When I first saw that Disney+ was adapting Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” I was very intrigued. However, I do have a confession to make before we move forward: while I love a good YA fantasy, I have never read any of the “Percy Jackson ” books nor watched the movie adaptation. I had known that “Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ ‘ was a well-loved series by many and I had always been meaning to pick up a copy. I did come into the series blind, having no idea what I was about to endure. After watching the first two episodes, I, of course, ran to my local Barnes and Noble to buy all five books. By the time the third episode was released on Disney+, I had finished the first book.

In case you are unfamiliar with this YA fantasy, the series follows Percy Jackson, a typical 12-year-old boy who has just learned he is a demi-god (half god, half human). He is forced to move to a camp filled with other demigods where he must complete the most dangerous quest of his life. Along with two friends, Annabeth and Grover, Percy is tasked to journey throughout the United States to retrieve a stolen lightning bolt and give it back to Zeus. As he embarks on the quest of a lifetime, Percy must navigate a world of danger and deception, facing off against powerful enemies and uncovering secrets about his past. 

This first season is solely based on Riordan’s first book, “The Lightning Thief.” “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” opens with a two-part premiere that I felt was very strong. From the very first episode, it’s evident that the creators have taken great care to remain as close as possible to Riordan’s book material, bringing the iconic characters and legendary moments to life in a way that is both nostalgic and refreshing. Before starting the show, I knew about the 2010 movie adaptation and how disappointing it was for the fans. I have now seen that movie and can safely say that the TV series does a much better job of adapting directly from the book. 

I would have to argue that the strongest piece throughout this series lies with the actors. Casting for Percy, Annabeth and Grover was no small feat, especially with all of the expectations from lifelong fans. Walker Scobell, Leah Sava Jeffries, and Aryan Simhadri — Percy, Annabeth, and Grover — each embody their character with a level of authenticity that resonates with fans. The show simply wouldn’t work without the perfect Percy Jackson and I couldn’t see anyone better to play him than Walker Scobell. The chemistry among the cast members enhances the overall viewing experience, creating a dynamic ensemble that effortlessly carries the narrative forward. 

While mostly staying true to the original narrative, the show also introduces some creative nuances and additional scenes that amplify the storytelling. I thought the show writers and creators did a wonderful job of intertwining new ideas while still staying consistent with the book. Something the show does really well that is missing from the first book is its ability to foreshadow the future of the “Percy Jackson” universe. 

The only complaint I would give is the pacing of the series. It is extremely difficult to match the pacing of a book to a TV series because they are such different mediums. Sometimes, I felt like the show was rushing and breezing over certain events. There were certain moments that I remembered from the books that either got cut out of the series or became frivolous.

Overall, this new Percy Jackson series is a triumph in the world of book-to-screen adaptation. It not only pays homage to the original series, but it adds a new flair to keep the book readers intrigued. Perhaps the highest praise I can give to this series is it made me want to read the books. If a TV series can persuade me to read the books just from watching the first episode, that is very telling. Whether you are a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the demi-god universe, this is such a compelling and entertaining watch. With season two getting the green light, there is so much more to come in the “Percyverse.”

About The Author

First-year | Assistant Vine Editor | Digital Journalism and Marketing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.