Julie and the Phantoms has taken the world by storm. I can’t stop watching the first season over and over, and the soundtrack is the only thing I’ve listened to for weeks. I’m currently rallying with the rest of the Fantoms for a second season. And good way to remind people why this show is so special and deserving of a second season is to look back at some of the best from Season 1.
Here are 15 phan-tastic moments from Season 1 of Julie and the Phantoms:
15. Caleb’s Introduction (1×05)
Caleb Covington is the villain of Julie and the Phantoms, but his introduction deserves a spot on this list. “The Other Side of Hollywood” presents Caleb as such a showman, because Cheyenne Jackson, who brilliantly plays the character, is one himself. His charisma and talent are so compelling that they expertly hide his sinister motives. He’s eccentric and savvy and it all works in his favor. His introduction to the series puts him on a pedestal where he’s essentially untouchable, which leaves plenty of room for how he’ll come tumbling down. You know, assuming the good guys win in the end.
14. The Boys Haunt Bobby (1×04)
Trusting someone with your art is like trusting someone with your heart, and Bobby betrayed that. It only serves him well to be stereotypically haunted by three of his ex-bandmates. Bobby monetized the deaths of guys he called his friends. A spooky message on a foggy mirror is the least of what he deserves.
13. Alex and Willie Say Goodbye… for Now (1×09)
Alex knows Willie has to stay under Caleb’s control and Willie believes that Alex is going to cross over. This is it for them, so they think. I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t burst into tears when Willie told Alex, “I told you, I’d do anything for you.” Willie would risk being destroyed by Caleb, ceasing to exit, for Alex. You can’t deny that Willie and Alex care about each other. Willie is in a very unfortunate situation that doesn’t end well for him… yet. I have faith that a second season could see Alex fighting for Willie’s soul, because he’d follow Willie anywhere.
12. Sunset Curve’s Performance (1×01)
This is the only time we see the band perform as Sunset Curve besides a few shots during “Unsaid Emily.” It proves from the very beginning of Julie and the Phantoms that this cast is beyond talented since they’re actually singing and playing the instruments. They’re an actual band, and it shows.
The band’s performance of “Now or Never” lets us know what Sunset Curve’s sound was like, and it gives us a glimpse into their world before tragedy struck. Their bond, specifically between Luke, Alex, and Reggie, is so strong from the jump. Just after their performance, these guys are hyping each other up like best friends do.
Not only is it such a treat to see them rocking out like Sunset Curve does best, this performance and what happens directly after it sets so many things up for the remaining episodes. Julie and the Phantoms is full of Easter eggs, and there are so many in just this teaser. For starters, there’s the Orpheum that’s such a massive symbol of what could’ve been for the Sunset Curve guys. Luke giving Bobby a wet willy is a major hint that Bobby’s the odd one out, which is revisited later in the season. There’s also Rose, who is believed to be Julie’s mom, wearing the same vest that Julie wears in Season 1 Episode 6, “Finally Free.” There’s too much packed into this opener for it not to make this list.
11. Luke’s Intense Chemistry (1×07)
This scene gave the internet the no<3 meme, and it solidifies that toxic masculinity has no place on Julie and the Phantoms. Luke stuns Reggie speechless with a personal serenade. This isn’t the first or last time the guys completely disregard personal space and it’s not blown into a big issue. Alex and Luke hold hands just as often as Reggie and Luke share a mic. They never shame each other for crying, like when Ray was talking to Julie’s mom and they overheard him. They’re sensitive guys and it’s not for the sake of a joke. Their empathy is what makes them good artists and great friends.
10. Flynn Meets the Phantoms (1×03)
I’m a sucker for any moment that prioritizes female friendships, even more so when that message can be delivered to an audience who needs that kind of representation. To me, “Flying Solo” feels very reminiscent of Dove Cameron and Sofia Carson’s song “Space Between” in Descendants 2, which is another Kenny Ortega project, that is all about Mal and Evie’s friendship.
