The American Sci-Fi and Fantasy Media track streamed a live panel discussion about NBC’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist on their YouTube and Facebook channels Friday at 3PM. The panelists jumped right in on their discussion of season 1 and some of their hopes and speculations about the already-confirmed season 2.
One of the first topics discussed was how each of the panelists became fans of the show in the first place. Zoey’s isn’t what most people would automatically think of as a “genre” show, and a lot of the early marketing focused on the schtick and the comedy. Almost all of the panelists, whether they grudgingly gave it a shot or knew they were going to be all-in for anything that was a musical, agreed that they were hooked from the first episode. The panel agreed that the hook of the show—that Zoey receives the power to hear people’s inner emotions through song due to a medical accident—is part of the world-building and what puts it firmly in the genre camp.
The complexity of the show is one of the things that makes it so good and what kept viewers coming back to it. One panelist noted that they really enjoyed the way the show plays in the extremes of deep sadness, grief, and trauma and high comedy and slapstick. It’s something they want to see continue in season 2. At the same time, the show does an incredible job of making the characters relatable. There is something that everyone can connect with in the various storylines. There was general agreement as well that while the show is wonderfully deep and complex, it did fall into the trope of having a love triangle as one of the core conflicts. It led to the under-utilization of Skylar Astin as Max, and the panelists are looking forward to seeing how his character will change and grow in season 2.
Since Zoey’s is essentially a new musical each week, it was natural to try to find out from the panelists which song, or the show’s treatment of a song, was their favorite. While they named several songs, there was one song everyone agreed on as the best of the season: “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten as performed by Sandra Mae Frank and other members of the Deaf West Theater company. The song was performed entirely in ASL without subtitles, which it was agreed was a particularly brave thing to do on network television. That moment was one of the defining moments of the show and the season.
The way the show is structured spotlights amazing talents even if they’re only a one-time guest star. It allowed us to see people like Bernadette Peters and Naoko Mori in the same series. The panelists shared their wish list for other Broadway stars to make appearances in the show, including Leslie Odom, Jr., Sutton Foster, Idina Menzel, and Patti LuPone.
If you want to check out Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, all of season 1 is available on various streaming channels, and though season 2 is confirmed, there is no release date, yet.