A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series intends to entertain rather than to educate, but there are positive messages about self-discovery, self-expression, and self-confidence, among others.
Presents a very realistic look at life in many of its emotions and struggles, including grief process after death of a loved one, social pressures of high school. Viewers see characters explore their feelings in thoughtful and healthy ways with help of supportive people in their lives. Concepts like homosexuality and faith are integrated into the story without becoming the story themselves.
Positive Role Models
Julie benefits from a strong support system. Her father is a constant presence in her life, encourages her to express herself honestly, especially with regard to recent loss of her mother. He's sympathetic, generous, kind. She also has a close friend who's her biggest fan, and her bandmates help her work through struggles in unorthodox but effective ways.
Rarely "dork," "sucks," and "stupid."
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Products & Purchases
The band plays the original songs in the show, and they are available for download.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Julie and the Phantoms is about a musically gifted teen (Madison Reyes) who finds herself in a unique situation. Conceived by producer Kenny Ortega (of Descendants and High School Musical fame), the story centers on a main character who's coping with a recent loss and finds surprising comfort in the company of three teenage ghosts. The show is heartfelt, heartwarming, funny, emotionally honest, and very well delivered by its talented cast. Julie's experiences illustrate the importance of self-expression and self-acceptance, and the people in her life inspire her to stay true to her passions. The series deals honestly with emotional awareness and deals with concepts like sexual identity and faith in matter-of-fact ways. Fans of the show likely will seek out the original music that's performed by the band, but that small marketing tie-in is a minor consideration in this wholesome, endearing series with a strong female lead.
Is It Any Good?
The remarkable talent of acclaimed producer Kenny Ortega is hard to eclipse, but here it's managed by the entirety of the cast of this unassuming but spectacular series. It starts with Reyes, whose emotional connection to her title role is obvious right off the bat and who captivates on-screen from then on. Enter her unlikely new trio of friends -- three quippy teens who are not surprised to learn they're ghosts but are shocked to discover they've been in limbo for a quarter of a century -- with their very genuine interpersonal relationships and their obvious care for Julie. Round that out with her compassionate father, supportive teachers, and devoted best friend, and Ortega's masterful vision for this series becomes obvious.
Beyond these rich characterizations, Julie and the Phantoms offers viewers something even more likely to reel them in time and again: the impressive musical talent of its frontmen and woman, who actually perform the songs in the show. Julie and the guys have a great rapport on-screen that's only enhanced when they sing and play together. This spells big and far-reaching success for the show, not surprising given Ortega's track record with productions that meld drama, humor, and exceptional original scores.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.