Julie and the Phantoms is a preponderant candidate as the most bizarre series among the releases of Netflix of September. And the reason is very simple: the title is not allegorical nor is it meant to be a metaphor, but must be taken literally. Julie (Madison Reyes) is the undisputed protagonist and is surrounded by three adorable ghosts from a cd dusty found by chance in the garage. It would be advisable now not to ask too many questions, since clearly this fantasy-teen comedy does not mind being coherent in the strict sense of the term. It aspires more to be a light and carefree pastime, addressed to a young audience and clearly inspired, for atmosphere and tones, by those Disney series like Hannah Montana The Sonny among the stars.
With more an unfailing and profound background message, a great little hymn to being yourself, not to be disheartened by the sudden difficulties of life and to always pursue your passions. Simple, clear, but universal and current messages that Julie and the Phantoms – whose debut is expected on Netflix in September – seems to capture and convey well in the first episodes, although the risk of repetition is around the corner.
The risks of listening to a CD
And we are immediately catapulted in media res, in a moment not particularly happy for young Julie: for about a year, in fact, he suffers the mourning of his mother, among other things the person who had made her discover her greatest passion, namely music. For Julie, playing the piano and singing was tantamount to doing it with her and since that traumatic day he is no longer able to express himself through his own songs, to the point of even losing his place in his school’s music program.
A long series of disappointments that changes the moment when, listening to an old CD of an unknown band found by chance, three ghosts appear in her house – who are none other than the members of that group, who died 25 years earlier for causes that we will not reveal to you. Quickly realizing Julie’s incredible talent, this quirky trio gets to work to help her regain self-confidence.
And the beauty of Julie and the Phantoms it must be sought precisely in this moving goodness: Three guys suddenly discover – if not abruptly – that they are dead and have lost all chance of fulfilling their lifelong dream of becoming a world famous band and being one with the public. So they absolutely cannot stand by and watch a young singer give it up as if nothing had happened, regardless of all the difficulties.
The best moments come from here, never overly heavy and always with a touch of simple and effective humor, scenes and dialogues in which that positive and energetic message emerges, representing the beating heart of the series. On the other hand, the new Netflix proposal presents itself with a good pace, pleasant characters and easy to frame – but avoiding making them trivial – and with a well-calculated dose of extra depth, especially in the characterization of the three ghosts.
The risk you run, however, is that of repetitiveness, present a little in every aspect: first of all in the humor, fanciful and perfectly suited to the target of the series, albeit repetitive, because the gag continues of Julie discussing with the ghosts and someone sees her talking to anyone tired quickly; in the teen part, as they can be seen on the horizon those stylistic features that now write themselves, from the omnipresent and small quarrel with the best friend to the rivalry with the privileged one.
Not that we should expect such a revolution from Julie and the Phantoms, but these are really roads traveled hundreds of times even considering 2020 alone. It would probably be better to insist more on strengths, not a few and surprisingly intriguing.