Julie & The Phantoms

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

A year after her mother’s death, high schooler Julie is still grieving. It’s not that her dad, Ray, and her little brother Carlos aren’t; it’s just different for Julie.

Julie and her mom had a deep connection to music. In fact, Julie’s mom taught her all she knows about playing the piano and singing. But since her passing, Julie has lost her melodic passion. And even though playing is the only way to stay in her specialized music program in school, she just can’t risk uncovering buried emotions.

One day, Julie’s dad asks her to clean out her mom’s music studio as they prepare to move and, hopefully, move on. A difficult but necessary job, Julie agrees. While sorting through old keepsakes, Julie comes across a CD by a ‘90s teen boy band, Sunset Curve.

Thinking nothing of it, she pops it in for a listen and as she’s jamming out the band’s three members, Luke, Alex and Reggie, literally fall out of the sky onto the studio floor.

But ghosts aren’t real, right? Right?! And even if they were real, why is Julie the only person who can see them on a daily basis? And why can everyone else only see and hear them when they’re playing music?

The guys aren’t quite sure. In fact, they didn’t even know they were dead until Julie Googled how they died (food poisoning from some crazy street hot dogs 25 years ago).  

But none of that actually matters to this boy band. The only thing they care about is that they’re getting a second chance to follow their dreams. And their passion and talent once again spark Julie’s desire to find the rhythm in her soul.

An Otherworldly Beat

A G-rated Netflix original, Julie & The Phantoms is based off of a Brazilian TV show of the same name. But that’s really where the similarities end. This new series has a magical twist that is laced throughout every episode of the first season.

For starters, Julie and the Phantoms, while they have an obvious connection and budding friendship, have their own storylines. Julie is trying to work through her grief, talents and emotions as well as battle a former friend-turned-popular mean girl. And the guys from Sunset Curve, well, they have a certain magical element at play.

As the storyline continues, the guys learn that there are other ghosts in the world. There’s even a villain and local magician named Caleb Covington who, apparently, has the power to operate in the afterlife and keep the guys from staying on earth. Oh, sure, the bandmates could change this and be fully “alive” again. They just have to, you know, sell their souls to do it. And although they don’t give in, it’s still a mystical part of the plot that isn’t completely explained in the first season.

The show feels pretty innocent. But that being said, there are still some things here—good and bad—that parents will want to keep in mind.

Julie is kind and respectful to her dad and brother and they actually have a great relationship. It’s also hinted that they believe in God (although God is never named). Also, Julie and her best friend, Flynn, aren’t the kind of high schoolers that drink and party and act wild. Nope. They love their family and friends, do their homework and work through their problems together.

On the other side, the magical storyline here is sure to develop, and there’s no telling where it might go. For now, the afterlife is a big discussion and ghosts and all their varieties are a hot topic. People meditate, and statues of Buddha are scattered throughout a few scenes.

Additionally, one of the band members, Alex, has a developing relationship with another male ghost. The two hold hands and flirt but that’s as much as we see in the first season. A complicated one for sure. With a compelling lead actress, fun music and enticing plot, there’s a lot to like here. But those positives don’t spirit away the show’s problems.

Episode Reviews

Sept. 10, 2020: “Wake Up”

In the season premiere, Julie struggles to play music after her mother’s death. A ghostly boy band from the ‘90s appears in Julie’s loft. However, while Julie is the only one who can see them, everyone can hear them play.

Julie and her best friend, Flynn, make fun of a popular girl, Carrie, calling her desperate. One of the ghosts flirts with a girl and calls her beautiful. One of the ghosts wears a jacket, although shirtless underneath. Girls wear crop tops.

When Julie meets the ghosts, she’s scared and uses a crucifix to try and ward them off. The ghosts are scared of Julie, thinking she might be a witch since she’s able to see them while others aren’t. Julie and Flynn joke about Carrie and her boyfriend having “unholy,” “demon” babies, since Carrie is so mean. Julie and her family pray over their food. Julie’s aunt crosses herself, saying “may she rest in peace” when referring to her dead sister.

The phrases “oh my god” and “oh my gosh” are heard a few times each.

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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