Sam Brooks

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

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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Gaming
Sep 25, 2018

Review: Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a return to happy wartime form

It's taken three games to get there – but Valkyria Chronicles 4 finally recaptures the addictive and bizarrely positive magic of the first game.

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Television
Sep 23, 2018

Comedy Pilot Week is upon us. Here's what you need to know

Three's Comedy Pilot Week starts this Sunday night on Three - but what is this newfangled thing?

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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
Sep 17, 2018

Minimum is an essential bridge between bleak statistics and human reality

61% of people working on the minimum wage in New Zealand are women. RNZ's new documentary series gives a voice - and more importantly, a face - to these women.

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Gaming
Sep 11, 2018

Shadow of the Tomb Raider limps the trilogy to a close

This generation's Tomb Raider trilogy comes to a close - and it's with a limp, not a wild leap into the future. Sam Brooks reviews. The Tomb Raider series is the Maria Sharapova of …

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Music
Sep 8, 2018

How did P!nk get so huge?

If you expected one pop singer to have five sold-out shows at Spark Arena in 2018, would you have expected it to be P!nk?

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Gaming
Sep 5, 2018

Take notes or get left for dead: Spider-Man is a landmark triumph for gaming

Spider-Man is an unqualified triumph of a game - but the best thing about it is also the most surprising. Sam Brooks reviews.

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Television
Sep 4, 2018

The best moments of The Simpsons, as chosen by the cast (of the NZ show)

It's one of the the longest-running television shows of all time – but what do people remember about it? The cast of the post-apocalyptic madcap theatre show based on The Simpsons weighs in.

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Television
Aug 30, 2018

Alibi is a quietly groundbreaking triumph for New Zealand television

Plus6Four Productions' non-linear who-dun-it web-series Alibi is something entirely new for New Zealand television - and it largely nails the landing.

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Media
Aug 26, 2018

Why Rose Matafeo winning best show at the Edinburgh Fringe is such a huge deal

Last night Rose Matafeo won the Edinburgh Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of the most prestigious awards for comedians anywhere.

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Music
Aug 24, 2018

Baby, you’ll be famous: Lady Gaga’s The Fame, ten years on

Impossibly, Lady GaGa's debut album The Fame came out ten years ago this week. Sam Brooks looks back at the album that launched an icon.

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Television
Aug 23, 2018

Hey Porkchop! The most iconic moments from Drag Race’s early years

They're the lost seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, but now they're back for New Zealand's viewing pleasure. Sam Brooks rounds up the early-episode moments that continue to live on in infamy.

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Television
Aug 19, 2018

It’s just quite funny, that’s all: In defence of Family Guy

Family Guy has been on our airwaves for almost 20 years, and mostly critically reviled. Sam Brooks stands up for the perennial punching bag.

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Music
Aug 17, 2018

Aretha Franklin was more than just the Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin has died. Sam Brooks remembers the Queen.

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Music
Aug 16, 2018

The 60 best Madonna songs in honour of her 60th birthday

Madonna turns sixty today, so Sam Brooks rounds up the best sixty Madonna songs to celebrate this with her.

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Television
Aug 15, 2018

RuPaul’s Drag Race is now on TVNZ! Here’s what you need to know

Been living under a proverbial rock for the past ten years and have never heard of RuPaul's Drag Race? Don't worry, Sam Brooks has you covered.

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Television
Aug 11, 2018

The dark and depressing reality of Wile E Coyote

Funny slapstick comedy about a wild dog trying to eat a bird or a treatise on the meaningless of all human pursuits? Sam Brooks watched some Wile E. Coyote cartoons.

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Society
Aug 3, 2018

Why ‘do the work’ is the key to writing about people who aren’t like you

How do you write about an experience your own - and do it without offending anybody? Sam Brooks offers a solution: do the work.

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Television
Aug 2, 2018

When Shortland Street cuts, it cuts deep

On Monday night's episode, the possibility of a woman aborting her child because of potential medical issues was raised. Controversy ensued, which says a lot about Shortland Street's place in our culture.

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Gaming
Aug 1, 2018

The weird, the beautiful, the unfundable: A look at Kickstarter’s gaming section

Popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has been a boon for video game developers for a few years now. Sam Brooks investigates the less glamourous side of the platform.

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Gaming
Jul 24, 2018

The big unnaturals: What’s up with breasts in video games?

If you participate in a certain dark corner of the internet, you'll know that a lot of people are talking about video game breasts – and the fight to keep them unrealistic.

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Music
Jul 20, 2018

Chelsea Jade: ‘I want young women to like feel like they have someone on their side’

We ask Chelsea Jade everything about her (and other people's) music.

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Lightbox
Jul 18, 2018

What’s Katherine Heigl been up to, you guys?

Season eight of Suits starts dropping on Lightbox tomorrow – and Katherine Heigl is coming along with it. Sam Brooks details where the former TV princess has been up to since her heyday.

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Television
Jul 16, 2018

Review: Mistress, Mercy struggles against the constraints of doco-drama

Based on one of the most notorious murder cases in New Zealand history, Mistress, Mercy finds itself hamstrung by the limits of the doco-drama genre.

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Gaming
Jul 15, 2018

How BioWare saved Star Wars from disaster

In the midst of the bad prequels, after a slew of bad video games, and before the contested sequels, there was Knights of the Old Republic

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Television
Jul 12, 2018

Sweetie darling: Why Absolutely Fabulous is still utterly fantastic

Absolutely Fabulous is one of the best comedies of all time, no question. Sam Brooks explains why.

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