This moment is so great because it’s Julie’s way of apologizing for lying to Flynn. Flynn held Julie accountable for her lies, and that’s refreshing to see within itself. Just as Julie and the Phantoms could’ve dragged out this tension between Julie and Flynn, it could’ve avoided introducing Flynn to the guys. This secret could’ve torn them apart as a point of drama, but that’s not the kind of drama Julie and the Phantoms wants to feature. Instead of Julie icing Flynn out and vice versa, the show leans on their friendship as a staple. Double Trouble for life!
9. “Perfect Harmony” (1×07)
“Perfect Harmony” is a very unique performance because it exists entirely in Julie’s head. One of the best shots of this sequence is when Luke steps through the mirror and everything fades to black behind Julie.
It has nods to Dirty Dancing that Kenny Ortega choreographed through Luke’s costume. It resembles “Can I Have This Dance” from High School Musical 3: Senior Year a lot in the choreography, too. It’s an extra special moment that needed to be included on this list because Madison Reyes and Charlie Gillespie wrote the song together for the show. This cast is ridiculously talented, if you can’t tell.
8. Dirty Candy Featuring Alex (1×06)
I’ve watched this scene too many times to count. No matter how you feel about Carrie, you can’t deny that “All Eyes on Me” is catchy. This scene never fails to put a smile on my face, and I know I’m not alone in that. The Fantoms have made it known that this is one of their favorite moments of the season. Owen Patrick Joyner fits into this number like Alex is yet another member of Dirty Candy. It’s seriously an instant serotonin boost. Hopefully we get to see Alex dance more in a potential second season.
7. Julie Meeting the Phantoms (1×01)
This moment would not be as great as it is if it wasn’t this honest. Julie and the boys’ reactions to each other are so genuine and hilarious. Of course they’re as scared of her as she is of them! There’s clearly a new dynamic blooming from just this scene despite that initial fear. Their personalities gel together like a unit before they’re a band. Their shared hesitance comes from a shared lack of information. She can’t believe the guys are ghosts, and they’re on the verge of believing Julie’s a witch. I can’t really blame them there; Reggie’s right, there’s furniture on the ceiling.
This unfamiliarity and uncertainty puts the characters on the same level as the audience, which is a useful tactic for any paranormal or supernatural TV show. It’s an excellent way to pull an audience in, however young, without alienating them. In that same vein, this is a very mild introduction to what the ghosts can do because even they don’t know. Julie and the Phantoms is smart to start with poofing and working its way out from there.
Just like the Orpheum, Julie meeting the Phantoms establishes her mom’s studio as a character on the show. It’s more than a set because not only is her mother’s spirit very much in that studio, so are the guys’ souls. It’s a powerful place, and magic happens there.
6. Alex and Willie in the Museum (1×04)
I can’t help but put all of Alex and Willie’s scenes on this list. It’s remarkable how much these two trust each other in just a short period of time. Alex opens up to Willie about his anxiety, and it’s through Booboo Stewart’s amazing performance that you can see the hesitance in Willie’s face. Clearly wants to do the right thing and not turn the guys over to Caleb, and it’s just as clear that Caleb has something on Willie or he wouldn’t be in this situation at all. It’s almost like a Season 2 would delve into this more. Netflix, you know what to do.
Anyway, Willie gives Alex permission to scream it out, and it’s moving to watch. Obviously Alex didn’t need permission to scream in a museum, but Willie gives him the space he needs to do it. This moment is just two guys who have literal heart eyes for each other blowing off some steam by screaming in a museum. It’s perfect.
5. Love Saves Them in the End (1×09)
The season finale leaves just enough in the air for a second season to delve into, but it doesn’t leave us hanging on the fate of the guys. They fought back against Caleb’s allure off screen and joined Julie at the Orpheum to sing “Stand Tall.” It’s not clear how Julie is able to touch the guys back in the studio, but that’s part of the reason why it made this list. After all the strife of them possibly not being able to cross over, answers about the logistics of Julie being able to hug the guys doesn’t matter.
4. Julie Finds Her Way Back to Music (1×01)
Julie finds her way back to music through her mom with a little extra push from some cute ghosts. She finds the courage to return to her passion through immense grief, and that’s commendable on a lot of levels.
