Sam Brooks

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

Television
Nov 25, 2020

Review: Netflix's Hillbilly Elegy is an ugly, empty holler of a film

What happens if you take a personal memoir and strip it of everything that made it unique? You get Hillbilly Elegy.

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Television
Nov 18, 2020

Review: The Queen’s Gambit is popcorn fun wrapped up in prestige regalia

Everybody’s watching The Queen’s Gambit, but what about this limited Netflix series makes it so damn compelling?

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Television
Nov 15, 2020

Review: The Crown shines with Diana, stumbles with Thatcher

As The Crown creeps closer to the present day, its apolitical approach is becoming more of a problem.

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Television
Nov 13, 2020

How did Anika Moa become the best interviewer in New Zealand?

Anika Moa is back with a new show and she’s doing what she does best: talking to people.

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Gaming
Nov 9, 2020

What is Among Us and should I let my kid play it?

It’s the third most streamed game in the world, but what the hell is it?

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Review
Nov 7, 2020

Review: The PlayStation 5 is a delightful big boy of a console

The Playstation 5 is Sony's entry into the new generation of gaming. How does the big unit fare?

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Television
Nov 5, 2020

The good, the great and the homegrown: What has TVNZ got in store for 2021?

This morning, TVNZ announced what we'll all be watching in 2021. Here's a quick rundown of what you've got to look forward to.

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NEON
Nov 5, 2020

A swamp full of fools: Who plays who on The Comey Rule

When you drain the swamp, these people and the actors playing them will be all that's left.

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Television
Nov 2, 2020

Review: The Mandalorian is proof that Star Wars’ future is in TV

The second season of The Mandalorian is more of the same, but it’s also a signal of where the world’s biggest franchise is headed.

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Television
Nov 1, 2020
Music
Oct 28, 2020

The greatest Silver Scrolls performances of the past decade

Each year, the highlight of the annual Silver Scrolls ceremony aren't the speeches, but the covers. Here are our favourites.

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Media
Oct 24, 2020

How Sophie Henderson got Baby Done done

The writer of the acclaimed new Rose Matafeo comedy talks on how her own experiences as an expectant mother inspired the script.

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Television
Oct 17, 2020

Review: Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 is Aaron Sorkin at his best

Our most verbose screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, makes good on all his hype in just his second turn as director.

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Television
Oct 15, 2020

Is Renters the Cops of 2020?

Is there still a place for a show that portrays property managers as housing market heroes?

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Politics
Oct 15, 2020

Election 2020: The arts and culture policies in two minutes

Our very quick guide to what's on offer for our arts and culture sector.

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Food
Oct 14, 2020

We were lovin’ it: Farewell, McDonald’s Queen Street

We bid adieu to Auckland's oldest Maccas with some saucy stories from a Queen Street icon.

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Television
Oct 9, 2020

Review: Educators is New Zealand’s darkest and funniest comedy

The second season of TVNZ on Demand's satire skewers New Zealand's school system, brilliantly and brutally.

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Books
Oct 8, 2020

The impossible kindness of Stan Walker

His gripping memoir deserves a content warning for just about every trauma you can think of.

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Television
Oct 2, 2020

Review: Netflix’s Emily in Paris is all glamour, no gold

Emily in Paris wants to be Sex and the City but ends up being pure merde instead.

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Television
Sep 28, 2020

Investigation: How old are the West family on Westside?

Westside has covered twenty years of New Zealand history in six seasons of television – but how old are these Westies meant to be?

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Politics
Sep 26, 2020

Creative differences: Labour, National and the Greens debate 2020 arts policy

On Thursday night, arts trust Te Taumata Toi-A-Iwi, in association with The Spinoff, hosted a pre-election forum on arts policy. Sam Brooks picks out the best moments.

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Television
Sep 24, 2020

Morgana O’Reilly is everywhere

Three shows in one month? Sounds ridiculous, but that’s New Zealand actress Morgana O’Reilly for you.

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Politics
Sep 22, 2020

To fund or not to fund: What our political parties think about arts policy

On Thursday night the Arts, Culture and Heritage spokespeople from the major political parties will have a conversation on arts policy. We've got their takes here.

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Neon and Sky
Sep 21, 2020

How to win an Emmy: The secrets revealed

We took a look at the Neon and Sky catalogues to gain a little insight on how a show can maximise its chances.

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Television
Sep 18, 2020

Review: Ratched is a hateful piece of misogynist garbage

Netflix drama Ratched aims to rehabilitate the villain from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but would do better in the electric chair.

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Society
Sep 12, 2020

The show must go on: A trip to the theatre in level 2.5

When you're gulping down a wine from behind a mask and can't mill around pre and post-show, does the theatre experience lose its shine?

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