Book lovers have rejoiced over break as the well-loved fantasy novel series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, has gotten a brand new TV show adaptation. The first two episodes premiered on Disney+ on December 19th, 2023, both directed by James Bobin. They received great praise from viewers, containing details and an energy very alike to the youthful, charismatic feeling in the books. The lead actors, Walker Scobell (Percy Jackson), Leah Jeffries (Annabeth Chase), and Aryan Simhadri (Grover Underwood) all play a large part in this feeling, as well as author of the novels Rick Riordan, who is a writer on the show.
If you didn’t grow up spewing random facts about Greek mythology to everyone around you, I’ll catch you up. The series follows a twelve year old boy named Percy Jackson who finds out that he is a demigod, half-human and half-god, in a world where Greek gods still exist. His life flips upside-down overnight as suddenly he discovers that monsters want to kill him and he must work with other demigods to save the world. The books are still beloved by adults and children today, even though the first of the six original series released in 2005. Two films were made based on Riordan’s series, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013), but both received widespread criticism.
Luckily, the new show seems to be positively spinning the narrative on Percy Jackson adaptations so far. The actors are young, only slightly older than the children they’re portraying, which allows the cast to develop the dynamic of young heroes who are underestimated and still learning how to be strong. I’ve also been charmed by the dialogue; the episodes don’t have the same time to tell the story as the written novel, but the writers and actors still capture the relationship between the main trio very well, and situate them well in modern times.
The episodes have been released weekly on Wednesdays since the premiere, and there will be eight total in the first season. The first four episodes are out now, named after chapter titles in the first novel: “I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher,” “I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom,” “We Visit the Garden Gnome Emporium,” and “I Plunge to My Death.” The novels themselves are narrated from Percy’s perspective, and this show focuses on many characters, but Percy’s goals and ideas still come across as the central driving force, which helps the story greatly. Even though most viewers know how the story goes, the creative liberties don’t take away from the integrity of the story, but add something new and exciting.
All in all, so far this show is setting up what is sure to be a fantastic series, although the episodes tend to be short. I was skeptical at first, and it’s not over yet, but if you’re looking for a funny, nostalgic watch with clever acting, I would definitely add Percy Jackson and the Olympians to your list.
Junior Emily Hanson is the Arts & Leisure Editor. Her email is email@example.com.