Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist is the biggest current musical-slash-comedy-slash-drama! This amazing powerhouse show got me through the beginning of quarantine. The premise of the show is that one day, Zoey, who is played by Jane Levy, receives the power to listen to other people's 'heart songs.' She learns the true feelings of people in her family, at her workplace, and in her friendships to help the people around her. This musical show has an interesting premise that is supplemented by a talented cast and solid plot. I absolutely love this show for a variety of reasons.
1. Jane Levy is not a professional singer.
In hearing that Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist is a musical show, you would expect that the main actor would be a professional singer. Some of the actors have singing experiences such as Fox's 'Glee' and Broadway shows. However, despite Jane's singing talent (which mostly occurs in episode eight), Jane Levy, who plays Zoey, said she could not sing before the show. This interesting fact demonstrates the incredible amount of effort and time put into the show that makes it so lovely to watch.
2. Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist has a moving and intricate plot.
The plot is one of the most important aspects of a TV show, and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist hits on that perfectly. The main character, Zoey, has small problems every episode, along with overarching plot points such as her father's inevitable death and her confusing friendship and relationships. She also deals with a gender divide and pressure as a programmer at her workplace, SPRQ Point. Additionally, all the people around her deal with many of their own issues, which makes this show all the more realistic.
3. There's some well-known actors in this show.
If you're not quite sold on the show yet, there are tons of familiar faces to look forward to seeing. Just to point out a few, viewers can recognize Skylar Astin, who plays Zoey's best friend Max, from the Pitch Perfect movies. Renee Elise Goldsberry, Stephanie Styles, and Alice Lee, who have all landed roles on Broadway before, have guest or recurring roles in the series. Other recognizable names include Lauren Graham, Peter Gallagher, and Mary Steenburgen. This cast is stacked with talent and singing ability.
4. This show is based on a true story.
Austin Winsburg, the creator of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, based some of the plot around his experience with his father's Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. A few years earlier, his father had passed away from this degenerative neurological disease. He eventually decided to tell this story through Zoey, making that the main plot and adding supplemental plot to form this show. Realistic events and emotions can be seen throughout the show. In a year full of heartache, this true story at least gives a small sense of comfort and understanding into the world.
5. The soundtrack is made of awesome music.
The soundtrack to this musical-dramedy is amazing. It's compiled of both older and newer songs that show the true feelings of the show's characters. There are sad or romantic songs for all of the confusing relationships in the show, like Bastille and Marshmello's 'Happier' and Don McLean's 'American Pie.' There are also comedic songs for the dramatic interactions between coworkers and rivals, such as Brandy and Monica's 'The Boy is Mine' and DJ Khaled's 'All I Do is Win.' The variety of eras and genres make the music a treat to listen to.
6. This show is clearly and openly diverse.
One of the standout points in the show is the effort at diversity throughout the cast. Both John Clarence Stewart, who plays a love interest of Zoey, and Alex Newell, who plays a friend of Zoey's, are black. Newell's character is also gender-fluid. Other recurring characters are played by Alice Lee, a Chinese-American actor who plays Zoey's sister-in-law, and Kapil Talwalker, an Indian-American actor who plays workplace rival to Zoey. Additionally, there are quite a few other POC guest cast members. It's refreshing to see multiple diverse characters besides the expected token few. I love the fact that these characters' races are a part of the character, not the only driving force behind these characters like some other shows have done. One episode also focuses on a father's relationship with his deaf daughter. In the second season, Alice Lee and Kapil Talwalker grow from recurring to main cast members. Additionally, other POC characters are slated to be added in the second season as well.
7. There's a second season!
There's going to be a second season of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist! The season will premiere on January 5th on NBC and will also be streamable on Peacock and Hulu. Due to the massive success of the first season, a second season was ordered during quarantine and started filming in September. Hopefully, this new season will sort out the emotional cliffhanger and resolve some relationships from the first season. I'm especially excited about the new plot points and characters expected to be in the new season of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist in 2021.
I would definitely say that this is one of my favorite shows of all time. If you're interested in any of this show's genres: Drama, Comedy, Romance, or Musical, you should definitely check out Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. I was drawn in by the rare musical aspect of the show and its cast, but the plot, characters, and emotion throughout this show are what makes loving Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist an inevitability.