Sam Brooks

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

Television
Mar 7, 2021
Round up your sheilas and put a shrimp on the barby, it's the contestants on Drag Race Down Under. (Photo: TVNZ)

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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Television
Dec 26, 2020

The films of Studio Ghibli and when to show them to your kids

A lifelong Studio Ghibli fan guides you through what films to introduce your kids and when.

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Television
Dec 25, 2020

Review: Netflix’s Bridgerton brings us Shonda Rhimes greatness when we need it most

What do you get when you mix Downton Abbey with Gossip Girl? A bloody good time, that’s what.

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Society
Dec 24, 2020

The orphan’s Christmas

It’s hard to be alone at Christmas. It’s even harder to be lonely at Christmas.

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Society
Dec 18, 2020

The Aotearoa Spinoff Time Capsule 2020: Culture on a USB stick

Sam Brooks fills up a USB with everything that our descendants will need to understand the crapshoot that is life in 2020.

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Gaming
Dec 17, 2020

Review: Cyberpunk 2077 is more glitch than game

It was all set to be the biggest game of the year, but Cyberpunk 2077's release has been overshadowed by technical hitches and multiple controversies.

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Review
Dec 11, 2020

Review: The Prom is another act of cultural vandalism from Ryan Murphy

Netflix’s The Prom, adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name, is the latest outrage from the television auteur, and we've had enough.

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Books
Dec 7, 2020

Review: Ready Player Two deserves a ruthless force-quit

Sam Brooks pines for an alternate reality in which he did not read this book.

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Ātea
Dec 5, 2020

Review: The Modern Māori Quartet is a celebration of the magic of a crowd

Imagine a raucous garage party, with better talent, lighting and sound: welcome to the Modern Māori Quartet's new show.

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Gaming
Dec 2, 2020

Review: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla fails to make colonisation fun

In the mood for some good old fashioned pillaging? Then play this. But if you want to have a good time while doing so, best to look elsewhere.

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NEON
Dec 2, 2020

What I learned about Christmas by watching too many Christmas movies

It’s December. You know what that means? Christmas is here. You know what else that means? Christmas movies are here.

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Television
Dec 1, 2020

All the questions The Undoing didn’t answer

All the questions that will never be answered by this confounding show.

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Television
Nov 25, 2020

Review: Netflix’s Hillbilly Elegy is an ugly, empty holler of a film

What happens if you take a personal memoir and strip it of everything that made it unique? You get Hillbilly Elegy.

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Television
Nov 18, 2020

Review: The Queen’s Gambit is popcorn fun wrapped up in prestige regalia

Everybody’s watching The Queen’s Gambit, but what about this limited Netflix series makes it so damn compelling?

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Television
Nov 15, 2020

Review: The Crown shines with Diana, stumbles with Thatcher

As The Crown creeps closer to the present day, its apolitical approach is becoming more of a problem.

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Television
Nov 13, 2020

How did Anika Moa become the best interviewer in New Zealand?

Anika Moa is back with a new show and she’s doing what she does best: talking to people.

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Gaming
Nov 9, 2020

What is Among Us and should I let my kid play it?

It’s the third most streamed game in the world, but what the hell is it?

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Review
Nov 7, 2020

Review: The PlayStation 5 is a delightful big boy of a console

The Playstation 5 is Sony's entry into the new generation of gaming. How does the big unit fare?

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Television
Nov 5, 2020

The good, the great and the homegrown: What has TVNZ got in store for 2021?

This morning, TVNZ announced what we'll all be watching in 2021. Here's a quick rundown of what you've got to look forward to.

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NEON
Nov 5, 2020

A swamp full of fools: Who plays who on The Comey Rule

When you drain the swamp, these people and the actors playing them will be all that's left.

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Television
Nov 2, 2020

Review: The Mandalorian is proof that Star Wars’ future is in TV

The second season of The Mandalorian is more of the same, but it’s also a signal of where the world’s biggest franchise is headed.

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Television
Nov 1, 2020
Music
Oct 28, 2020

The greatest Silver Scrolls performances of the past decade

Each year, the highlight of the annual Silver Scrolls ceremony aren't the speeches, but the covers. Here are our favourites.

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Media
Oct 24, 2020

How Sophie Henderson got Baby Done done

The writer of the acclaimed new Rose Matafeo comedy talks on how her own experiences as an expectant mother inspired the script.

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Television
Oct 17, 2020

Review: Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 is Aaron Sorkin at his best

Our most verbose screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, makes good on all his hype in just his second turn as director.

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Television
Oct 15, 2020

Is Renters the Cops of 2020?

Is there still a place for a show that portrays property managers as housing market heroes?

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Politics
Oct 15, 2020

Election 2020: The arts and culture policies in two minutes

Our very quick guide to what's on offer for our arts and culture sector.

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