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The Casa Revista

The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

Calling All Demigods! Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2023) Review

A review of the long awaited television series adaption of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series!

Let’s be honest, Greek Mythology is probably not everyone’s favorite topic to learn about in school. Whether it’s the amount of myths or the numerous difficult-to-spell, some people just don’t enjoy it. But while some people dislike this subject, there are many others who do. While some people may just like Greek mythology, a big reason as to why they are popular today is the Percy Jackson book series. 

On June 28th, 2005, the book, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, written by Rick Riordan, was released. It’s a popular fantasy series about 12 year old Percy Jackson who discovers he’s a demigod, and that the ancient Greek pantheon of Gods from Greek Mythology still exists today in the modern world. He then gets involved in the theft of Zeus’s master lightning bolt and has to go on a quest with 2 of his friends Annabeth and Grover to retrieve it and stop a war between the Gods. Rick Riordan created a world were he was able to write modern characters that connect to the complicated history of Greek Mythology, while also teaching young readers about this history. Ever since then, the story in the Percy Jackson books has kept on expanding, with numerous other books being added to the ever-growing series. 

Given the books’ popularity, many fans wanted a live action adaptation, which was delivered in 2010 by 20th Century Studios. However, it wasn’t the one the fans wanted or needed. The film was not accurate to the source material and the writers blatantly ignored Rick Riordan’s own suggestions for improving the script. He had not been not present for the writing, and it is evident while viewing the film that his work had been drastically altered in the transfer from page to screen. There is no further need to dive into why the 2010 movie was not a good adaptation, so let’s just leave it at that. 

In 2020 however, it was announced that there was a new television series in the works, consisting of 8 episodes to adapt the first novel. This time, Rick Riordan would be working on it as well, so fans were sure this would be a much better version of the books than the movies. The series has been worked on consistently since then, across its development, production, and post-production stages since 2021, and the first two episodes were finally released on Disney+ and Hulu on December 19th 2023, with a scheduled release of 1 episode per week up until January 30th.

The show before releasing had immense praise from critics as well as from fans who knew from how fondly the author and everyone working on the show talked about how faithful it would be to the books. The first 2 episodes premiered to 13 million viewers in the first week, and by 3 weeks it had amassed to 26 million, and in the week of January 28th was the most streamed original show across all platforms. The show also had great reviews from the critics, receiving a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.5/10 on IMDb. 

As a huge fan of the books, in my opinion the series is very faithful to the original source material and is a brilliant adaptation. They are able to capture the heart and themes of the story, even if some details were not entirely book accurate as some fans have pointed out.

I disagree with these criticisms however, as the overall quality of the show is still quite impressive. The changes made have improved the show, allowing more opportunity for characters and plot lines to develop more. The fact is also that if it was a carbon copy of the book, it might seem a bit boring to viewers who know the story by heart, so this leads to an opportunity for the writers to show fans new ideas and new viewpoints then the book.

“I haven’t had time to watch it yet, but I want to and it looks really good!” Sophomore Emily Bendzick replied when asked about the new show.

Another subject of praise for the show creators is their phenomenal job on casting the characters. The casting directors had said that they were focused on casting young actors accurate to the character’s personality, and that’s exactly what they did. The main three actors Walker Scobell (Percy Jackson), Leah Sava Jeffries (Annabeth Chase) and Aryan Simhadri (Grover Underwood) were a perfect fit for their roles, resembling the personalities and souls of the characters. 

Walker Scobell, Aryan Simhadri, and Leah Jeffries in Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2023)

“I thought it was going to be bad, but it’s actually really, really good.” Sophomore Jackie Magana said when asked about her opinion about the series. 

Overall, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians 2023 television series is an incredibly well written, well casted, well made, and well received show. It brings in the parts of the book that made it so good, and improves upon parts that could’ve been better. Percy Jackson fans can rest easy knowing that they got a truly faithful and amazing adaptation of the books.  Fans can also look forward to season 2 of the show, as it just got renewed on February 7th, and hopefully more seasons to come. 

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