It is about more than just the music on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.
I freely admit that I thought it was more about a fun gimmick on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Zoey Clarke hears people singing in her head while no one else does. I figured it was the classic idea of knowing what people are thinking. Well, there is that, but there is also so much more. It truly is about more than just the music.
Here are my Top 5 reasons to watch.
1. It has a lot of heart.
Sure, there are crowd-pleasing performances and a super cool office where Zoey (played by Jane Levy) works as a coder. There is even a bit of a love triangle brewing. But what truly tugs at my heartstrings is the way Zoey uses her new “power” to help others.
Having access to other people’s innermost thoughts sometimes feels like a burden to Zoey. Other times it feels like a beautiful gift. Either way, Zoey does not run from what she feels is her responsibility. She faces some awkward conversations as well as some funny ones. The ones she manages to have with her parents (played by Peter Gallagher and Mary Steenburgen) are truly moving.
Zoey’s dad is suffering from a debilitating and progressive neurological disorder. His communication skills have plummeted. Can Zoey’s “playlist” connect with her dad?
2. Amazing friends
Zoey has been coder at SPRQPOINT, a high tech company run by her boss Joan (played by Lauren Graham), for several years. She has worked the entire time side by side with her best friend Max (played by Skylar Astin). Max has Zoey’s back as she seeks a promotion.
Back at home, Zoey gets closer to her neighbor Mo (played by Alex Newell). Mo is a quick-witted music aficianodo and DJ. When Zoey starts hearing others sing to her, she consults Mo. While they did not seem to have much in common before, the pair forges a fun and meaningful friendship.
The dance numbers in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist are very impressive. We are not just talking about a few people dancing. There are full-on group performances that move throughout different spaces. Zoey’s mental flashmobs can break out pretty much anywhere – at the office, on the street and more.
What is even more amazing is how those who are not part of Zoey’s “playlist” are also moving throughout the scene in normal fashion. So you have a large number of dancers completing complex routines around other people who are not dancing. Finally, the choreography includes fantastic transitions from dancing and singing mode back to a regular routine.
4. Rooting for Zoey
Zoey is very likeable and relatable. While her coding skills are off the charts, her social life is sometimes flailing. When it comes to programming, she is very confident. When it comes to relationships, she is not always so brave.
Zoey is trying to find her way in the world at her job and with her family and friends. We see Zoey evolve as she experiences the “playlist” with other people. I liken her to a modern Mary Richards of the Mary Tyler Moore Show (yes, that dates me) as she navigates life, sometimes fumbling, and sometimes exceeding her own expectations.
5. The music
Okay, I know I said it’s about more than the music, but there is no “playlist” without the music!
Bursts of musical theater throughout Zoey’s day is exciting. Often it is fun and even humorous. Other times, it can be sad or inspirational. The music evokes many different emotions.
We get to hear this prolific group of actors singing themselves in their own unique styles.
I “tuned” in for Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and found so much more than I expected. I am already engaged with the characters and looking forward to seeing more.
The cast of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is being honored with the “Rising Star Cast Award” at SCAD aTVfest 2020 on February 29th. After receiving the award, there will be a screening and panel. Jane Levy, Skylar Astin, Alex Newell and John Clarence Stewart will all be present along with producer and choreographer Mandy Moore.
The next episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs Sunday, February 23rd at 9/8c on NBC.