"Netflix is trying its hand at every genre under the sun," says Petrana Radulovic. "You want reality dating competitions? Netflix has a show for that. Cheesy holiday movies? Absolutely. Interactive choose-your-own-adventure games? Choose from a pile of them. And now, with Julie and the Phantoms, Netflix is embracing the highly specific subgenre of the Disney Channel Original Movie. Netflix has certainly ventured into preteen programming before. Just a few months ago, the highly acclaimed Baby-Sitters’ Club series premiered on the platform. But Julie and the Phantoms’ 10-episode first season more specifically evokes Disney Channel Original classics like Hannah Montana, High School Musical, and Shake It Up. Is it because Disney Channel auteur Kenny Ortega is behind the show? Is it the glittery costumes and lavish musical sequences? Or the teenagers doing grandiose things that most teens probably couldn’t do? Everything about the first trailer, for better or for worse, spells out Disney Channel Original. Based on a Brazilian show of the same name, Julie and the Phantoms’ first season proves Netflix can do wacky teen hijinks mixed with supernatural elements — plus over-the-top moments infused with a genuine emotional core."
Julie and the Phantoms is high-concept, high-energy and high-tolerability: "The half-hour show, like its three teen punker ghosts imprisoned inside their own 25-year-old demo CD, is a Disney Channel showbiz comedy trapped inside a Netflix prestige project," says Robyn Bahr. "But with an infectious guitar-infused pop soundtrack and a goofy-cute trio of kindly Emo Ken spirits to drive the fun, nine-episode Julie and the Phantoms rises from kiddie shlock to buoyant family entertainment."
Madison Reyes is nearly the same as her character Julie: “I wanted someone whom everyone could watch and really recognize themselves in,” says Kenny Ortega. “After watching her video, I knew Madison was the girl to beat. She has this raw talent that can take on any genre of music, and this promise of greatness that excited everybody. And yet she’s so relatable and grounded.” Reyes adds: “I’m nervous about whether or not people are going to fall in love with her, because I’m just like her."
Kenny Ortega on casting Julie and the Phantoms: "We searched for actors with musical backgrounds," he says. "I was excited by the ambitious task to find actors that could handle the humor and heart of our story and bond as a band. It was an incredible moment when those dreams materialized with the discovery and casting of Madison, Charlie (Gillespie), Owen (Joyner) and Jeremy (Shada)."