Why 'Julie and The Phantoms' Should Be Your Next Binge Watch

When Disney+ was released, my friends and I spent our days rewatching shows and movies we grew up with, like Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and High School Musical. Our spiritless Spotify playlists turned into epic soundtracks, filling us with nostalgia.

After a while, I began to crave shows that portray teenagers as insightful, talented and empathetic people. While there have been some shows that depict the raw experience of teenagers (such as the brilliant Euphoria), these shows are not targeted towards younger audiences. Rather than presenting characters with nuance, TV shows tend to paint teenagers as one-dimensional, lovesick or simply ignorant people.

That’s why Julie and The Phantoms is a breath of fresh air. High schoolers do not exist in just one way, and the rebellious teen stereotype has been overdone by the media. The writers depict teens with complexity while maintaining some of the innocence that comes with being young.

The show is about Julie, a 16-year-old girl living in Los Angeles who has been unable to play music since her mother’s death. Three ghosts (“phantoms”) who were part of a boyband in the 1990s appear and are only visible to Julie.

Julie learns to lean on her “phantoms” for support while channeling her sorrow into music. Grief is a major theme throughout the show and I was surprised by the nuance with which they addressed it.

Luke, one of the ghosts, regrets running away from home and never gets the chance to say goodbye to his mom. Through the beautiful ballad, “Unsaid Emily”, the show does a wonderful job painting the complexity of grief. At the same time, it outlines a feeling many of us are familiar with: regret. We often wish we could go back in time to change the words we said or even take back something hurtful. This is not an easy emotion to depict, much less for a series targeted towards the younger generation. Julie and The Phantoms does this delicately and highlights the emotional complexity that many adults think teenagers don’t have.

While the show may be targeted towards teenagers, the message is universal: there is always a way to navigate pain. Often, the people who can help us through it are waiting in unexpected places. Maybe, a “phantom” band is right around the corner ready to help you channel your pain into a beautiful melody. Or, it might already be there and simply hiding in an unexpected place. Julie and The Phantoms is a complex and fun show that anyone will enjoy, and should definitely be next up on your quarantine binge-list.

Decide to check it out? Let us know what you think @HerCampuSJSU on Twitter or Instagram! Happy watching!