Julie and the Phantoms
Julie and the Phantoms is a Netflix original series produced by Kenny Ortega, the creator of High School Musical, Hocus Pocus, and Descendants (basically my childhood). The series follows a girl named Julie and her ghost band made up of Luke, Alex, and Reggie. A band called Sunset Curve who died in the 90s has come back as ghosts. They can only be seen by Julie, but when they play music together only then can they can be seen by “lifers” aka normal people. They find out they have “unfinished business” and that's why they have returned as ghosts 25 years later. They meet a powerful ghost named Caleb who is scared of the band’s power and wants to be the only one with the power to be seen by lifers. Therefore, tricking them into either finishing their unfinished business and “crossing over” or joining his house band at the Hollywood Ghost Club with him for eternity.
I know what you are thinking - isn't this a kid's show? And honestly, I thought that too. It is one of those shows I never would have watched if I wasn’t referred to by a friend. I think one of the greatest things they did with this show is that it appeals to people from the age of 4-34. There is simply something for everyone in the show.
Looking at casting for this film, they chose all fresh faces including 16-year-old Madison Reyes as Julie, Charlie Gilespie (Candian) as Luke, Owen Patrick Joyner as Alex, and Jeremy Shada as Reggie. The unique thing they did with this series is that they were making a real band. They got actors who could actually play the instruments, no faking it. This makes their performances feel very authentic. Their characters are so much fun and their dynamic on and off-screen is really perfect.
Sometimes the acting can be a little on the cringe side and I don’t particularly love the first few episodes, but when you really get into the series and the music you just get invested with these characters and the story. My favourite episode of the series is episode 7 “Edge of Great”, with three of the biggest songs in the series.
The music for this show shot up to #1 on the charts and was well-deserved. My favourite songs from the series are Edge of Great, Finally Free, and Unsaid Emily. There is so much time and effort put into every music number in this series. Madison Reyes has such a strong sense of self and stage presence, especially given how young she is. The set design on some of these performances is incredible. My favourite set is for Edge of Great set because it is just so unique.
The costume design was something that really stood out to me in this show. Each character has their own unique style and the boys wear clothes that fit into their 90s era. There are a lot of small details that go into their wardrobe and they did a good job of choosing “90s clothes” that have recently come back into style or that people would wear today. Then there are more elaborate performance outfits such as the ones in “Stand Tall” and the Dirty Candy outfits.
Overall, I really really enjoyed this show and have watched it multiple times. You can binge the entire show in just over three hours so naturally, I watched the whole thing in one day. If you are 8 you will love this show, if you are a teen you will love the nostalgia/ high school musical feel of this show, if you are an adult who loved 90s rock bands you will like this show. I think what is really cool about this show is the fanbase it has created. You can’t go to one Netflix post on Instagram without seeing a flood of comments about renewing Julie and the Phantoms for a second season. To end this review, if anyone out there from Netflix is reading… I would love a season 2.