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Jane Levy stars as Zoey Clarke, a computer programmer who hears people’s inner thoughts through song, in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” which returns for its second season at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, on NBC.

The new year means new beginnings, and that’s true for TV as well, as the broadcast networks reset their programming schedules, introducing new shows and bringing back returning favorites.

For NBC, that means the return of my favorite show from last season, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” After having seen the second season premiere, I’m happy to report that “Zoey’s” is still bringing the fun, laughter and tears in the most unique way possible.

If you haven’t seen it, “Zoey’s” stars Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke, a computer programmer, who after a mishap with an MRI, is able to hear people’s inner thoughts through song. The show’s first season ended with a brutally emotional and visually stunning rendition of “American Pie” as Zoey and her family mourned the loss of her dad.

When the second season begins, Zoey is going back to work six weeks after her dad’s death. She’s avoided pretty much everyone, including the two men who have feelings for her, Max (Skylar Astin) and Simon (John Clarence Stewart). When she gets back to work, Zoey struggles to deal with all the changes since she’s been gone. Plus, she’s shocked to discover that her neighbor, Mo (Alex Newell), is now friends with both Max and Simon. Meanwhile, Zoey’s brother, David, and his wife, Emily (Andrew Leeds and Alice Lee), struggle with being new parents, and her mom, Maggie (Mary Steenburgen), tries to deal with all the paperwork and other issues associated with her husband’s death.

At first, it seems that maybe Zoey’s abilities have disappeared, but it’s only a matter of time before the song and dance numbers start again. Through them, Zoey learns the thoughts of the new guy at work and Max and Simon both make their intentions toward her clear.

The beauty of “Zoey’s” is that it deftly juggles emotional, humorous and romantic storylines with ease, while never ceasing to be anything other than extremely entertaining. The device that sets the show apart — the song and dance numbers — never gets old or cheesy and instead is used beautifully to move the show’s plot. And I am always amazed at the choice of songs (Fun’s “Carry On” is a standout in the premiere). But a show like this doesn’t work without talent, and “Zoey’s” has it in spades. Levy is perfectly cast as Zoey, Newell is a bona fide star, and I would listen to Astin sing me the phonebook.

“Zoey’s” is one of those rare shows that fires on every single cylinder, and I am thrilled to have it back on my TV each week.

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” returns for its second season at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, on NBC.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at

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