REVIEW: “Julie and the Phantoms” Welcomes All

“Julie and the Phantoms,” a children’s TV series, helps viewers of all ages feel represented.

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Alex Gryczanowski

After being unable to get into the music program at your school, you feel defeated. The loss of your mother has put you through unthinkable grief and now you can’t get back into your passion for music. Now you have to find a new music program to get into or a group of phantoms to help you get back in your groove.

“Julie and the Phantoms,” based on a similar Brazilian TV show, tells the story of Julie Molina, a teenager who regains her passion for music after three ghosts, who are only visible by her, appear in what was once her mother’s studio. Together, Julie and her new ghost friends form a band, Julie and the Phantoms, and surprise everyone with breath-taking performances as a hologram band.

The series was initially released on Sept. 10, and gained an unexpected audience compared to whom the show was originally aimed. The Netflix original is rated for general audiences, mainly kids; however, the representation and storyline drew in an audience of all ages. 

16-year-old Madison Reyes, in her breakthrough role, was chosen for the lead of the show. The cast consists of actors who are young and have less acting experience compared to others, yet this does not stop each cast member from learning and performing well.

The series was led by Dan Cross, David Hoge, and directed by Kenny Ortega. Ortega is known for directing many famous Disney movies such as “Hocus Pocus,” “High School Musical,” and “Descendants.”

With songs such as “Edge of Great” and “Bright,” the soundtrack to “Julie and the Phantoms” consists of many different musical elements. Each song tells a story and helps further the plot and develop the personality of different characters.

“Julie and the Phantoms” expresses great representation and diversity in all of their characters. With a Puerto Rican teenager in the lead role and an LGBTQ+ supporting character, the show qualifies to be part of Netflix’s Representation Matters collection.

This Netflix original shows many different characters who can be role models for kids who can see themselves through the characters’ personalities and experiences. All of the characters have something that makes them unique and normalizes experiences that children deal with often, such as death, family issues and sexuality.

One thing about this show that could use some work is its soundtrack. Though it develops the plot and characters well, a few of the songs can be annoying and fail to sound as good as some of the most phenomenal songs in the show.

Ultimately, some of the show’s best aspects include its casting choice and representation. The casting team did well picking a diverse group of actors to help viewers see themselves in those on the screen.