called Mode. How does the show named after her look now?

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Media
Mar 9, 2021

Local commentator obsessed with American woman

The 15 columns Kate Hawkesby has written about Meghan Markle since 2018 read like rants to a weary bartender at last call.

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Food
Mar 9, 2021

Why do ‘moa-flavoured’ chips exist, and what do they taste like?

Is nothing sacred? Apparently not. We explain the ‘Wavy Moa Burger’ flavoured Pringle.

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Television
Mar 8, 2021

The most revealing moments from that blockbuster Meghan and Harry interview

The most revealing moments from the most hyped interview of the year.

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Television
Mar 7, 2021

Kia ora kuīni: Meet the contestants on Drag Race Down Under

The 10 Australian and New Zealand competitors on this year's local version of RuPaul's Drag Race have been revealed.

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