Scrolling through Netflix is like a never-ending pool of possibilities, twists, and turns. Netflix is the kind of streaming platform that has shows, specials, and movies for every demographic out there. No matter what you are in the mood for, Netflix is guaranteed to have something for you. When it comes to shows tailored for younger audiences, Julie and the Phantoms was one of those shows that really took off after its release. The musical children’s series was one of the most popular projects to come from Netflix. However, the show was canceled after just one season. But, why?
Netflix has a reputation for canceling shows despite how popular they are. Julie and the Phantoms had the formula to be a solid show on the platform. You have a young woman of color who is making her big debut in the industry in Madison Reyes. Alongside undeniable chemistry between the entire cast and a fantastic soundtrack, the potential Julie and the Phantoms had been through the roof. However, whether it be the wrong demographic watching the show to Netflix placing its eggs in other baskets, let’s check out why Netflix canceled Julie and the Phantoms.
A Little Backstory
Julie and the Phantoms is a children’s musical series that came out on Netflix in 2020. The show follows a young Julie Molina (Reyes) who is learning to redefine her passion and love for music since the death of her mother. Just when she is about to give up, she summons the ghosts of the 90s band Sunset Curve. Julie is the key to bringing new life into the band of ghost teenagers because when she performs with them, they are visible to everyone who is alive.
As they develop a partnership and friendship with each other, they face dangers that threaten the future of their music careers. Julie, Luke, Alex, and Reggie attempt to make their dreams come true, light up the stage, and bring sweet music to our ears. However, despite the heartfelt and wholesome plot, Netflix did not see a future for the show after the first season.
The Cast and the Creator
In order to really put things into perspective, we have to highlight the most crucial part of why this show was such a success after only one season: the fabulous cast and the iconic creator. The show stars a fresh face in the young adult musical world with Reyes as Julie, Charlie Gillespie as Luke, Owen Joyner as Alex, and Adventure Time’s Jeremy Shada as Reggie.
This show is jam-packed full of heart, soul, and talent that its untimely cancelation after one season is continuously a hard pill to swallow. The cast of this show gave audiences a story to fall head over heels for and performed a soundtrack that had us on our feet and withholding our tears. The chemistry between this group of young actors is undeniable when they are on-screen. That in of itself made this show something to root for.
Also, if the talent on the show feels as special for you as it did us, we have to give credit to a familiar name in the young adult musical realm: the show’s creator, Kenny Ortega. Ortega is no stranger to making musicals that are meant to define generations of childhood nostalgia. Some very notable projects in his back pocket are the High School Musical franchise, Cheetah Girls 2, Newsies, Hocus Pocus, and The Descendants. The show’s music, choreography, costuming, and cast all ride on the back of this absolute force in the entertainment industry.
The Wrong Audience
It is no secret that Julie and the Phantoms is a show tailored for a young audience. The show itself is bright, family-friendly, and entirely wholesome to its core. However, the audience that it seemed to garner since its release is definitely much older than anticipated. Viewers in their late-teens and their 20s have seen themselves gravitating to the show. Well, that can be attributed to a few things about how the show is presented to fans.
First and foremost, the soundtrack of this show is dynamic. The stars, particularly Reyes, are the complete highlights of each number. With an obviously new and talented group of actors as well as some seasoned veterans like Cheyenne Jackson and The Decedents’ own Booboo Stewart, the music makes this show something that every person can relate to and listen to for any time and place.
In addition to all that, Ortega’s role in the show’s creation brings to life a new sense of nostalgia. Ortega is responsible for creating some of the best projects for young audiences and this one is right up there with the greats. The magic that he brings to the screen is reflected throughout this incredible series and touched people who grew up with his older projects. All of this contributes to the reason why Netflix canceled the series. If they wanted a show that brought in a younger demographic, Julie and the Phantoms did not do enough.
Netflix’s Ongoing Pattern
Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services in the world. They pump out content like a factory and as much as Netflix seems to be able to produce, they are a business first and foremost. They are just trying to see which projects work for what they want. Sometimes, this leads to shows, however beloved, getting canceled early.
Netflix canceling shows after just one season should be a crime at this point, but that has never stopped them. Shows like I Am Not Okay With This, The Society, and of course, Julie and the Phantoms have all been victims of Netflix’s lack of dedication to complete storylines. This has garnered immense scrutiny and accusations that streaming platforms have ruined the concept of television. All in all, it seems like no show is safe from the one-season cancelation pattern of Netflix.
Netflix officially announced that Julie and the Phantoms will not be renewed for a second season in September 2022. Since the first season aired, fans of the show have been hounding Netflix on social media to renew the series to no avail and starting petitions and campaigns to get another season. However, there is still a sliver of hope out there. Ortega and the cast have expressed numerous times that they would love to be able to tell Julie’s story and if that means continuing on another platform, then so be it. The talk about this show getting the ending it deserved has died down in the last few months but the dedication and love from fans have yet to dwindle.