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Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist advance review: A show you’ll write love ballads about

If you watch only one new show in 2020, make sure it’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Check out our advance review to find out why this is NBC’s newest must-see show.

Ever since Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired its musical episode, “Once More, with Feeling,” viewers of just about any television series imaginable have asked for their own. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, thankfully, won’t have the problem of trying to fit a fanbase’s wants with the series’ needs. It’s already a musical—and a great one, at that.

The show follows Zoey Clarke (Jane Levy) as she comes to terms with her newfound ability to know everyone’s inner monologues through song and dance numbers. Through this seemingly ridiculous premise, NBC’s newest drama perhaps says more about the human condition than any of its more “realistic” offerings.

When we don’t have the ability to use our words—when people have trouble communicating or no one to communicate with but have emotional turmoil raging inside them—we have music and dance. It’s fitting, then, that Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist creates the best viewer-audience connections through its musical format, with no small thanks due to its multi-talented cast.

Jane Levy’s Zoey is smart without being painfully nerdy. She struggles like anyone else and handles her personal difficulties, without any of them seeming like a weakness. Thankfully, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist also avoids pushing its main character into any pesky tropes surrounding “strong female characters” with emotional walls. Much like the series itself, there’s a heart to the character that is both genuine and complex.

In addition to Levy, the series features television, film and Broadway veterans like Skylar Astin, Mary Steenburgen, Peter Gallagher, and Lauren Graham. The ensemble clicks almost instantly, unlike what you might be used to seeing in other, rough-around-the-edges pilots. There’s no need to build chemistry between cast members or work up to knowing them—all of that is just there from the beginning.

skylar astin and alex newell from zoey's extraordinary playlist

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 04: Skylar Astin and Alex Newell performs onstage at the 87th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

Last but incredibly not least, Alex Newell plays Mo, Zoey’s neighbor and music guru. Newell’s Mo is the type of character that will (hopefully) single-handedly make viewers fall in love with Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Beyond having an extraordinary singing voice, there’s also the frank, sassy, and downright hilarious side to NBC’s newest gem.

But don’t just take my word for it. Check out Mo’s reaction when Zoey’s gift kicks in at a coffee shop in this clip from the series’ official twitter account.

Besides laughing, crying, and constantly finding something relatable in Zoey’s daily struggles, viewers will also be treated to the epic choreography of Mandy Moore (So You Think You Can Dance, La La Land). Between that and the almost constant flow of big-name dance “extras,” like beloved So You Think You Can Dance all-star Robert Roldan, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is also the perfect series for dance lovers.

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The series truly skimps on nothing. From the acting to the vocals, the dancing to the narrative that delivers viewers a good laugh, a good cry, and everything in between, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is the complete package. So, if you were on the fence or are just now hearing about it, make sure you give this new series a watch.

Catch the premiere of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist‘s on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 10/9c on NBC.