3/5. Contains spoilers.
The Percy Jackson franchise is back on our screens, however this time we are accompanying preteen Percy on Disney+ in a new series titled Percy Jackson and the Olympians. On 20 December 2023, the first two episodes of the show were released and since then, one episode has been released every Wednesday. Although made into a two-film series in the early 2010s, more than a decade later, with a new adaptation of the story that has captivated so many, it looks like the fans will finally see the six-book saga play out to the end.
For those that haven’t heard or read the story before, Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell) is a 12-year-old demigod who has just found out that his father is one of the twelve Olympians in Greek mythology, and that he, consequently, has divine powers. However, all is not well as he is accused by Zeus of having stolen his ‘Master Bolt’. Percy is threatened that if he doesn’t return the bolt within a week, war will break out. Simultaneously, (spoilers for the end of the second episode), he is on a quest to find Hades as Percy believes he stole the bolt and his mother.
Jackson is accompanied in his new adventure by familiar characters such as Annabeth Chase, (Leah Jeffries), Grover Underwood, (Aryan Simhadri) and Luke Castellan, (Charlie Bushnell). We also have special appearances of familiar faces such as Jason Mantzougas as Dionysus, whose comedic remarks never fail to make an audience laugh, Lance Reddick’s final TV appearance as Zeus, and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Hermes.
Although two films had already been made that covered the first two books, it has been argued that it did not live up to its potential. Therefore, this is a good chance for the Disney+ series to redeem it. From what we can see so far, the young adult series adaptation is off to a good start. Being directed with the help of the original author, this show can be praised for being an accurate representation of the fantasy that fans have been waiting for decades.
This series is a clear coming-of-age show; Percy has to find himself and come to terms with his new identity, and these two episodes showed this very well. Casting Walker Scolbell as Percy proved to be a rewarding decision as he portrays him perfectly. His sarcasm and sense of humour reflect the character’s personality exactly how it was done in the books which makes for a very enjoyable show. However, I do have a few critiques. Although it is clearly better than the films, I felt as though it was made for a different age group in mind. And even if Disney+ is more family-friendly than other platforms, there are still series that every age group can enjoy. As a 20-year-old, I felt as though Percy Jackson and The
Olympians was too young for me and therefore not a show that I would enjoy as much as I would like.
Furthermore, it seems to be catered for the fans from the books and although it will reach people who haven’t seen it before, there is not a lot of context given to them. New viewers might need to keep watching for a bit in order to fully understand what is happening on the sidelines.
Cinematography is very present in both these first episodes, where there is symbolism everywhere you look, however, the part that has to be highlighted is the closing credits. Not having seen this in any other Disney+ series, I think it did very well to show that this series is a depiction of the books and that all those drawings and images will come to life throughout the show.
So far it is looking good. We will have to wait and see to determine if it is as much of a hit as hoped, but so far it seems to be on the right track. Although it will always be deemed imperfect as fans will always want more, the reaction so far has been positive.
This season will have 8 episodes, as most Disney+ shows do. After a three-year wait for the first season, it is clear that we will have to wait some time for the next book to be brought to life in a second season.