"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

TV Series Review: Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episodes 1-3

 Greetings, friends!

Do you ever find a book, movie, or story that you really love and that brings you so much happiness, inspiring you in all ways that you want everyone else in the world to experience it? Today I’m going to be talking about a show that gives me that feeling:

Julie and the Phantoms!

I first heard of this show on Lia’s blog then later I saw Rachel write a post on it. The premise sounded interesting then Spotify wouldn’t stop playing advertisements for it, so I told my sister about it and once we got Netflix we decided to watch it.

I’m so happy that we did. It is amazing. Fiona and I have since become absolutely enthralled and obsessed by it! We have watched it two whole times in the last month and are eagerly looking forward to seeing it more! It had so many good leads for a second season, but it hasn’t been approved yet. I’m here to tell all of you about this so you can watch it and love it as much as we do! (And therefore the producers of the show will be convinced to make another season)

I could gush about each episode for ages, considering every single detail, but I’ve decided instead to combine three in each post while keeping it free of spoilers. I want to do one (post of three) each month, so there will be one in March and April, too. Let’s start at the beginning and take off from there.

This show is only available on Netflix, so you’ll have to use an account for that streaming service in order to watch. I’m here to tell you that it is worthwhile!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. All three of these reviews are free of any spoilers! I will be more vague during later episodes so you can get a full experience yourself.

Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episode 1: “Wake Up” (2020):
Based on: the Brazilian show, Julie e os Fantasmas (2011-2012).
1995: The band Sunset Curve has finally made its way to play the Orpheum. They are hours away from playing when an accident stops them...
2020: Julie Molina’s mom was what connected her to music and ever since she passed away last year Julie hasn’t been able to bring herself to play. She’s cleaning out her mom’s old music studio so they can move when three ghosts appear. She’s the only one who can see them so she doesn’t want to tell her dad about Luke, Reggie, and Alex because he’ll think she’s gone crazy. They used to be in a band and all of this music is reminding Julie of her mom. Where is the line between sad memories and good ones? What is she going to do with these ghosts?
Family, Drama, Musical, and touches of Fantasy.

Length: approx. 38 minutes.
Script: 9, one time a name is used in vain and you can barely hear it, but I noticed. Nothing gets past me.
‘“What’s she handing out?”
Crew: Directed by: Kenny Ortega. Written by: Dan Cross, David Hoge, & Nora Sullivan based on the series by Paula Knudsen, Tiago Mello, & Fabio Danesi.
Starring (Reminder, with TV shows I only list the top 10 most important characters for each episode):
1. Madison Reyes as Julie.
2. Charlie Gillespie as Luke.

3. Owen Patrick Joyner as Alex.
4. Jeremy Shada as Reggie.
5. Jadah Marie as Flynn.
6. Marci T. House as Mrs. Harrison.
7. Carlos Ponce as Ray Molina.
8. Sonny Bustamante as Carlos Molina.
9. Alison Araya as Aunt Victoria.
10. Savannah Lee May as Carrie Wilson.
Costumes: 8, all of the characters have very unique styles. Julie’s outfits aren’t my favorite here, but this is one of the few times we see her wear glasses.
Cinematography: 9, you might think, “In about half an hour how much cool cinematography can there be?” Well, how would you visualize ghosts? They did a good job in here! My favorite part, though, is whenever Julie is near a piano. It’s so cool how her bracelets reflect off of it and let’s not forget the sunrise. Amazing! *chef’s kiss*
Cinematography by: Jon Joffin.
: 10, the songs are the heart of this show! This episode features two songs that bookend the episode: “Now or Never” and “Wake Up”. Both are perfect for opening this show and inspirational in their own ways! “Now or Never” is rock and very catchy. I’m not sure what genre you would call “Wake Up”, but it is gorgeous! One of my new favorite songs of all time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to it, but at least once every day since I first saw it. And the singing? The singing is amazing!

Music by: David Lawrence, Doug Rockwell, Tova Litvin, & Anne Preven.
: 8, after you’ve watched this a lot like my sister and I have, you will be saying  the lines constantly.

‘“There’s no such thing as cute ghosts!”
“She thinks we’re cute.”’
Content: 9, let’s get to the bottom of this right away: as shown in the title, this show involves ghosts. If that makes you uncomfortable then you might want to give it a second thought before trying. They aren’t scary at all (in fact, they are more scared then doing any scaring) and it is all very lighthearted and fun. At the same time it can be serious as death happens (not on-screen) and it talks about grief and what it is like to handle that. I personally don’t believe in ghosts like that, but I love this show. The Molina’s are shown to be Christians of some sort (Catholics is my guess) in this episode as they pray before a meal but it isn’t ever really shown in other episodes. Julie always wears a necklace that I think has Our Lady Mary on it, but I’m not sure. Honestly the one thing that is a little weird for me in this episode is when Julie is show to have a crucifix...that is covered in charms? I think this was made to have it look more personal, which is nice, but I’ve never seen anything like that. It was just a little disrespectful to me, but that’s just my opinion and it’s only there for a few minutes.
10, full score for uniqueness! In these few brief minutes it establishes itself being something new and different. The hot dogs bit is a little...strange, but once you get over what happens it’s fine. It reminds me of Coco (2017) in a few ways, but that’s not bad or copying!

Good For: Anyone who loves music, anyone who has lost someone, anyone looking for a good show.
Age Range: This is rated G, and I would agree that it is acceptable for all ages! Sometimes when people see a G rating they think it’s for little kids, but don’t let that fool you! Any ages, young or old or in between, could watch this and enjoy it. It is about teenagers in high school so that is the most relatable, but you don’t have to be in that age range to love this.
Overall Score: 9!
Worth watching?:
I cannot stress this enough: Yes! I feel so inspired just thinking about this episode and the music.

Will I watch again?: There is no doubt about it! I could watch this hundreds of times and not get tired of it. In fact, that’s what I plan to do!
Bonus thoughts:
The most awesome ending to an episode EVER. A great introduction to the show!

Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episode 2: “Bright” (2020):
Based on:
the Brazilian show, Julie e os Fantasmas (2011-2012).

Julie was dropped from her music program at school because of a lack of participation, so how can she get back in? Luke might have just the thing as he and the others get used to being ghosts.
“Yeah, I’m not sure you can call what we have, ‘a life’.”
Family, Drama, Musical, and touches of Fantasy.

Length: approx. 32 minutes.
Script: 10, no bad words or swearing!
‘“Sorry, I don’t believe in wasting power.”
“Great, because that’s exactly what I want to talk to you about.”’
Crew: Directed by: Kenny Ortega. Written by: Dan Cross, David Hoge, & Nora Sullivan based on the series by Paula Knudsen, Tiago Mello, & Fabio Danesi.
‘“...If you break it I’ll break you!”
“Okay, well, sorry because we’re kind of unbreakable at this point.”’
Starring (Reminder, with TV shows I only list the top 10 most important characters for each episode):
1. Madison Reyes as Julie.
2. Charlie Gillespie as Luke.
3. Owen Patrick Joyner as Alex.

4. Jeremy Shada as Reggie. “You are so lucky you can play bass.” (Everyone makes fun of Reggie all the time but he is one of my favorites! Okay, they’re all my favorites, but you know what I mean.)
5. Jadah Marie as Flynn.
6. Savannah Lee May as Carrie Wilson.
7. Carlos Ponce as Ray Molina.
8. Sonny Bustamante as Carlos Molina.
9. Victoria Caro as Dirty Candy Singer #1 (Kayla).
10. Marci T. House as Mrs. Harrison.
Costumes: 7, there is a second where someone isn’t wearing a shirt, but that’s it. The outfits carry through by having the same style for the same characters.
: 8, this doesn’t strike me as much as the first one as being new and different, but the ghost features are still impressive.

Cinematography by: Jon Joffin.
Music: 10, this is the episode with the most songs as it has three: “This Band is Back”, “Wow”, and “Bright”. My favorites are “Bright”, as it is so encouraging, and “This Band is Back” because it is just so much fun. It’s very short, but it’s one of my favorites in the show. “Wow” is so fitting for the characters singing it. You might get it stuck in your head really easily. It has many music references in it!
Music by: David Lawrence, Michelle Lewis, Kay Hanley, Dan Petty, David Amber, Erin Bowman, Ali Dee, Doug Davis, Anthony Mirabella, Susan Paroff, Nikki Sorrentino, James K. Petrie, & Jodie Shihadeh.
9, this is an episode that my sister and I quote quite frequently. Especially, “This, this cannot happen!”. It might seem like a few simple words, but the way the character says it makes it memorable.

Content: 9. There is the start of a suggestive comment but it is cut off. Still deals with ghosts (if you’re looking for something different then go elsewhere). In this episode it is revealed that Alex is gay, or homosexual. I know that that might bother some people and make them think twice about watching it. I was a little wary of where it would go, but let me assure you that nothing happens. This show is so clean which is one of the reasons I love it. Alex is a really nice guy. Later on he meets someone who could be considered a love interest but it’s all very chill and friendly. I did not mind and just think that Alex is a sweetheart.
Originality: 10, still creative and one of a kind!
Good For: Anyone who loves music, anyone who has lost someone, anyone looking for a good show.
Age Range:
Still decent and great for people from all ages!

Overall Score: 9!
Worth watching?: So much so! I could go on and on about the music for ages, but just trust me and watch it so you can hear it. I know my talking about it might’ve made you want to just listen to the soundtrack, but don’t do that! Each and every song is such a part of the plot and really makes the words that much more meaningful. Don’t spoil it for yourself!
Will I watch again?: I guarantee that I will!
Bonus thoughts

“Bro, a ghost hug isn’t the feel good moment you think it is, trust me...”
We got introduced to the characters in the last episode, but we got to see more of our four stars and learn about them. Not everything is told just yet, but it makes you care for each one of them. I especially like introducing an interest for Carlos. He is such a cute little brother!

Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episode 3: “Flying Solo” (2020):
Based on: the Brazilian show, Julie e os Fantasmas (2011-2012).
Julie is worried about her relationship with her best friend while Alex is stressing out about the changes happening. Luke and Reggie fully embrace what is happening and start making plans for the future. How is Julie going to show Flynn how significant her friendship is?
‘“Yeah, I don’t think they can see us.”
“I wish I couldn’t see you.”’
Family, Drama, Musical, and touches of Fantasy.

Length: approx. 28 minutes.
Script: 10, all clean of bad words, thank you very much!
“He’s so nervous he’s almost making me nervous!”
(I loved the whole “back on the runway” part!)
Crew: Directed by: Paul Becker. Written by: Sean William Cunningham, Marc Dworkin, Dan Cross, David Hoge, & Nora Sullivan based on the series by Paula Knudsen, Tiago Mello, & Fabio Danesi.
Starring (Reminder, with TV shows I only list the top 10 most important characters for each episode):
1. Madison Reyes as Julie.
2. Jadah Marie as Flynn.
3. Owen Patrick Joyner as Alex. “Don’t tell me how to ghost!”
4. Charlie Gillespie as Luke.
5. Jeremy Shada as Reggie.
6. Booboo Stewart as Willie.
7. Savannah Lee May as Carrie Wilson.

