Sam Brooks

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

Gaming
Apr 20, 2019

The original 151 Pokémon ranked from worst to best

Sam Brooks digs into his childhood to present his magnum opus: a ranking of all 151 OG Pokémon.

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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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Gaming
Dec 4, 2018

The gaming gift guide for non-gamers this Christmas

You have to buy a gift for someone, and the one thing you know they're into is video games. But what the hell are you meant to buy them without looking like a fool?

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Television
Dec 3, 2018

Sex, scalpels and shit: The scuzziest things that happened on Ryan Murphy’s Nip/Tuck

Before American Horror Story, before Glee, before Pose, Ryan Murphy was television's biggest peddler of schlock. The biggest heap of it? Nip/Tuck, all available on TVNZ on Demand.

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Food
Dec 1, 2018

The Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar: December 1

Today: Sam Brooks with a hot tip for a hot meal on Christmas Day.

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Television
Nov 29, 2018

House of Drag, episode four recap: A shock exit leaves us shook

It's our first shock elimination - and one that genuinely leaves the show worse off. Sam Brooks power-ranks episode four of House of Drag.

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Basement Theatre
Nov 29, 2018

A strap-on covered in peanut butter: An oral history of the Basement Christmas Show

The Basement Theatre Christmas Show is celebrating its tenth year as the most fun you can have in December.

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Television
Nov 29, 2018

Mike McRoberts, Matilda Rice, and a lot of dead fish: What’s coming to Mediaworks 2019

Mediaworks launched their 2019 slate today. Sam Brooks has the lowdown on what you should be watching (and voting) for.

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Gaming
Nov 28, 2018

The Spinoff investigates… the Hawke’s Bay mansion in Hitman 2

Hitman 2 has a storyline set in a New Zealand beachfront mansion. So how accurately does Hitman 2 capture Hawke's Bay?

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Television
Nov 22, 2018

House of Drag power rankings: Finding your heels on the catwalk

It's costume chaos week on House of Drag – but who surfs the waves and who gets washed ashore? Sam Brooks power ranks episode three of House of Drag.

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Television
Nov 20, 2018

My Brilliant Friend is handsome television – but is that enough?

It's a story as old as time: a great book makes for a perfectly fine television series. Sam Brooks reviews My Brilliant Friend.

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