Ever wondered what it would be like to read people’s minds?
In Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, charmingly nerdy computer coder Zoey Clarke doesn’t need to wonder — at least, not after everyone around her starts serenading her with their innermost thoughts.
The new NBC comedy sees San Francisco-based Zoey (played by Suburgatory’s Jane Levy) undergo an MRI — during which she listens to music to try and calm her claustrophobia — when an earthquake hits.
As a result, her brain downloads the entire contents of a music streaming service, and much like how songs tend to pop into our heads unbidden (and can be hard to shake), she begins to hear the deepest desires of the people around her at random intervals, in the form of pop songs.
While at first, her newfound talent is terrifying, her musically-inclined neighbor Mo (Glee‘s Alex Newell) helps her learn to tap into it in order to better understand her friends, family, and co-workers.
PEOPLE Picks reviewed the “ebullient new series” in a recent issue, noting that it will likely serve as a breakout role for Levy, “who possesses the effortless likability of an Emma Stone.”
“Zoey, by the way, is bigger, brighter and busier than Soundtrack, Netflix’s lip-syncing drama,” the review added.
Supported by a star-studded cast, Zoey features a number of familiar faces performing in a delightfully unfamiliar way: through musical numbers. Vocally adept across the board, the cast includes Gilmore Girls’ Lauren Graham as Zoey’s difficult boss, Pitch Perfect’s Skylar Astin as her co-worker and confidant, Book Club’s Mary Steenburgen as her doting mother and The O.C.’s Peter Gallagher as her father.
Gallagher’s character suffers from a neurological disease that has rendered him nonverbal, and Zoey’s newfound abilities shift from a nightmare into a dream come true when she realizes they allow her to communicate with her dad once more, with feeling.
Gallagher told Forbes that part of what drew him to the role was the duality of being near-emotionless and then bursting into song and dance. “Everybody has a story, and you have no idea what’s going on with that person sitting next to you,” he told the outlet.
“No matter what they look like, it’s a pretty safe bet that in the end you’re going to find out that they have a lot in common with you. The pursuit of that, and the interest in what other people are actually experiencing, is the whole conceit of this show,” Gallagher explained.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist premiered Tuesday, Jan. 7 and returns to NBC on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 9 p.m. EST, following an 8 p.m. EST rerun of the pilot episode.