Sam Brooks

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

Gaming
Sep 20, 2018

What is the PlayStation Classic and will it connect me to my misspent youth?

Last night, Sony announced the PlayStation Classic - a console that looks like a PlayStation One and plays those games too. Is that all it is, though?

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Television
May 28, 2018

Dancing with the Stars, week five: An icon goes home

For some reason, there's a prohibition theme this week on Dancing with the Stars NZ! Alcohol or no, these are the power rankings.

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Television
May 28, 2018

The savage and brutal love story of Killing Eve

All eight episodes of spy thriller-cum-love-story Killing Eve are now available to stream on TVNZ on Demand, and it's one of the best shows of the year.

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Gaming
May 25, 2018

Detroit: Become Human is David Cage’s biggest and most beautiful mess yet

A new David Cage game comes with a lot of hype and a lot of high promises. Does Detroit: Become Human meet the hype for the first time in Cage's career? Sam Brooks reviews.

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Television
May 22, 2018

The stars at the centre of TVNZ’s web series contest winner, Oddly Even

Last year, Oddly Even won TVNZ's inaugural New Blood web series competition. This year and $100K later, the series launches. Sam Brooks talks to Oddly Even's three lead actresses about the …

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Television
May 21, 2018

Dancing with the Stars, week four: Life in a post-Naz hellscape

Amazingly, Dancing with the Stars NZ continues despite Naz's untimely and controversial departure from the show. And as surely as the sun rises and sets, the power rankings come in.

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Society
May 21, 2018

Why I only saw women at this year’s comedy festival

Sam Brooks explains his decision to cut all men out of his comedy festival diet.

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Gaming
May 17, 2018

Counter struck: A diary of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament in Sydney

Half sports tournament, half trade show, all technology, all vaguely foreign to him. This is gaming editor's Sam Brooks' diary of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament in Sydney, where he spent three days last weekend.

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Television
May 17, 2018

Breaking news: Lightbox now has movies AND downloads

As of today, there's a bunch of new ways to Lightbox! Sam Brooks counts them all, including premium subscriptions, movies, downloads and a kids corner.

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Television
May 14, 2018

Dancing with the Stars NZ Power Rankings: Another star bites the dust

It's week three but it feels like we've never had a world without Dancing with the Stars. We're down one Real Housewife™ but there are still 11 contestants left.

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Society
May 13, 2018

My life in commuting

Commute week: Sam Brooks muses on the commutes of his life - from going to school with his grandfather to a puberty-filled school bus to bumming rides of friends, and what they meant to him.

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Television
May 1, 2018

‘I’m a basic bitch being educated’: Alice Snedden on her new TVNZ show

Alice Snedden's Bad News is a new TVNZ OnDemand show in which Alice Snedden investigates the issues she's interested in – and makes it all about herself. Sam Brooks talks to her.

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Television
Apr 30, 2018

Dancing with the Stars NZ Power Rankings: all 12, mercilessly graded

We're two nights into the dance off, and now we've seen all the acts. Who's trash talking? Who's balk walking?

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Television
Apr 29, 2018

The Dancing with the Stars NZ Power Rankings: The first seven

They challenge you to a dance-off. No trash talk, no back walk. Dance off. These are the power rankings for the first episode of highly anticipated celebrity-moving show, Dancing with the Stars NZ.

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Television
Apr 24, 2018

Seekers was the bonkers high-concept drama that 80s New Zealand deserved

Long-lost siblings? A high-stakes and seemingly pointless quest? A fake death? Sounds like a good time. Sam Brooks celebrates the forgotten Kiwi drama Seekers.

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Television
Apr 21, 2018

Why Prime Suspect’s Jane Tennison is one of TV’s greatest ever characters

All seven seasons of Prime Suspect drop on Lightbox today, and Sam Brooks is here to tell you why its central character Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) is one of television's most significant characters – ever.

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Gaming
Apr 19, 2018

What is Fortnite and why do people keep talking about it?

Welcome to the Cheat Sheet, a clickable, shareable, bite-sized FAQ on the news of the moment. Today: what is this Fortnite: Battle Royale thing that your kids keep talking about? Gaming editor Sam Brooks has you covered.

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Television
Apr 18, 2018

Ranking the Dancing with the Stars NZ contestants based on their promo videos

With all 12 contestants now announced, Sam Brooks already knows who is going to win based on their promo videos alone. These are his absolutely correct predictions.

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Gaming
Apr 17, 2018

Jade Empire is the black sheep of BioWare’s library

Xbox have announced a re-release slate of old games, including one that is little spoken of now: the mythic Chinese fantasy Jade Empire. Sam Brooks writes about the game's reception 13 years ago, and why it's all but forgotten now.

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Television
Apr 16, 2018

Buck House was an edgy cable drama wrapped up in a 70s sitcom

Buck House was an edgy sitcom from the 70s that manages to still be edgy and different now, though not for the right reasons. Sam Brooks muses upon the distinct pleasures of Buck House.

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Television
Apr 13, 2018

The icons, the eyebrows: Who is playing who in Feud: Bette and Joan

The new show by Ryan Murphy, Feud: Bette and Joan, hits Lightbox next week. Sam Brooks runs down which great current-day actor is playing which star of Hollywood's golden age, and where to check out their best work.

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Television
Apr 11, 2018

The weirdest and wildest things that happen to the characters on Modern Family

After seven seasons, the characters of Modern Family have gotten themselves into some wild, wacky and straight-up weird situations. Sam Brooks collects the best of them.

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Music
Apr 10, 2018

Kylie Minogue’s new album is a rare disappointment

On her new album, Kylie Minogue goes acoustic and courts a sub-Sheeran faux-country sound. It does not go well. Sam Brooks reviews.

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Gaming
Apr 10, 2018

Suikoden was Game of Thrones before Game of Thrones

Despite five numbered entries over eleven years, Suikoden remains a much loved but little known RPG series. Sam Brooks writes about one of his favourite video game series ever, and what makes it so special.

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Television
Apr 8, 2018

Killing Eve is a weird gem of a show and a triumphant comeback for Sandra Oh

A spy thriller by the woman who wrote Fleabag starring the woman who made you cry as Cristina Yang. Why wouldn't you want to watch that? Sam Brooks reviews.

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Gaming
Apr 6, 2018

Far Cry 5 shows off Ubisoft’s mastery of open world gameplay – and little else

With the latest entry in the Far Cry series, Ubisoft has shown they can master open world gameplay – but when are they going to actually master how to tell a story? Sam Brooks reviews.

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Gaming
Apr 3, 2018

A Way Out: A forward-looking game held back by macho bullshit

A game where two dudes break out of prison isn't groundbreaking, but A Way Out still tries to play with expectations. But is it successful? Sam Brooks reviews.

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