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.

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Society
Aug 29, 2019

To unpathed waters, undreamed shores: the Pop-Up Globe is leaving New Zealand

The Pop-Up Globe will be popping down at the end of its 2020 season and setting off overseas. Sam Brooks talks to its founder, Miles Gregory, about where the future of the company lies.

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Television
Aug 22, 2019

Review: Jane the Virgin should be your next great Netflix binge watch

One part telenovela, one part family drama, one part addictive love story. Sam Brooks reviews Jane the Virgin, the great show with an unfortunate name that should be your next Netflix binge.

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Television
Aug 18, 2019

The man behind Funny As on hustlers, hissy fits and history hidden in boxes

Over 300 hours of interviews condensed into five episodes that cover the entirety of New Zealand's comedy history – how do you even start to approach that? Sam Brooks interviews Paul Horan, the documentarian behind the show.

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Bazzi
Aug 16, 2019

He’s so precious when he cries: Why Bazzi is so much more than a great meme

He's the artist who launched a million memes and over a billion streams. Sam Brooks picks out Bazzi's best moments so far, from his career-making breakthrough to his mature new mixtape Soulsearching.

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Television
Aug 16, 2019

The latest TVNZ OnDemand figures reveal a TV-watching nation divided

Today, TVNZ released its latest findings on who is watching what on TVNZ OnDemand. Sam Brooks analyses the results.

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Television
Aug 14, 2019

Review: Succession season two is brutal and brilliant

Sam Brooks reviews the second season premiere of Succession, the dark-as-tar family drama from one of the minds behind The Thick of It.

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Television
Aug 8, 2019

A definitive list of the weirdest, wildest foreign language shows on Netflix

What are all those shows you scroll through on Netflix with stars you don't recognise and premises that are so out-there you can't believe they actually got made? Wonder no more.

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Gaming
Aug 7, 2019

Trump meets Transformers: Metal Wolf Chaos XD is the most American game ever made

After fifteen years, American-targeted satire video game Metal Wolf Chaos XD finally makes it way out of Japan. Sam Brooks looks at how much more prescient the game is now, and why that is.

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Gaming
Jul 30, 2019

Review: Fire Emblem Three Houses breathes new life into a classic franchise

Sam Brooks reviews Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which perfectly splits difference between staying true to its core while reinventing itself to appeal to a broader audience.

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Television
Jul 29, 2019

Review: In its final season, Orange is the New Black is more vital than ever

Sam Brooks reviews the final season of Orange is the New Black and finds a fitting end to the series' tremendous legacy.

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Television
Jul 26, 2019

Review: The Boys is exhausting superhero wish fulfillment fantasy

Sam Brooks reviews The Boys, dropping today on Amazon Prime, and finds it far from the critique of superhero fantasies he was promised.

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Gaming
Jul 25, 2019

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was an Assassin’s Creed game – but only just

Sam Brooks re-assesses Assassin's Creed Odyssey in the wake of ten months of post-release content and works out what the game did right, did wrong, and did weird.

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Television
Jul 25, 2019

Where can I watch the fourth season of Veronica Mars in New Zealand?

Sam Brooks embarks on a search to watch the much-hyped season four of Veronica Mars.

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Television
Jul 22, 2019

Review: Big Little Lies season 2 was saved by spectacular acting

Sam Brooks reviews the second season of Big Little Lies, which generated as much social media conversation as its first season did critical acclaim, for better and worse.

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Television
Jul 19, 2019

My problem with Queer Eye

The fourth season of Queer Eye drops today on Netflix. Sam Brooks reflects on his difficult relationship with the show, and where it sits in mainstream culture.

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Books
Jul 17, 2019

Review: A book that redeems video games – and the people who play them

Sam Brooks, lifelong gamer, lost himself on a virtual battlefield in the days after his mother’s death. He reviews a book by a kindred spirit.

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Television
Jul 16, 2019

Review: Mean Mums is New Zealand’s next great sitcom

Sam Brooks reviews Mean Mums, the new sitcom from Three that manages to make putting a great show together look easy.

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Television
Jul 11, 2019

A definitive list of all the terrible things that happened on Desperate Housewives

Before Big Little Lies, there was Desperate Housewives. Sam Brooks lists all the truly terrible things these women did over eight seasons.

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Ātea
Jul 9, 2019

Inheritance: The Matariki play that explores class privilege

Inheritance plays as part of The Basement Theatre's Matariki season this week. Sam Brooks talks to one of its creators about what the show wants to say.

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Television
Jul 6, 2019

Laura Daniel is committing to the bit

Sometimes it’s a joke. Sometimes it’s a zombie reality show. And sometimes it’s a ten week celebrity dancing competition.

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Society
Jun 29, 2019

Once: A cult movie musical comes to the Auckland stage

A new production of Once, the musical based on the 2007 film opens in Auckland tonight. Sam Brooks talks to the director Jesse Peach about putting the New Zealand premiere on its feet.

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Gaming
Jun 27, 2019

Review: Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is nostalgic navel-gazing

Sam Brooks reviews Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fuelled, an exercise in mining nostalgia for diminishing returns.

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Television
Jun 20, 2019

A definitive list of fireable offences over 15 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy

After 15 seasons, pretty much every doctor on Grey's Anatomy should be fired or in jail.

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Gaming
Jun 19, 2019

20 years ago, Driver reinvented gaming and nobody knew it

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Driver, a game whose innovations pioneered some of gaming's biggest present-day trends. Sam Brooks takes a look at the groundbreaking game's launch – and the series' unfortunate decline.

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Television
Jun 16, 2019

Dancing with the Stars finale: And the winner is…

Our three month celebrity charity journey is over! Sam Brooks power-ranks the finale of Dancing with The Stars.

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Society
Jun 15, 2019

Two greats of Auckland theatre meet in A Fine Balance

Tomorrow, A Fine Balance opens in Auckland, marking a historic collaboration between two pillars of Auckland theatre. Sam Brooks talked to two of the team – Amit Ohdedar and Ahi Karunharan – about the show.

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