High School Musical-Obsessed Kids Will Adore Netflix's Julie and the Phantoms
Let's be upfront about something: 2020 would be much more bearable with a brand-new musical TV show to binge. And fortunately, Netflix's delightful new series, Julie and the Phantoms, checks that box. Julie (Madison Reyes) — a teenager who recently lost her mom — finds her lost passion for music again thanks to the help of three ghosts from a '90s boy band: Luke (Charlie Gillespie), Alex (Owen Joyner), and Reggie (Jeremy Shada).
Based on Julie e os Fantasmas, a TV show that ran in Brazil from 2011 to 2012, the Netflix version is pretty much every parent's dream: it's cool enough to keep your tween or teen's attention, but appropriate enough that if your 6-year-old catches a few scenes, there isn't anything to worry about. And did we mention that it's absolutely hilarious?
Look for Julie and the Phantoms on Netflix beginning on Sept. 10! Read ahead to get a look at why your kids should queue up this new series and what parents should be aware of before pressing play.
1. Death is an overarching theme throughout the show.
Given the fact that one of the very first scenes shows Luke, Alex, and Reggie dying in 1995 from eating hot dogs, it's safe to say that death is a fairly big theme of the show. Of course, when the bandmates return as ghosts, they are far from scary. Eager to get to know Julie and help her rediscover herself as a musician, the scare factor is way more in line with Casper than Paranormal Activity.
The death of Julie's mom is also frequently discussed throughout the series. Although there aren't many details surrounding how she passed away, the storyline may be triggering for older kids who have previously lost a parent.
2. The music is incredible.
Each episode is chock-full of family-friendly music you won't actually mind listening to while driving your children to school. And because many of the songs are rock-based, we have a feeling your older kids will be belting out tunes from Julie and the Phantoms at all hours of the day. The short of it: you can feel good about downloading the upbeat soundtrack.
3. The show illustrates healthy female friendships.
Viewers see Julie and her best friend, Flynn (Jadah Marie), have frequent spats with their archnemesis, Carrie (Savannah Lee May), at school. And while we love how the high school drama is infused with music, there's also something extraspecial about Julie and Flynn's bond.
Like any relationship, Julie and Flynn's friendship isn't always perfect. In fact, they get into an argument about what inspires Julie to get back into music again, and as you can imagine "ghosts" isn't exactly an acceptable answer.
On top of working through their differences — and not holding grudges with each other! — the pair eventually overcome the issue. Additionally, the girls have a discussion about how Flynn has been supporting Julie in the months after her mother's death. Isn't that exactly what friends are for?
4. Julie and the Phantoms addresses the concept of an afterlife.
Because Julie and the Phantoms has a paranormal element, there's a lot of chatter about the afterlife and what happens to those who pass on. Addressed in an age-appropriate manner with the help of a lovable skateboard-obsessed character named Willie (Booboo Stewart), some scenes could prompt your children to ask about going to heaven or why a person would stay on Earth as a ghost due to "unfinished business." It might be best to have an answer or two prepared!
5. The show demonstrates the importance of having a creative outlet.
Without music, it's clear that Julie is lost while grieving her mom's death. While the electric guitar might not be your kid's thing, it's important that children have a creative outlet to funnel their feelings into. And that activity could be anything, as long as it has a positive impact on their life and mental health.