Julie and the Phantoms

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Julie and the Phantoms TV Poster Image
 Parents recommendPopular with kids
Heartwarming series wins with music, emotional honesty.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 64 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The series intends to entertain rather than to educate, but there are positive messages about self-discovery, self-expression, and self-confidence, among others.

Positive Messages

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.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language

Rarely "dork," "sucks," and "stupid."

Consumerism

The band plays the original songs in the show, and they are available for download. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byAngelie T. September 25, 2020

AMAZING

This show is great! My daughter, who is turning 12 in two days, just watched it for the 14th time, she’s a little obsessed. There is one shot where 3 boys pull... Continue reading
Adult Written byMattea123 November 19, 2020

Refreshing show with great messages and music

We LOVED this show! The characters are so likable and diverse. I love that the female characters are portrayed as strong and smart. The music is incredible and... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byHgfbmuigmi January 6, 2021

Smells an awful lot like Disney Channel... but it's better!

The show is filled with charming characters and catchy music! It has some really good representation in it as well. It does have a very Disney Channel Original... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLiv4evah November 3, 2020

I love this show

I'm addicted to this show. It was amazing! (Warning there are some song that may cause excessive crying and wailing.) The songs are so heartfelt and loving... Continue reading

What's the story?

In JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS, it's nearly a year after her mother's death, and 15-year-old Julie (Madison Reyes) still struggles to reignite her passion for music, a love that she shared with her songwriter mom. Unfortunately, that means she loses her spot in her school's prestigious music program, which is a crushing blow to her and to her best friend and fellow program enrollee, Flynn (Jadah Marie). When fate delivers to her the ghosts of three musicians whose untimely food poisoning deaths ended their anticipated rise to fame 25 years ago, Luke (Charlie Gillespie), Reggie (Jeremy Shada), and Alex (Owen Joyner) help inspire Julie to recapture her love for music and regain the confidence to perform. In so doing, they get to revisit their own aspirations, as they become visible to the rest of the world when they're playing music with her.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about where Julie finds inspiration and support in Julie and the Phantoms. How do her people rally around her when she needs it? What help is a strong support system in difficult times? In what ways can you fill that role for someone else?

  • How does Julie's willingness to be honest emotionally help her cope with difficult situations in healthy ways? How does she demonstrate courage and perseverance in these ways? Who are positive role models of similar qualities in your life?

  • Does Julie and the Phantoms do an effective job promoting the band's music? Is that its intent? How are our preferences and opinions shaped by what we see on the screen? Can this be a good thing?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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