'Hello, Dolly!': Zoey is back where she belongs in exclusive Season 2 clip from 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist'

Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY
·4 min read

Fear not, "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" fans: She's back where she belongs.

Season two of NBC's musical dramedy about a woman who magically hears everyone's thoughts through musical numbers returns Jan. 5 (8 EST/PST), picking up six weeks after the death of Zoey's father Mitch (Peter Gallagher). She's been hiding away at her mother's (Mary Steenburgen) house in mourning, but faces her first day back at work since the funeral.

"I liked the idea that Zoey had kind of been hiding from the world and... being in this bubble, not only from the grief perspective but ... it also just felt like a good metaphor for quarantining," creator Austin Winsberg tells USA TODAY.

"To me, it was kind of a nod to the pandemic without us having to make corona a part of the show. It was important to me to not have the show take place in a COVID world, because the show is hopeful ... and there was something about seeing people sing and dance with masks on that I thought would take us out of the world of the show."

All the while, Zoey's magic powers have kept quiet – until now. In an extended clip exclusive to USA TODAY, Zoey returns to the SPRQ Point office, and learns that the music hasn't died for good. Her co-workers, including newcomer George (Harvey Guillén, "What We Do In The Shadows"), hit her with a big ensemble rendition of 1960s Broadway hit "Hello, Dolly!"

Zoey (Jane Levy) returns to work for the first time since her father's (Peter Gallagher) death, greeted by her coworkers in an elaborately choreographed rendition of "Hello, Dolly!"
Zoey (Jane Levy) returns to work for the first time since her father's (Peter Gallagher) death, greeted by her coworkers in an elaborately choreographed rendition of "Hello, Dolly!"

"It's nice to have you back where you belong," they sing during an elaborate dance number in the office.

"Great," she says to herself. "My powers are back."

"I just wanted something that felt really big for our big first number of Season 2," Winsberg says. "I thought that something really Broadway felt like it could be fun and in the vein of the show, and also something that Zoey would hate ... It just felt like a great entrée back in."

"Zoey's" premiered in January, but low ratings left it endangered. Passionate fan support, including its dominant win of USA TODAY's Save Our Shows poll last spring, helped save it.

This season, expect more inventive musical numbers. In the second episode, look for a scene between Zoey and Max (Skyler Astin) that Winsberg likens to a one-act Neil Simon musical. The show has also been trying to get the rights to a Taylor Swift song (music executive Scooter Braun's headline-making purchase of her masters has made that quest more difficult).

"Getting Taylor Swift would be a big get for us, and it's something we're still actively desiring," Winsberg says.

Previously: Peter Gallagher on that tear-jerker 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' finale

Alhough Mitch is gone, this isn't the last we've seen of Gallagher. Keep an eye out for the "surprising ways" in which he'll make posthumous returns this season, Winsberg says.

"In the same way that those who pass away still live on with us in memories and in dreams and in unexpected ways, that is the way in which we will continue to explore Mitch going forward."

Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke and Peter Gallagher as Mitch dance together in the "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" season finale.
Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke and Peter Gallagher as Mitch dance together in the "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" season finale.

"I would love to come back," Gallagher told USA TODAY in May after the tearjerker Season 1 finale. "I would just hope Austin doesn't have me doing anything that'll make the audience wish I was dead again. So I'm good for whatever it is, as long as I'm not sullying Mitch's memory."

Ultimately, Winsberg hopes the show can be both a forum for difficult conversations (upcoming episodes will tackle racism in the workplace and living with grief) and a dose of positivity during a time that can feel overwhelmingly negative.

"This show is about wish fulfillment and hope and connectivity between people, and I feel like a lot of the messaging of this show is something that's really important right now at at time when we're all feeling so disconnected and divided," he says.

More: Save Our Shows: 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' tops 2020 survey with record-breaking support

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' returns in exclusive Season 2 clip