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The Wingspan

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” season one review

An electrifying new series has struck Disney Plus.
“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” season one review

19 years after the successful run of the extremely popular fantasy book series written by Rick Riordan, the widely anticipated, eight episode series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” has been released on Disney Plus.

The first season follows protagonist Percy Jackson and his troop of friends, as they search for  Zeus’ lost lightning bolt and attempt to prevent Greek gods from going to war. Throughout the season, we witness him grapple with his newfound distinction as a Half-Blood — the canonical term for a child of a mortal and God — and the discovery that he is one of the few children of the God of the Seas, Poseidon. 

Unlike the poorly-received 2010 and 2013 Percy Jackson’ films, the episodic format gave audiences more time to connect with the characters, rather than being rushed to understand their storylines within a two to three hour cinematic timeframe. It also gives the creators of the show the opportunity to adhere more closely to the books, especially given that Riordan is credited on the show as a co-writer and executive producer. 

The immaculately lead cast — Walker Scobell who plays Percy, Leah Sava Jeffries who plays Annabeth, and Aryan Simhadri who plays Grover — was the beating heart of the show. Their youthful energy and charisma shone through in their performances, particularly at moments when it seemed like the script might have dragged with over-exposition. Additionally, they are closer to the actual ages of the characters. In the films, the actors were all in their early 20s, playing 12 and 13 year olds, while the actors in the show are between 14 to 17 years old. With future seasons filmed in a consistent manner, we will be able to see the characters grow and mature in an authentic way. 

In terms of cinematography, the episodes were all scored extremely well with cinematic instrumentals by Bear McCreary, who some might recognize as the composer for “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” The action scenes did not lag or seem choppy as stories revolving around really young characters and settings frequently can; they were executed rather well and shot with fluent camera work.

Though the pacing was a bit off at times, including some questionable editing decisions such as abrupt cut-offs or patchy CGI, the show had an overall impressive first season with a satisfying finale that hinted at significant future potential. 

As someone who did not previously read the books before watching, it is safe to say that the series is still enjoyable to watch by itself without having to be familiar with its literary counterparts; the story fuses Greek mythology with modern storytelling, and depicts universally appealing themes of friendship, family and identity. 

Fans will have to wait until 2025 to see the show continue in the recently announced second season. But for now, all eight episodes of Percy’s engaging journey in the realm of demigods and monsters are streaming on Disney Plus.


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About the Contributor
Shruthe Yoagentharan, Feature Writer