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    Updated on Sep 12, 2020. Posted on Sep 11, 2020

    Kenny Ortega's New Show "Julie And The Phantoms" Has Ghosts, Music, And Teen Drama — Here's What Happens In The First Episode

    This show has it all and I am here for it.

    Netflix's newest teen offering is Julie and the Phantoms and it is NOT a remake of Jem and the Holograms, despite how similar they sound.

    Netflix

    Julie and the Phantoms is about a teenage girl (played by Madison Reyes) who rediscovers her passion for music and life with the help of three teen rock stars who have been dead for 25 years. It's directed by Kenny Ortega, the man who gave us Hocus Pocus and High School Musical.

    Disney

    Music? A Latinx lead? A ghost rock band?? That's too many good things to ignore, so I checked out the pilot.

    🚨SPOILER WARNING FOR THE FIRST EPISODE OF Julie and the Phantoms 🚨

    We start in Hollywood in the year 1995, and right away I feel old because we've reached the point where the mid-'90s are considered retro. Anyway, four boys are rocking out to a song that's about being young and living forever, and tbh the song slaps.

    Netflix

    We quickly learn that this teen band is Sunset Curve, made up of Luke, Alex, Reggie, and Bobby. They meet and attempt to flirt with a girl named Rose before three of them head out to get hot dogs.

    Netflix

    Rose feels like she might be important later on, so let's remember her.

    Luke, Alex, and Reggie comment on the smell of Sunset Boulevard (can attest) and dream of the day they can eat food that doesn't come from the back of a car.

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    And then...they die.

    Netflix

    The show handles this pretty tastefully for a teen program, by cutting to a shot of an ambulance after the boys scarf down their questionable hot dogs. I wonder if it really was the hot dogs that killed them, or if something more sinister is afoot. But yep, 3/4 of Sunset Curve is dead. Sorry, Bobby.

    We fast-forward to Los Feliz High School in 2020, and we meet our star Julie! She and her best friend Flynn are dressed way cooler than I ever was in high school.

    Netflix

    We also meet Carrie, Julie and Flynn's nemesis, who looks and sounds like 2020's take on Sharpay Evans.

    Netflix

    In music class, Julie is supposed to perform in front of the other students, but she can't bring herself to do it and runs out.

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    Later, at home, Julie's dad (played by Carlos Ponce) comes home and tells her they're going to sell their house, and we learn why Julie is having a hard time at school: her mom died about a year ago and music was something they did together.

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    This is where I take a moment to let you all know that Carlos Ponce is a massive telenovela star and it is a HUGE deal for me to see him here on my Netflix teen programming.

    While Julie is cleaning out her mom's home studio and feeling like she's letting her memory down, who should appear but our dearly departed teen heartthrobs! That's right, the ghosts of Luke, Alex, and Reggie are in Julie's garage.

    Netflix

    This is what it looks like when they zap into a new place. Ghost powers!

    Julie, understandably, freaks out. Her dad, well intentioned though he may be, thinks she's talking about seeing her mom's things and not, y'know, actual ghosts. Dads never get it, do they?

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    Julie returns to the garage with a crucifix (same, girl) and the band realizes that they've been dead for 25 years, which is very awkward because they think it's only been one day.

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    Turns out they've been in some sort of ghost purgatory, which we'll hear more about later, I'm sure.

    The boys are very charming, and even though she admits that they're cute, Julie is having none of this and kicks them out.

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    Later, at dinner, Julie's aunt brings over pasteles and arroz con pollo (their family is Puerto Rican!) and tells everyone that she knows Julie was kicked out of the music program for not performing. Classic nosy aunt behavior.

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    She also seems oddly insistent that the family get over her sister's passing. Hm, suspicious.

    After a heart-to-heart with her dad, Julie has to go back to the garage because those pesky ghosts won't leave and are playing loud rock music. Turns out, only Julie can see them, but everybody can hear them when they play music.

    Netflix

    Julie's dad can't see the ghosts, but he did hear the ruckus they were making on those instruments.

    This is very exciting for the boys, who are thrilled they can still play music, but not for Julie, who has had a bad day and does not have the emotional bandwidth for this right now.

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    Luke explains that getting to play their music makes the band feel alive again, and Julie decides to let them stay after telling them about her mom.

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    She asks them if they've seen her in the afterlife (they haven't, FYI), and it's a really sweet moment.

    Luke, Alex, and Reggie ghost-zap themselves over to the Orpheum Theater and something spooky happens. While they're walking down the street, Alex bumps into a sinister-looking dude wearing a top hat.

    Netflix

    Right before this, we see someone fully walk through Reggie, so Alex should not have been able to have physical contact with this guy. The plot thickens!

    The next morning, Julie goes into the studio and sings her mom's song while playing the piano. This is the first time we hear her sing and she is GOOD.

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    The ghost boys seem to agree with me, because they appear behind her and look like they're thinking, "Oh damn."

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    And that's the first episode! I am hooked. Teen angst and ghost rock songs featured heavily in the pilot, but the trailer promises more upbeat numbers in the vein of HSM and The Descendants.

    Netflix

    And more cool outfits from Julie.

    Also, in the trailer: Julie and the ghost boys forming a band (duh, the title), an explanation on who the creepy top hat dude is, and *gasp* a potential romance between Julie and Luke??

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    This show has it all.

    What are you waiting for? Go watch it now!

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