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Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Show Better Than Movies, But Not Much

Willow Collins
Percy Jackson and The Olympians is available to stream on Disney+. New episodes premiere Tuesdays.

‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ is a well known 5 book series by author Rick Riordan. An adaptation in the form of a TV series has been premiering on Disney+ every Tuesday at 6 p.m. This review will contain spoilers.

The first book, ‘The Lighting Thief,’ is what the first season of the TV series is adapting at the moment. There are currently 7 episodes out, with the finale coming out Tuesday. There have been mixed reviews about this adaptation. Many are relieved it is better than the movies, as most of the fandom, including the author, have agreed the movies were abysmal. However, the TV series is not much better.

One of the biggest flaws in the show is the run time for each episode, which averages about 35 minutes. Therefore many important and well-loved scenes feel very rushed and leave out many key factors that were loved by fans in the original book. For example, the original book introduced an influx of characters, but there were three main characters readers would follow through the eyes of Percy Jackson. The first key character is the hero himself. Percy Jackson is revealed to be the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and because of this Zeus believes Percy stole his master bolt, which is a weapon of great power. Percy is a quick witted boy who is brand new to this world of monsters and gods, and he stumbles his way through his first quest by thinking on his feet, and one of the best scenes to show how smart Percy is was a giant let down in the show. The gang meets Procrustes, killer of heroes, who kills his victims by tricking them to lay on a bed, which then traps them. In the book Annabeth and Grover, his other two companions, fall for the trick, and while trapped Percy thinks quickly on his feet and is able to actually trick Procrustes into falling for his own trap. This scene is one of the most iconic scenes as its one of the first introductions to just how smart Percy is. But in the show, the 7th episode opens up to Percy already knowing who Procrustes is, and while talking to him, Annabeth surprises him and pushes him onto a bed. It is severely lacking the character growth that is seen throughout the first book as Percy finds his feet and becomes more confident in his abilities, which could simply be fixed by having a longer run time, as more time could be dedicated to character growth.

Many are also worried Annabeth will get the ‘Hermione treatment.’ Which is when a strong female character is never wrong, never learns from her mistakes, and because of this she mainly comes off as overconfident and insufferable. And it is prevalent in this season. Annabeth is one of Percy’s companions and the daughter of Athena. She is very smart and well-versed in the world, and at the beginning of the book she is cold and hardened, but as it continues she grows and it is revealed how caring she is. In the show, she and Percy have a rivalry during the first two episodes, as Annabeth doesn’t believe he is capable of the quest, but it eventually blooms into an amazing friendship, with which the show writers did great. However, in the 2nd episode, they stumble upon a statue garden called ‘Auntie M’s.’ In the book the trio walks in and is immediately welcomed by an elderly lady, which is Medusa. But they don’t realize this until it is almost too late. In the TV series, the trio walks onto the property, and Annabeth immediately knows it is Medusa. There is no suspense or surprise factor. She just immediately knows. This takes away from the engagement of the audience and overall makes it not entertaining to watch and makes Annabeth almost too smart.

Because of the rightful criticisms the show received, Rick Riordan has publicly said if it gets renewed for a second season, he will take into consideration everything said. And because of how well the character dynamic is written, and the beautiful settings shown, there are high hopes that season two, “The Sea of Monsters,” will improve the show.

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