Julie and the Phantoms: is on the “Edge of Great”

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Rachel Weathers, Memorial Editor

From the director behind the classic movies “High School Musical” and “Hocus Pocus,” Kenny Ortega brings the new music centered show “Julie and the Phantoms” to Netflix. The nine part first season is based on a former Brazilian television series “Julie e os Fantasmas” and tells the story of second chances and using music to rediscover oneself.

As the first episode begins, audiences are transported back to 1995. The up and coming band “Sunset Curve” is set to play the most important show of their lives and be propelled into superstardom. It’s no surprise that the band had potential to become the next big hit as the song they play, “Now or Never,” is a catchy pop-rock track with 90s influences that pulled in audiences as soon as the episode began. 

However, “Sunset Curve” never had the chance to reach the rockstar status that they were so close to achieving. Prior to hitting the stage that night, three out of the four band members died from what’s presumably food poisoning. 

Following this, the show goes back to the present day where Julie (Madison Reyes), a talented high school musician, is struggling to regain her passion for music and performing after her mom’s death. Her creative block is highlighted after not completing a performance for her school music class and being dropped from the program, leading her to quit music entirely. 

In the midst of this, Julie later cleans out her mom’s music studio where she discovers a “Sunset Curve” CD from 25 years ago, which completely alters the course of the show.

When she plays the CD, three of the “Sunset Curve” band members, Luke (Charlie Gillespie), Alex (Owen Patrick Joyner) and Reggie (Jeremy Shada) appear, however, they are ghosts and only visible to Julie or while performing. 

At first this seems a bit gimmicky, but as the show progresses it presents an interesting dynamic in the band. The boys have to explore their new identity and the differences between themselves, their fellow ghosts and those that are alive, who are often referred to as ‘lifers.” This adds an extra element to the show and as they can only be seen while singing, it further centers the show around music. 

As the episodes continue, the band helps Julie find her love of music once again and they end up forming a band called “Julie and the Phantoms.” Together, they help each other reach their dreams. The boys finally gain the chance to perform once again under the cloak of being holograms which leads to the triumphant moment when Julie reconnects to her former passion. 

The most outstanding aspect of the series is by far the music. Many songs are featured throughout the show that truly take on a life of their own. There’s the heartrending ballad “Unsaid Emily” that allows for audiences to learn more about Luke’s backstory. This will leave them in tears after learning that he left his family and died before mending their relationship. Then there are the upbeat tracks from the band like “Finally Free,” “Bright” and “Edge of Great” that feature catchy lyrics and a memorable sound. The cast feels like they could be a band beyond the show as well, which makes the performance scenes seem more energetic and authentic. 

Even though a second season has yet to be announced, it would hopefully explore more of the other characters, particularly Reggie and Alex’s backstories. More development on Bobby, the surviving “Sunset Curve” band member and his daughters girl group, “Dirty Candy” would also make the show seem more complete. This would add another layer of depth as the majority of the series focused solely on the band and not on many side characters. 

There has also been a multitude of fan theories surfacing on apps like TikTok about what could be revealed in seasons to come. One theory is that Julie’s mom had a connection to the band before their deaths. There is potential for this as she had a copy of their CD and the band used to practice in what became her music studio. It will definitely be interesting to see if that’s true. 

While the show may at first come off as a little juvenile due to its G rating, it’s actually quite enjoyable for even the teen audience. It is a like able story that one will easily become caught up in and be adding the soundtrack to their playlists.

 

Contact Rachel Weathers at [email protected]