Sam Brooks

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

Lightbox
Nov 14, 2018

The best cult TV classics to stream on Lightbox right now

Inarguably the best sports drama of all time, Friday Night Lights, dropped in its entirety on Lightbox last week. Sam Brooks on why you should watch it – and the other cult classics you might not know are on the service.

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Gaming
Nov 12, 2018

The Playstation Classic is the easiest way to get your nostalgic-gaming fix

It's twenty of the games of your youth in one package – but is the Playstation Classic worth the price tag? Sam Brooks had a swing at the new-old console.

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Food
Nov 12, 2018

The Spinoff's official Tim Tam power rankings

Six flavours, six packets of biscuit, one power-ranking. Sam Brooks risks his waistline for the cake-biscuit known as the Tim Tam.

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Television
Nov 12, 2018

The Little Drummer Girl is Le Carre, but cool

What do you get when you mix a South Korean auteur, a French-sounding British spy author and a ridiculous attractive cast? A genuine must-see.

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Lightbox
Nov 9, 2018

What is Scandi-drama and how do I get into it?

You've heard of them. All your cool friends and your coolest aunt watches them – but what the hell are these blonde dramas with subtitles? Sam Brooks is here to school you on Scandi-noir.

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Lightbox
Nov 5, 2018

A tale of survival: 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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Media
Nov 3, 2018

The obsession with Meghan Markle, explained!

Meghan Markle and her ranked but unimportant husband came to New Zealand this week, and a huge amount of people lost their collective and metaphorical shit

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Television
Oct 31, 2018

Lisa Kudrow is the Meryl Streep of television

To you, she's just Phoebe from Friends. To me, she's the one of the finest actresses of the small screen, writes Sam Brooks.

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Politics
Oct 26, 2018

All the biggest burns in the Colin Craig v Cameron Slater judgment

The High Court yesterday ruled in the latest legal tussle between disgraced Conservative leader Colin Craig and disgraced blogger Cameron Slater

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Television
Oct 25, 2018

The absolutely 100% real contestants of Celebrity Treasure Island 2019

It has been announced that Celebrity Treasure Island, the iconic New Zealand reality show that almost killed Mountain Dewer Lana Coc-Kroft, will return in 2019.

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Gaming
Oct 21, 2018

Soul Calibur 6 is a return to fanservice form

Does my soul still burn? After six years, kind of! Sam Brooks reviews Soul Calibur 6.

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Gaming
Oct 19, 2018

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the best in the series – but it’s not really an Assassin’s Creed game

It's time for the annual Assassin's Creed game, but 2018's version doesn't feel very much like an Assassin's Creed at all. So why does it work so well? Sam Brooks reviews.

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Television
Oct 19, 2018

Review: Sorry For Your Loss is a heartfelt glossary of grief

The new drama from Facebook Watch (yes, that's a thing) is the small screen's most delicately rendered and thoughtful tackling of grief since Six Feet Under.

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Television
Oct 16, 2018

“I’m the Mary Berry”: Great Kiwi Bake-Off hosts Hayley Sproull and Madeleine Sami

It's been a beloved cultural phenemenon for a few years now, but the Bake-Off finally makes it way to our shores. We chat to the two hosts of the Great Kiwi Bake-Off ahead of its premiere tonight.

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Society
Oct 15, 2018

And the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2018 is…

Last year it was the ubiquitous seagull! But who has nabbed the title of the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2018? Sam Brooks has the result.

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Society
Oct 12, 2018

The Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2018

RNZ is set to announce the Bird of the Year for 2018 on Monday morning. But what about our less-loved birds? We present: Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2018.

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Gaming
Oct 11, 2018

Dragon Quest XI is a hundred hours of the warmest, gentlest therapy

Sam Brooks has played over one hundred hours of Dragon Quest - and found it to be an act of self-care, not grinding torture. This is his story.

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Television
Oct 9, 2018

Wigs, wigs, wigs: The pre-Golden Age brilliance of Alias

Alias is mostly remembered as the show that launched Jennifer Garner's career. But it deserves more kudos for being a genuinely groundbreaking show, writes Sam Brooks.

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Gaming
Oct 2, 2018

Review: Life is Strange 2 is as effective – and unsubtle – as ever

Life is Strange 2 repeats the sins of its predecessor – for good and for bad. Sam Brooks reviews.

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Television
Sep 28, 2018

Pilot Week: The Verdict

Three's Pilot Week is done – but how good were the pilots, and which ones should get commissioned? Sam Brooks reviews.

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Television
Sep 26, 2018

Review: Anika Moa Unleashed returns for a successful second lap

Anika Moa Unleashed had a triumphant first season, and showcased the singer-personality as one of our best interviewers, but what does the second season do with her?

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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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