In the Golden Globes race for Best Comedy/Musical Series, a category that will most likely boast shows about a riches-to-rags family saga, Catherine the Great and a cadre of vampires, there may not be a more unique offering than NBC’s “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” The show, which centers on programmer Zoey’s (Jane Levy) ability to hear people’s inner thoughts expressed through song, is closing in on a series nomination at the Golden Globes, currently sitting in eighth place in our combined odds. Here are five reasons why the joyous musical series deserves one of those five spots.
1. “Zoey’s” is an unconventional but compelling TV musical
The work of translating song and dance to the screen is especially tricky business. “Zoey’s” has pulled it off with aplomb, though, building in the usual absurdity of its characters breaking into song in its very premise. While the show doesn’t boast an original score, it wisely curates its title playlist with an exciting mix of contemporary pop, classic rock and a smattering of Broadway show tunes. Considering how much Globes voters love musicals on both TV and in film — “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Glee” and “Mozart in the Jungle” all took home trophies, and a whopping 18 musical films scored bids and some wins in the past 20 years — a small-screen musical this well done should not miss out on a nomination.
SEE How ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ Season 2 could help the show’s Golden Globes chances
2. The show is joyous escapism in a year in need of a pick-me-up
Although “Zoey’s” premiered a few months before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., it quickly became one of the best and happiest means of escapism from the devastation of the real world. In a year characterized by social isolation, it feels downright joyous to watch Zoey connect with the people in her life in such an intimate, heartfelt way. Just like “The Prom,” which delivers a much-needed dose of cheer amid our dark times, the sheer fun of the show should give its awards prospects a boost. “The Prom” is currently slated to win the Best Comedy/Musical Film trophy, so its TV counterpoint “Zoey’s” deserves at least a nomination.
3. It movingly grapples with important issues too
To its credit, “Zoey’s” doesn’t focus solely on fun musical numbers to the detriment of character development or drama. At its heart, the show is a meditation on grief and loss, with Zoey’s emotional journey in the first season unfolding as her father’s condition — he has the degenerative disease progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) — gradually worsens from the pilot to the first season finale. Along the way, the series has spotlighted other important topics, too, including gender identity and expression, anchored by a powerful performance from the brilliant Alex Newell.
SEE Jane Levy (‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’) could be another TV star who is music to Golden Globe voters’ ears
4. A series nomination would honor its entire ensemble
Our current combined odds only have series lead Levy anywhere close to a nomination — the actress is currently just one spot away from our five predicted nominees — but a series bid would in a way recognize “Zoey’s” terrific ensemble and the show as a whole even though the actors wouldn’t actually win the award themselves. From Zoey’s family played by Globes winners Peter Gallagher (“Short Cuts”) and Mary Steenburgen (“Melvin and Howard”) to her co-workers played by Globes nominee Lauren Graham (“Gilmore Girls”), Skylar Astin and John Clarence Stewart to her best friend Mo (Newell), each actor gets a share of the musical spotlight, and they all deliver.
5. The Big Four networks shouldn’t go totally unrepresented
Globes voters are famous for spreading the wealth among broadcast networks, premium channels and streamers. With new streaming services debuting in rapid succession, though, broadcast series are getting squeezed out of the top categories. None of last year’s Best Comedy/Musical Series nominees hailed from a broadcast network, but the previous year, NBC’s “The Good Place” held down the fort. Our predicted lineup ices out the Big Four networks, as we expect the nominees will hail from Apple TV+ (“Ted Lasso”), Hulu (“The Great,” “Ramy”), FX (“What We Do in the Shadows”) and the niche network Pop TV (“Schitt’s Creek”). Shows from HBO (“Insecure”) and HBO Max (“The Flight Attendant”) are on the cusp of the top five too. “Zoey’s” is a fresh, innovative offering from one of the Big Four — let’s not forget that the Globes air on NBC too — and it easily deserves a spot alongside these other series.
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