Right now it seems like everything is too much. If you’ve been paying attention to the news it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You can get lost in the “everything is bad” mentality. Julie and the Phantoms, on Netflix, is the perfect antidote to the slog. I’m not saying that this show meant for tweens will solve all of your problems, but for nine episodes you can be swept up in this charming show.
Adapted from a 2011 Brazillian show, Julie E Os Fantasmas, and produced by Kenny Ortega, Julie and the Phantoms is very much in the same vein as Descendants and High School Musical. The update follows 15-year-old Julie (Madison Reyes). After her mother dies she no longer feels like playing music anymore, music was their thing. After finding an old CD in her mother’s studio she summons the ghosts of 90s rock band, Sunset Curve, that have been dead for 25 years. The ghosts, Luke (Charles Gillespie), Reggie (Jeremy Shada), and Alex (Owen Patrick Joyner) can only be seen by Julie, unless they are performing together. They have a second chance to make it as a band, this time with Julie at the helm.
I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time I watched this show (mostly). It’s a show that just makes you happy. I wrote in my Gone Too Soon on Galavant, that the show was joyful. I get that same feeling from Julie and the Phantoms. The cast is talented and have great chemistry. Everything about the show is happy, until it wants to tell a sadder story.
The music and choreography are great, but the true draw for this show is the heart. The penultimate episode, “Unsaid Emily” was heartbreaking. These ghosts were just kids when they died and they left family behind when they went. I didn’t expect to cry as much as I did during this episode. We get more of Luke’s backstory, but other than a few mentions of what life was like for Reggie and Alex we don’t know a ton about them. At the center of the show there are two relationships, Alex and Willie (Booboo Stewart, Descendants) and Julie and Luke. Julie and Luke have chemistry, whether it’s songwriting or singing, there’s definitely something there.
Then we have Wille and Alex. Laidback skateboarder Willie acts as a guide to the ghosts, teaching them how to interact with their surroundings. Alex and Willie have a great connection and I’m excited to see where it goes. They are both obviously interested in one another and Willie’s connection to Caleb Covington (Cheyenne Jackson, American Horror Story) is yet to be explained.
Caleb is another ghost that runs the Hollywood Club for the Undead. He wants Luke, Reggie, and Alex in his house band. Caleb has the power to make other people see ghosts in his club and he views the guys ability to be visible when they are performing with Julie as a threat.
I loved Julie and the Phantoms and at only nine, 30 minute episodes you can watch the entire season in a day. Then you can go watch all performances again. Then you can add all the songs to the playlist. Seriously I’ve just been listening to the soundtrack since I finished the show on Monday. This show deserves a second season, watch it so it doesn’t end up as another Netflix show Gone Too Soon, like Daybreak, Patriot Act, or Next in Fashion.