“Julie and the Phantoms” are on the “Edge of Great”

Julie and the Phantoms are on the Edge of Great

To say that “Julie and the Phantoms” is a new breed of super show is an understatement. With the absolute genius of Kenny Ortega, the mind behind childhood classics such as “Descendants” and “High School Musical”, combined with the musical prowess of the lead cast, and the talented team of writers contributing to each episode, “Julie and The Phantoms” surpasses your average Netflix binge. 

In fact, this nine-episode show might be the best show that’s come out of Netflix since the rise of streaming service produces shows; and even that may be an understatement. While the show may definitely not be for everyone, (the downfall of having a show that essentially doubles as a movie musical) it certainly has something for everyone. A careful blend of comedy, emotion, passion, and care was mixed into a blender, sprinkled with the musical genius of Jeremy Shada (Reggie), Owen Joyner (Alex), Charlie Gillespie (Luke), and Maddison Reyes (Julie) you get something truly jaw-dropping.

“I wanted to find a cast that could be a band,” Ortega said to Entertainment Weekly in an interview about the show. “We found these incredible kids that just connected in spirit and had this great chemistry and shared a love of music and enthusiasm from the first time they plugged in live in their final audition.”

Ortega wasn’t exaggerating with his statement. The dynamics within the show allow for each of the characters to bounce off each other in a way that’s increasingly hilarious and completely fresh. While each of the characters fit in an archetype- Reggie, a dorky heart-throb; Alex, a nervous wreck; Luke, the hot-headed leader; Julie, the main girl- each one of them brings something absolutely new to the trope, be it Luke’s kindness, Alex’s impulsivity, Reggie’s gentleness, or Julie’s brightness. It goes farther than the characters themselves. Each of the actors brings something absolutely unique to the show. With every single of them holding some background in music- Shada’s band, Makeout Monday, to Joyner’s talent for picking up musical instruments- they offer a genuine, true, passionate musical experience that they create themselves.

Many viewers will come to hear of the show and automatically assume that it’s a spoof of 80s classics like “Josie and the Pussy Cats” or “Gem and The Holograms” because of the formatting of the main girl and a few bandmates, but no such spoof exists in the show. The story of three bandmates who die young and before they make it to stardom, only to find themselves reanimated because of the musical connection to a young prodigy is something that American audiences have never experienced before. Entertainment Weekly reported in that same interview that Ortega, “based [the show] on the Brazilian series Julie e os Fantasmas.” 

The show offers a lot in terms of comedy- ghost shenanigans, musical explorations, and an absolutely wild ride of a villain- but it offers even more in terms of heart and story. Every aspect of the plot ties back into another episode in the future, each one of them building into each other in a way that makes summarizing the show without spoilers extremely hard. The best way to describe the progression of the plot in simplest terms is a well-paced, well done, well-timed, full-fledged story with a satisfying ending for season one but a plethora of opportunities and loose ends for season two. The good vibes of this show is absolutely off the chart. 

What’s even more off the chart has been the general fan response, with multiple people taking to Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube to offer up their say on the show that’s impacted so many people. The general consensus of the show is that it is the diverse, interesting, and exhilarating show that many people craved during these troublesome times. One fan even had this to say about the way the shows portrayals:

The casual diversity and organic nature of the cast lend itself beautifully to the story and allows the watcher to get fully immersed in this world of ghosts and music. “Julie and The Phantoms” offer a completely new take on media and is thriving because of it. The organicness in which they include characters and people of different races and sexualities is something that most media could only hope to strive for.

Overall, “Julie and the Phantoms” offer a show that will immerse you in 90s rock, the best of pop and heartfelt stories that won’t leave your head. It’s for all these reasons it earns the absolute highest rating possible: A++.