Sam Brooks

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

Gaming
Mar 21, 2019

Before Instagram, there was Pokémon Snap

Twenty years ago – before Instagram – a game about documenting your every move was released. That game was Pokemon Snap.

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Gaming
Jan 30, 2019

The real Kingdom Hearts 3 are the friends we made along the way

What started as a simple Disney and Final Fantasy crossover 17 years ago is now a labyrinthine juggernaut. Sam Brooks reviews the one – the only – Kingdom Hearts 3.

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Television
Jan 27, 2019

Oscar Kightley's Following Twain is a pleasantly sleepy meander around NZ

In Following Twain, which premiered on TVNZ One last night, Oscar Kightley follows the journey Mark Twain made around the country during his visit here in 1895. Sam Brooks reviews.

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Music
Jan 26, 2019

Everything you need to know before heading to Laneway this weekend

It's Auckland Anniversary Weekend, and you know that what means? St Jerome's Laneway Festival, aka Laneway! Sam Brooks shares his guide to how to do your 2019 Laneway Festival right.

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Rudimental
Jan 25, 2019

From the club to the festival: Rudimental’s top five moments

Rudimental are one of the UK's biggest bands with a list of collaborators as long as your arm. Sam Brooks takes a look at some of their best moments ahead of their new album, Toast to Our Differences.

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Television
Jan 22, 2019

Which returning 7pm news show made a stronger start to 2019?

The Project and Seven Sharp screened their first episodes of the year last night – so how did they fare upon their return? 7pm newcomer Sam Brooks watched them both.

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Television
Jan 22, 2019

Then and now: Comparing the casts of Outrageous Fortune and Westside

Four seasons in, with a fifth along the way, it's time to look back, and then look even further back. Sam Brooks looks at who's who on Westside, and who originally played them on Outrageous Fortune.

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Media
Jan 20, 2019

My YouTube Party of Five: Sam Brooks

My YouTube Party of Five Five is a new series in which we invite people to share the videos they play at 2am while drunk at a party. This week: Sam Brooks.

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Music
Jan 18, 2019

On creativity, composition and CS80s: Ryan McPhun talks to Julia Holter

Acclaimed experimental pop musician Julia Holter's latest album Aviary appeared on multiple year-end lists - including Pitchfork and the Guardian, and she's touring New Zealand next week. Her NZ opening act, Ryan McPhun, interviews her ahead of her show.

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Television
Jan 17, 2019

An in-depth lyrical analysis Eminem’s theme song for the movie ‘Venom’

Last year, Marvel's Venom came out and was a huge hit, and you can watch it on Lightbox right now. But the real killer? Eminem's rap over the credits.

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Television
Jan 16, 2019

Can The Passage hang around long enough to justify watching it?

The Passage comes from a best-selling novel pedigree - but will the show last long enough to make good on that? Sam Brooks reviews the new show, which premiered on TVNZ last night.

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Gaming
Jan 15, 2019

A definitive guide to the utterly ludicrous Kingdom Hearts series

It's sold over 25 million copies across the world – but damned if anybody can make sense of it. Sam Brooks brings you the exhaustive, definitive guide to the world of Kingdom Hearts.

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Gaming
Jan 8, 2019

Plant zombies, Frozen fanfiction and Harry Potter: The most anticipated games of 2019

Another year, another twelve months full of video games that seem to exist only to drain your bank account - but which of these should you be hanging out for? Sam Brooks rounds up the most anticipated games of 2019.

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Television
Jan 2, 2019

Newspaper drama Press is black-hearted, tar-brained fun

The business of news is as dirty as the ink its printed in – or at least that's what Press thinks. Sam Brooks reviews the news drama from the BBC, which drops on Lightbox today.

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Gaming
Jan 2, 2019

Summer Reissue: The curious case of the Three Kingdoms video games

Creative Assembly released another spinoff to the Total War series, this time based around the Three Kingdoms War in China. Sam Brooks investigates why this period is a bizarrely popular one for video games.

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Music
Dec 29, 2018

Summer reissue: Chelsea Jade on her album Personal Best, a musical highlight of 2018

Before the release of one of this year's best album, Personal Best, Sam Brooks asked Chelsea Jade everything about her (and other people's) music.

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Television
Dec 29, 2018

Summer reissue: I watched 42 episodes of Outlander in a week

They said he couldn't do it, but what else are you going to do in seven days? Sam Brooks watched 42 episodes of Outlander in a single week to catch up before the fourth season premiere tonight on Lightbox.

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Television
Dec 23, 2018

The big winners on television in 2018

2018 was a year - and television was no exceptions. Sam Brooks is here to round up the year in TV. What went down, who won what, and who came out smiling?

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Music
Dec 22, 2018

The Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar: December 22

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, open the door to reveal a Spinoff writer’s short, sizzling commentary on a weighty subject. Our arbitrary and strictly enforced word limit: 365. Today: Sam Brooks on Delta Goodrem.

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Television
Dec 20, 2018

House of Drag power-rankings: Ladies and otherly identified, we have a winner

We have a winner - and it's a gamechanger. Sam Brooks power-ranks the last episode of House of Drag, and assesses the season in general.

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Television
Dec 17, 2018

Your Lightbox guide to television binge-watching over the holidays

It can be hard making small-talk with your loved ones over the holidays – which is exactly why television was invented. Sam Brooks shares the best shows to binge on Lightbox over the silly season, no matter your demographic.

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Television
Dec 13, 2018

House of Drag power rankings: The all-white rap challenge

House of Drag breaks out of the Drag Race mould with an all rap-challenge, with mixed results.

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Beverage
Dec 13, 2018

The Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar: December 13

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, open the door to reveal a Spinoff writer’s short, sizzling commentary on a weighty subject. Our arbitrary and strictly enforced word limit: 365. Today: Sam Brooks on why cocktail snobbery is for losers.

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Society
Dec 12, 2018

Shortland Street The Musical: A post-mortem

On Monday, it was announced that ATC’s Shortland Street: The Musical would be cancelling its planned 2019 tour. Sam Brooks analyses why the show might’ve fallen short of its ambitions – and what it says about the industry.

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Gaming
Dec 11, 2018

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a future-facing nostalgia playground

The latest entry in the Smash Bros. series doesn't just cash in on nostalgia, it builds on it. Sam Brooks reviews Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

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Television
Dec 7, 2018

Who plays who in Law and Order True Crime: The Menéndez Murders

It was the *other* double murder that defined the nineties – the one that wasn't OJ-related. Coming to Lightbox today is its TV dramatisation: Law and Order True Crime: The Menéndez Murders. But who are all these people?

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Television
Dec 6, 2018

House of Drag power rankings: Let me see y’all one two step

It's taken five episodes - but we've finally gotten to a choreography challenge. Sam Brooks power ranks the fifth episode of House of Drag. 

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