The trajectory of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” is about showing a full journey. What is interesting is that the former show runners who were involved in “Star Trek: Discovery” Season 2 are involved here and one can see the input in terms of depth as the season progressed. The episode “Dad” is in many shades very dark, which one might think would be too much for audiences. But if it is done with the right finesse and pushed by story, then it becomes undeniable television. The difference from where the show started and where it ends is, again, undeniable. Every character gets their perspective. But what this season finale episode does is mix the real with Zoey’s imaginary world and what it means. There are a few easter eggs and misdirects for sure but it shows her journey and its messy points with distinct verve and care.
Not giving away where “Dad” goes but it doesn’t cut corners. The songs are diametric and lay exactly well but it is how the episode concludes which is unfettered and true with the right song, the right balance, the right craft and the right acting. Jane Levy finds that balance and reward which hopefully is remembered come awards and Emmy time. This is not a light show but it has light moments and seems that certain parts were of course inspired by real life. The angle has built and feels true. There are stories for a second season clearly built in and will be interesting to see the path forward especially in the current climate. One thing is for sure “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” found a way to find the balance of musical and heart drama in its first season which many shows in the past in this vein have tried to do and failed. But this one succeeded.
By Tim Wassberg