In September 2020, Netflix premiered Julie and the Phantoms, a series about a girl who plays music with a band of ghosts. It’s a somewhat ridiculous premise that made for a fantastic series, which immediately attracted an extremely passionate fanbase. And rightly so. The cast, particularly star Madison Reyes, is absurdly talented. The writing is touching. And the musical numbers…well, I dare you to get them out of your head (and resist the temptation to cry during “Unsaid Emily.”)
If you’re one of the many fans who have been wondering when Netflix would renew the series, you might feel like you’ve been waiting forever. And that’s not just because 2020 lasted approximately 87 years. The show was popular, making it into the top 10 most popular shows on Netflix upon its premiere. It has a unique premise, which is attractive for streaming services, as networks continue to veer further into cookie-cutter spinoffs of the same types of series. Data isn’t available on the popularity of tie-in merchandise, but it’s all over the place, with a series of officially licensed tees sold at Kohl’s, for example. There have been at least two tie-in books. “The Edge of Great,” on sale now, was a novelization of the first season. “Whatever Happens,” a tie-in novel set around the time of the first season finale, will be released in August of this year.
And now the show has even garnered Emmy acclaim. The series was nominated for six awards at the 2021 Daytime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Original Song, Outstanding Casting, Outstanding, Outstanding Hairstyling, and Outstanding Makeup. It won Outstanding Costume Design for a Drama or Daytime Fiction Program and Outstanding Multiple Camera Editing. Since Emmy awards are presented in waves, Julie and the Phantoms has recently been nominated for Outstanding Young Adult Series. Cheyenne Jackson, who plays villain Caleb, has been nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Daytime Fiction Program. And series star Madison Reyes was nominated for Outstanding Younger Performer in a Daytime Fiction Program.
Not bad for a “kids’ show.”
Given the series’ popularity, critical acclaim, and now its award show recognition, what is Netflix waiting for? Given the show’s popularity, renewal almost seems a given, and it’s a mystery why it wasn’t announced ages ago. It’s of course possible that the streaming service was holding off to see how COVID-19 would impact the logistics of filming. Particularly since there are strict child entertainment laws regarding actors under the age of 18, which would apply to star Reyes (as well as Jadah Marie Johnson, who plays Flynn, Sacha Carlson, who plays Nick, and Sonny Bustamante, who plays Carlos). But, while fans understand filming may not be able to start immediately, the lack of word that it will happen eventually has been increasingly frustrating.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing fans can do except continue the support for the show on social media networks as they wait for Netflix to make its announcement. Since even the Emmy awards are clearly clamoring for more of this unique series, we need more Julie and the Phantoms. The sooner the better.
Julie and the Phantoms is available on Netflix.