8. Carlos Ponce as Ray Molina.
9. Marci T. House as Mrs. Harrison.
10. Sacha Carlson as Nick.
Costumes: 8, same. Actually, all of them are exactly the same as the last episode because this whole episode takes place on the day that they last one ended on.
Cinematography: 8, seeing the special effects for ghosts is really making me try to figure out how they did that. Very nifty!
Cinematography by: Jon Joffin.
Music: 10, we only get one song in here, “Flying Solo”, but it isn’t any less fantastic than the others! They rhythm is so cool and the words are so sweet!
Music by: David Lawrence, Joachim Svare, Jillian Allen & Joleen Belle.
Notes: I noticed references to Seven Year Itch (1955) and Ghostbusters (1984).
Quotability: 9, my sister and I love this one scene especially where all three of the guys are hilarious!:
‘“Drumming is so 90s, ‘kay? We’re just gonna stomp our feet now.”
“Okay, well, you know what else is so 90s? Being rude. Alright, get woke, these are sensitive times.”’
Content: 9, there might be one thing that could be considered crude humor, but that’s subjective to each person. Same characters carrying over from last time and new ones are introduced!
10, the characters are all so realistic! In this one especially they all react just like you would expect them to. This is awesome consistency and I loved what problem this episode featured for Julie to work through.

Good For: Anyone who loves music, anyone who has lost someone, anyone looking for a good show, best friends, siblings.
Age Range: These reviews are really easy for me to write because many great things carry over from each episode. This one is also perfect for anyone of any age who wants to watch this!
Overall Score: 9!
Worth watching?: Yes, especially because I got to watch it with one of my best friends, my younger sister! I highly recommend the experience.
Will I watch again?: Is the answer a mystery to anyone? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!
Bonus thoughts:
This one is all around fun! We get a peek into the song writing process and we see characters develop and meet new ones. Very satisfying!
I borrowed this photo from where I found it on Lia's blog.

This show is off to a flying start! Full of humor, deep moments, and music, what more do you want?

Usually I deeply dislike the blurbs that most websites give for books, movies, or TV shows because they give things away, but IMBd has really good premises for these three episodes. I’m impressed. They might be even better than my descriptions, so if mine confuse you in anyway then feel free to look there.

Is this perfect? Probably not. I just can't describe how happy it makes me. As I told my older sister, who has watched it but is nowhere near as invested as Fiona and I are, I don’t expect you guys to love this like we do! I just want you guys to have the opportunity. This show brings my little sister and I so much joy, we just want you guys to have to chance for experiencing that, too!

That’s a wrap for those three episodes! Look for reviews of episodes 4-6 in March. For now it’s time to talk: have any of you seen this series? Please let me know! Are you now interested in it or even convinced to watch it (I hope so!)? What are some of your favorite shows, books, or movies that you wish people knew more about?



  1. You already know I love it. Just reading this post made me so happy. I don't know what Kenny Ortega did, but he did it right. I also love how he takes a non-traditional approach to a lot of things, like not making Carlos an annoying younger brother, and not having anything happen between Willy and Alex beyond references.

    1. You helped inspire me to watch it so writing a review was the least that I could and I'm so happy that you liked what I wrote! You can't see me, but I'm beaming over here. I love Kenny's initiative to break stereotypes and I also especially like how he had Carlos done. I applaud him for all of these choices.

  2. hehehehehehehehe i'm so glad you watched it!! i've watched it at least 40 times already LOL

    1. THANK YOU for introducing me to this incredible show! That is not an exaggeration because every part of it is so good. XD My sister and I just started our third time!

  3. Great review! I thought I wouldn't like it that much, but you've convinced me to try it. It looks really good.

    1. McKayla, I'd be willing to wager that you would really like this! The songs are incredible and I know that you like music. What are you waiting for? I would love to hear what you think of it!

  4. I've been meaning to watch this one.

    1. It seems light-hearted on the outside, but there are so many deep emotions that really hook you! Please do then tell me what you think!

  5. I've seen a lot of people rave about it, but I refuse to watch it because of principle (don't support Netflix and am rather uncomfortable about gay characters). Definitely appreciate the review though!

    1. I totally understand that, Catherine! For ages I was annoyed with a lot of streaming services, but my mom and sisters have gotten into them so I've gone with them. For sure I've watched things that I didn't like, but the good things make up for it. I was nervous about what they would do with Alex, but they made him really sweet. Aw, thanks for reading all the same!


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"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles