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“Julie and the Phantoms” Review

Looking for your next binge-watch? Netflix offers up “Julie and the Phantoms” on a ghostly platter, featuring Madison Reyes as Julie, a talented creative who struggles to make music after the death of her mother. This show has it all: fantastic writing, huge musical numbers, stellar acting, romance, angst, friendship and a touch of the supernatural

Have you ever had food poisoning? What do you do when your dreams die with you after consuming a bad street hot dog? These are the questions that members of ‘90s rock band “Sunset Curve” Luke, Reggie and Alex must ask themselves when they wake up as ghosts hours before getting their big break. They are summoned to the 21st century when Julie Molina, a grieving high schooler, goes through her late mother’s CDs and finds their demo album. To move on, they must complete their unfinished business. Easier said than done, as they encounter obstacles of the supernatural and social variety.

Based on a Brazilian series of the same name, “Julie and the Phantoms” focuses on the story of Julie Molina, a grieving high schooler whose love of music is rekindled after she forms a band with the deceased members of a ‘90s teen rock group. The show beautifully handles the storyline, hitting all the notes it sets out to play. In my opinion, it’s one of the best teen shows out there, and this is coming from someone who watches a lot of YA and kids’ television.

“Julie and the Phantoms” doesn’t shy away from being too cheesy or over the top; rather, the series embraces it, touching on topics of grief and moving on in a heartwarming yet relatable way. Every character is so well-developed, and the acting is talented and thoughtful. Julie and the Phantoms (Luke, Alex, and Reggie) all have such dynamic relationships, which makes for very playful interactions and strong moments. The series spans nine episodes, making it the perfect show to binge; despite this, each character’s journey feels natural and realistic. These four characters are the heart of the story and take you through the highs and lows of growing up, weaving in themes of mortality and maturity amid teenage relationship drama and musical battles. Madison Reyes (Julie), Charlie Gillespie (Luke), Jeremy Shada (Reggie) and Owen Joyner (Alex) are amazing performers, and they bring that physicality, musicality and chemistry to the screen.

Some other character highlights include Julie’s loving family, her dad, aunt, and little brother; Julie’s ride-or-die best friend, Flynn; Julie’s nemesis’s band, bubblegum pop girl group Dirty Candy; the bandmates’ potential love interests, a sweet skater boy spirit and a supportive school dance class partner; and a Broadway-worthy villain complete with dramatic musical numbers and jazz improv chops. This show could have easily been just another overdone, out-of-touch dramedy, but every cast member is a perfect fit for their role, able to bring life to each character.

Being a musical show, “Julie and the Phantoms’ features amazing choreography and group dance numbers, furthering the plot with pizzazz. Ranging from soulful ballads to pumped-up rock numbers, the show does an incredible job combining and sampling different genres of music. I genuinely listen to the tracklist on my own time, and the soundtrack can stand on its own, which is often rare for a show marketed toward a younger audience. The dance scenes show influence from other works of the show’s director and executive producer, Kenny Ortega, who is famous for his directing and choreography on hits like “Ferris Buller’s Day Off,” “Newsies,” and “High School Musical” and “Descendants” franchises.

I love everything about this show, and I was so disappointed to find out it was canceled after the first season (due to Netflix cuts). However, I wouldn’t change a single thing about the nine episodes that are out now, and I’m content to keep rewatching this series until I become a phantom myself. “Julie and the Phantoms” is touching, funny and a delight to experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone willing to give it a chance. The songs are fire, the lines are golden, the hot dogs are deadly, and the boys are ghostly: what’s not to love?

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About the Contributor
Kaylee Gadepalli
Kaylee Gadepalli, Journalist
Kaylee Gadepalli is currently a sophomore at Community High School. In her free time, she can be found practicing violin, listening to show tunes, and playing with her dog. She also is also an avid reader, Netflix binge-watcher, and frequent doodler. This is her first year on staff, and she is looking forward to working on The Communicator.

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