Learn here why you should listen to ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’
As the streaming wars have ramped up, all anyone seems to talk about is what’s next on Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. Lately, it seems like network television has been mostly…meh. Of course, there are some bright and sparkly exceptions, we’re looking at you, The Good Place, but for the most part, networks have played it safe, leaving all of the binge-worthy programming to the streaming services.
Enter Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, which maybe, just maybe can fill the gaping hole that the conclusion of The Good Place is going to leave. Since someone at NBC had enough vision to bring us Michael Schur’s masterpiece, chances are they could bring us another standout show. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is our best shot at NBC delivering brilliant television again.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist begins as anything but extraordinary. Zoey (Jane Levy) is a slightly socially awkward computer coder at a generically hip San Francisco tech company. Stress headaches and her father’s medical history send the claustrophobic Zoey to get an MRI, where the tech tries to ease her nerves with some music.
Mid-MRI, an earthquake hits, causing the music to glitch and leaves Zoey bombarded with music in a claustrophobic MRI tube experiencing tremors. As Zoey leaves the procedure, suddenly it seems as though all of San Francisco is singing The Beatles “Help!”.
Fearing for her sanity, Zoey eventually comes to the realization that she can somehow hear, and even see the people around her expressing their feelings through music. Zoey’s newfound skill delivers her a whole new life, providing her a new insight into the people around her.
Ignoring everything else about the show, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’s casting is on point. Full of talent that we would happily watch as they read the phonebook, the series has delivered some of the most likable actors on television.
The ever-lovely Jane Levy (Shameless, Suburgatory), brings her distinct versatility to the title role, but it’s the supporting cast that has us the most excited. Zoey’s parents are played by the solidly spectacular Mary Steenburgen (The Help, Book Club) and Peter Gallagher (Covert Affairs, Grace and Frankie) while the equally wonderful Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls, Parenthood) is her no-nonsense boss.
Even without that star power, the rest of the cast, although slightly lesser-known, is nothing short of exceptional. Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) is the perfect embodiment of Max, Zoey’s coworker who is clearly secretly crushing on her. While Alex Newell (Glee) is the tell-it-like-it-is neighbor of our dreams.
The thoughtful characters
Series creator Austin Winsberg brought a well-rounded and thoughtful assembly of characters to Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, which is truly where the show shines. We are borderline obsessed with Alex Newell’s Mo, Zoey’s gender ambiguous neighbor, who takes Zoey’s newfound quirk in stride. Mo perfectly sums up the shift that comes with Zoey’s musical interruptions, claiming “this is the first thing that I find remotely interesting about you”.
Meanwhile, John Clarence Stewart (Marvel’s Luke Cage) as Zoey’s workplace crush Simon is instantly both captivating and dynamic. Simon’s vulnerability as he navigates his grief has us all crushing a little.
And now we wait
We see so much potential in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. The second episode, which NBC sneakily previewed and is now holding back for reasons unknown, feels like it’s where the show hits its stride.
While Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist originally premiered on January 7th, the show doesn’t return until February 16th, where it slides into its regular time slot. If you’re intrigued enough to check out the pilot, you can stream it on Hulu now.