Percy Jackson and the Olympians review

PERCY JACKSON: Walker Scobell debuts in a role as Percy Jackson on the new Disney+ series. (Disney+)

Jordyn Banks | Writer

February 8, 2024

Over a decade ago, two adaptations of Rick Riordan’s best-selling books The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters performed poorly at the box office, leaving fans and Riordan himself incredibly disappointed. It has become a running joke among fans that the movies were a disaster. In December, however, Disney and Riordan attempted to revive Percy Jackson’s legacy with their show Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Percy Jackson, a young demigod, is sent to Camp Half-Blood, where he is given a quest to reconcile an argument among the gods and stop a war. At his side is Annabeth, the strong-willed daughter of Athena and a mythical satyr named Grover. However, after the finale, many fans feel like they have been let down again due to two primary factors: the timing of the episodes and the writing. 

Percy Jackson’s plot is complex enough, and many feel that the show could have explained it better. Furthermore, fitting everything in the books into a TV adaptation is difficult. It seems that the writers were unsure how to split the content into separate episodes, so in one moment, it feels like the journey has just begun, and then the next, the episode is over. 

“It went too fast,” remarked senior Ava Martinez. “The plot was so complex in the books, and they glossed over many important aspects of the plot and character development in the show. It is a lot better than the movies, though.” 

The writers have sacrificed essential plot points to fit all content into these short episodes. For instance, when the kids encounter Medusa, a mighty goddess who can turn anyone into stone, they decapitate her in minutes- which seems rushed and unrealistic. 

Additionally, many have called the show’s writing its “Achilles Heel” because it is often unnatural, awkward, and overly explanatory. For instance, Percy, Grover, and Annabeth know everything before it happens. In the books, when the kids encounter Medusa’s lair, they have no idea they are in Medusa’s lair. This adds to the show’s suspense and intrigue.

THAT’S NOT MY HERMES: Lin Manuel Miranda is Hermes, the god of travel and communication and the messenger of the gods. (Disney+)

However in the show, the kids will always say something like, “This is Medusa’s lair!” right before they go in, spoiling what will happen and making the experience less captivating. And finally, how the gods were written entirely dismisses how they were written in the original books. The gods were meant to be incredibly terrifying and all-powerful. The writing of Hermes in the show is ridiculous, as he looks and acts like any average guy. This portrayal removes all fear or anticipation and makes the gods feel less threatening. 

“Overall, we must remember that Rick Riordan’s audience is kids, so the show is not scary. But I believe that there are ways that a show can appeal to all audiences, not just kids- like Harry Potter did,” senior Paloma Brunson added. 

On a more positive note, the show’s casting is very impressive. If the writers sort out some of these fixable mistakes, I see a lot of potential for this show. 

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