“Wake Up” is a beautiful performance with all credit going to Madison Reyes. It’s impossible not to cry when you watch this number; I know I did. Kenny Ortega’s stunning direction makes this moment even more moving. As the song progresses, so does the world around Julie. It all crescendos into a gorgeous sunset coming through the windows of the studio. You all, the sun literally shines on Julie and her music again. I can’t be the only one tearing up just thinking about it. Then, to make what’s great even better, the camera pans to see Luke, Alex, and Reggie standing in her light — in complete awe.
3. “Unsaid Emily” (1×08)
“Unsaid Emily” is one of the most talked about episodes and songs from Julie and the Phantoms and rightfully so. Charlie Gillespie’s performance of this song is one of the standout moments from Season 1. “Unsaid Emily” is magical in its unique possession of both healing and hurtful qualities. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to watch Luke’s parents hear this song their son wrote for Emily. It’s hard to watch Luke. They’re all reliving that tragedy the duration of “Unsaid Emily.”
The coloring of the scenes that play out during the song contribute to the way we feel about it. The room is full of warm colors when they’re hearing the song, but the flashbacks are laced with cool tones emphasizing Luke’s absence.
Then again, “Unsaid Emily” gives Luke’s parents something they probably they were never going to get – closure. This song lets them know Luke’s side of the story so they aren’t left wondering anymore. Julie doubles down on this by letting Luke’s parents know that she feels his magic and happiness every day in the studio. That’s the healing nature of music in action. It’s such a strong message that Julie and the Phantoms delivers impeccably.
2. Alex and Willie’s Meet Cute (1×03)
Alex and Willie are basically my favorite couple of the year, I can’t stop thinking about them. There’s something refreshing and revolutionary about the way Alex and Willie’s relationship is represented on Julie and the Phantoms. Of course I wish they had more screen time than they do (Fingers crossed for a Season 2), but what this show does with the screen time they have is amazing.
That’s why I couldn’t leave the first time they met off of this list. Willie comes out of nowhere and hits Alex like a ton of bricks. Some may say Alex is head over heels. Just when Alex is feeling overwhelmed, a very cute ghost boy comes to tell him everything will be okay and teach him a few things. What is there not to love?
Paul Becker, the director of “Flying Solo” does such a stunning job with this scene. It has easily two of the most memorable shots from the show. Yes, I’m talking about when Willie takes his helmet off in SLOW MOTION. This automatically signals that Willie is more than a ghost recklessly skating the streets of Los Angeles. He’s a love interest and deservedly so! Becker’s decision to hold on Alex’s gulp is genius. Not to mention, the world gets blurry around Willie so he’s the only one in focus. Then the camera returns the favor when Willie looks at Alex. They only have eyes for each other!
1. Julie and the Phantoms’ First Performance (1×02)
Technically the band’s performance of “Bright” isn’t the first under the name Julie and the Phantoms, because Flynn doesn’t come up with that iconic name until Season 1 Episode 5, “The Other Side of Hollywood.” That being said, it is the group’s first performance together and that means something. In fact, it means a whole lot.
This performance shocks Julie, the boys, and the audience with how they can be seen by lifers when they perform with Julie, so it deepens the ghost mythology in a seamless way. Sometimes shows aimed at younger audiences hold their audience’s hands to explain things to them, but Julie and the Phantoms doesn’t do this. It makes us feel like we’re a part of their experience by keeping us in the same loop as Julie and the guys. It’s so smart!
Beyond that, this number shows the bond that Julie and the guys have already. They had zero intentions of performing with Julie; they just wanted to support her. That’s enough. That makes this moment all the better because when Julie sees them on stage with her, she explodes with energy. They give her even more confidence to succeed. It’s not like the guys perform with her with any ulterior motive, because they didn’t know that Julie’s classmates would be able to see them. It’s all so pure, and it warms my heart.
What were your favorite moments from Season 1 of Julie and the Phantoms? Let us know in the comments below!
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