If you’re a High School Musical fan, then Netflix’s newest series Julie and the Phantoms, might be just what you’re looking for. Both musical stories were directed by Kenny Ortega, who’s responsible for Disney classics like Newsies, Descendants, and Hocus Pocus. While Julie and the Phantoms is for a newer generation of musical lovers, there are many similarities between it and High School Musical that makes the Netflix TV show look like a combination of HSM and Halloweentown.
Like High School Musical, Julie and the Phantoms occurs in a high school environment with its fair share of drama. The fabulous Sharpay is just like the attention-seeking Carrie. Troy Bolton could either be Julie’s crush Nick or the charming ghost Luke. And Julie herself is definitely the school’s Gabriella. In Julie and the Phantoms, we witness the intriguing love triangle between Julie, Nick, and Carrie. That is, complete with a choreographed tango dance scene between Julie and Luke. Romance is a big part of both High School Musical and Julie and the Phantoms. Although the latter keeps us guessing as to whether Julie will find herself with Nick or Luke. Click here for more on Julie and the Phantoms
Comedy is a big part of any work done by Kenny Ortega. High School Musical was full of sneaky quips that made us chuckle. Especially if they came from either Ryan or Sharpay. In Julie and the Phantoms, the humor is bumped up a notch. It contains a few genuinely hilarious moments, usually courtesy of the Phantoms. Reggie, in particular, delivers a few good laughs. But it’s Alex’s sarcastic humor that makes Julie and the Phantoms a cut above as far as comedy.
Both Julie and the Phantoms and High School Musical pack a big punch when it comes to heartfelt moments. Both teenage dramas are about overcoming tough moments to pursue what you love. Troy has to break away from expectations and risk disappointing his father to join Gabriela on stage. Julie has to heal from her mother’s death to find her voice once more. Even more, High School Musical and Julie and the Phantoms are about friends coming together to support each other. HSM even inspired a spin-off series, of sorts. Fans can return to East High by watching High School Musical: The Musical The Series. The show can be found on Disney+. Click here for more on HSM:TMTS.
We certainly can’t forget the best part about High School Musical and Julie and the Phantoms: the music! In both, there are slow, haunting ballads, beautiful duets, and schoolwide rock outs. Kenny Ortega certainly knows how to choreograph some superb musical numbers. If you love the all-out dance sequences like “Stick to the Status Quo” from High School Musical, then you’ll love the marching band accompanied “I Got the Music” in Julie and the Phantoms.
Julie and the Phantoms breaks the mold by adding a paranormal element to its story – not that anyone’s complaining about three attractive ghosts. Nevertheless, High School Musical paved the way for Julie and the Phantoms to be what it is, and we couldn’t help but notice how the two Kenny Ortega projects match up. If you’re a fan of the High School Musical film series, do yourself a favor and put Julie and the Phantoms on your watchlist – you won’t regret it!