Director/choreographer Kenny Ortega (High School Musical, This Is It, Xanadu, Hocus Pocus) knows a little something something about finding magic with a mix of teens, music and passion.
His latest is Julie and the Phantoms, a new Netflix series that follows the journey of a gifted teen girl, Julie (played by newcomer Madison Reyes), who’s lost her drive for music after her mother’s death.
But when the ghosts of three dreamy musicians from 1995 – Alex (Owen Joyner), Luke (Charlie Gillespie), and Reggie (Jeremy Shada) – appear, they reawaken Julie’s own inner spirit and create a new band together: Julie and the Phantoms.
It seems the guys, known back in the day as pop/punk band Sunset Curve, were on the road to stardom before their untimely deaths due to ‘bad hotdogs.’ But now they’re back to settle some unfinished business.
One twist: they can only be seen by mortals when they play their pop bops with Julie. But that doesn’t stop the sparks from flying between Julie and guitar-toting Luke.
There’s an LGBTQ storyline as Alex, the totally cute blond drummer, came out as gay shortly before his death (there’s at least one of us in every boy band, right?). Alex ends up crushing on Willie (Booboo Stewart), a charming skater boy who might know more about ghostly things than he lets on.
Also, out actor Cheyenne Jackson (American Horror Story) has a recurring role as the mysterious antagonist Caleb Covington who is somehow involved in a limit on the guys’ time among the living.
“We gave each one of those song moments a mission.”
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) September 8, 2020
Ortega definitely brings some High School Musical vibe (with a touch of Scooby Doo) with some peppy pop song performances (all the songs are pretty catchy) and of course, a blond nemesis for Julie since the series does take place in a high school setting.
All nine episodes of Julie and the Phantoms, based on the original Brazilian series Julie e os Fantasmas, are available now on Netflix.
p.s. even though the series was released just today, there’s already a tribute YouTube video out for the cute gay couple, Alex & Willie: