The Roku Channel gave us the best gift this holiday season: Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas, the follow-up film to the two-season NBC series.
And like Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, it has heart, comedy, drama, and musical performances as the titular character (Jane Levy) tries to plan the perfect Mitch Christmas in the family’s first after losing Peter Gallagher’s character. As the trailer shows, things will get messy.
“We’ve seen it time and time again: Something can just really throw Zoey off her rocker,” Levy tells TV Insider. “With the holidays approaching, she just starts to spin.” While the rest of the family would rather avoid the holiday — “maybe if we just don’t acknowledge it, it won’t be as painful” — Zoey takes the opposite approach. “I think the audience is going, ‘Oh, Zoey, didn’t you learn this lesson yet,’ but obviously not.”
As the festivities take a messy turn, “things break,” Skylar Astin (who plays Zoey’s boyfriend Max, “an extension of the Clarkes now”) teases, but “a lot of times when you’re anticipating a great event, it doesn’t always go as anticipated, as much planning as you could ever do. And sometimes it even ends up turning out better than expected.”
Expect to see Zoey in “manic, organized mode” until she “realizes the lesson — which I think she’s taught over and over again — that you can’t just code your way through life,” Levy says. “Life is a lot more rich and complex and full of love and pain at the same time. And sometimes you just have to let the music guide you.”
When it comes to where Zoey is when we find her again, “something I thought about a lot was this quote that I heard: ‘Grief is love with no place to go,’” Levy shares. “And what I really like about the movie is that Zoey is full of love and now she’s starting to realize that she’s going to give that to Max. So much of her pain is losing her dad, her guide. He would just give her love, and now Zoey still is always going to have that love. He’s going to visit her in her dreams and maybe in some other fantastical magic form because the show is a fantasy in many ways. But now she’s also learning to give love, not just expect to receive love. The takeaway from the movie is the bond between her and Max and how the powers have allowed her to be with him finally.”
Zoey and Max did get back together at the end of Season 2, but just as they did, he somehow gained her ability to hear people’s inner thoughts as heart songs. In the movie, “they’re actually handling [that] quite well,” Levy says, though acknowledges there is “some bickering and some disagreements.”
Max does enjoy his new ability, with Astin likening it to “a constant concert for him. I think Zoey is a bit frustrated with that because she understands that with great power comes great responsibility, and so she knows it’s not all fun and games. That finds them at an interesting spot as the movie progresses.”
You will find out why he gained Zoey’s ability, though it’s not something Max really cares about too much in the beginning. “When it presents itself, he can’t think about anything else and has a new understanding of the power and a new respect and reverence for the power,” Astin previews.
And for those who have wanted to see Zoey and Max together and “happy and in love,” you do get that in the movie, Levy promises. “There’s a trust and a real bond at this point.”
Astin agrees. “There is a new equality between the two of them with the fact that they can now both hear each other’s thoughts through song.” In fact, “Max has a thriving business. He has the woman of his dreams. He has an actual super power. So everything’s coming up Max, when we started this movie.”
What ended up being the series finale also put an end to the love triangle of Zoey, Max, and Simon (John Clarence Stewart). “They really connected because they were both going through something that most people around them weren’t and they loved talking to each other and they’re young and he’s very attractive. So of course that happened,” Levy laughs. “But I think at the core of their relationship, they just really enjoy speaking. I’m happy that they can be friends and it’s not weird or threatening to Max.”
Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas, Movie Premiere, Wednesday, December 1, The Roku Channel