Hey friends, in the midst of this hellscape, if you need a little uncomplicated joy in your lives, I want to recommend the series JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS on Netflix, about a grieving teen girl who finds her way back to music with the help of the ghosts of a ’90s teen rock band who died before they could achieve their dreams. It’s a Disney-esque kids series directed by Kenny Ortega (HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL), based on a Brazilian series of the same name. And it’s got so much heart, virtuosity, and genuinely awesome music to offer. We’ve become a tad obsessed over here in the Beasi household, so if you haven’t checked it out, this is my gift to you.
It’s got a 15-year-old leading lady (Madison Reyes as Julie, in her first professional role) with a voice to DIE FOR. The actors all sing and play their own instruments. They spent 7 weeks in a band “boot camp” to become a real band, and two of them, Madison and Charlie Gillespie (ghost guitarist Luke), wrote a song together on the sly during filming that ended up being put in the show. It’s got Cheyenne Jackson (Caleb, powerful ghost of a former magician) killing it as an otherworldly villain with a voice like caramel. It’s got GHOST BOYFRIENDS. And I don’t just mean the burgeoning relationship between Julie and one of her ghost bandmates. I mean an actual romance between ghost drummer Alex (Owen Joyner) and ghost skateboarder Willie (BooBoo Stewart), which is the primary romance in the first season. All the relationships are rich and wonderful, though, families, friendships—I’m particularly a fan of Julie’s friendship with her BFF Flynn (Jadah Marie). There’s just so much to love about all of it. Yes, it’s got a lot of the elements you expect in a G-rated musical kids series, but also SO much more.
Anyway, here’s an article that goes into more detail about the music in the series, which we’ve been pretty much playing here on loop, and the people who make it.