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Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

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REVIEW: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Percy Jackson returns to the big screen in the form of a new Disney+ series.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Logos and Key Art, photo from Disney+ media package.

The Lightning Thief is the first book in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympian series. The story that most kids read during middle school English class, has been re-adapted into a live-action in the form of a new Disney+ series. The book series was first adapted in 2010, with “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” and a sequel in 2013 “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.” After both movies were negatively received by both critics and audiences, the attempted movie franchise ended up leaving a bad taste in fan’s mouths. Even author Rick Riordan publicly expressed distaste for the movies; however, a decade later in 2023, Disney+ created an eight-episode show titled “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” with Riordan as a co-creator and executive producer on the project. 

The eight-episode season follows Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon played by up-and-coming child actor Walker Scobell, who found early fame in 2022’s “The Adam Project” with Ryan Reynolds. Percy Jackson is not alone in the story, as he is surrounded by Annabeth Chase (Leah Jeffries), the daughter of Athena, and Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri), the mythical creature that is a Satyr. The season follows the trio crossing the United States moving from one mythical location to another as they are trying to prevent a war between Zeus and Poseidon over Zeus’ missing master bolt. The master bolt is the representation of Zeus’ power.

One of the season’s highlights is the young cast. In the original book, Percy Jackson is in 6th grade, and although the new cast does not fit the age exactly, Scobell, Jeffries and Simhadri feel young enough to play the characters. Scobell is currently 15 years old, which is a blessing and a curse for the show, as throughout the filming of the series his growth is visible. The trio has strong chemistry on-screen as well as off-screen. The connection between the main trio carries some parts of the show when the writing is subpar. 

Another highlight is the show’s accuracy to the source material. One major complaint from fans towards the original films was the inaccuracy of the story compared to the original books, but with the author on set of the show, the fans were promised a more accurate season, and the show delivered. Although the eight-episode season format feels too short, the series manages to use its longer runtime to include parts of the story that the movie missed. So if you were a fan of the original book, you will see more parts from the story in each episode. 

Now, one of the major issues with the first season is the story-telling format. It felt more like tell, rather than show. The show either was limited in runtime by Disney or just used the show’s time poorly. Some of the best moments from the book felt undercooked and disappointing because instead of surprising the audience and letting the characters discover the mystery themselves, the characters always know what is happening and are able to explain it to the audience. 

The tell-not-show issue also led to another problem: the need for more action. The story focuses on a demi-god character surrounded by a world of clashing gods and monsters, but the action throughout the series is minimal. Most action sequences spend more time building up the tension, followed by all tension being cut down in a few moments. 

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” has a lot of potential, but the first season has disappointed me and other fans of the source material. The cast will continue to grow over time and if the show continues over the upcoming years, Disney+ will have a strong series on their platform. So, with a weak storytelling style, season format, writing style and poor action “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” will receive a 3/5 from me.

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Tyler Miller, Tom Tom Staff
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