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Review: ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ makes a splash

Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell) holds out Zeus’ lightning bolt, joined by Annabeth (Leah Jeffries) and Grover (Aryan Simhadri). “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is a TV show adaptation of Rick Riordan’s books of the same name. The story focuses on the trio’s efforts to find and return the god’s bolt after Percy is accused of stealing it. Photo Source: Image from Disney+ Promotional Material.

At the height of my Greek mythology obsession in second grade, I was gifted a book: “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” Little did I know, when I opened to page one and read the opening words, “Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood,” that I would be jumping with joy hearing those same lines recited on my television seven years later.

Percy Jackson and the Olympianspremiered its first two episodes Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, and released the next six episodes every Tuesday until the season finale Jan. 30. The first season of the show brings “The Lightning Thief,” the first book of Rick Riordon’s beloved novels, to life, filling both old and new fans alike with anticipation, excitement and wonder.

The show stars Walker Scobell as Percy Jackson, a 12-year-old boy who learns that the Greek gods are real and that he is the son of Poseidon. He winds up at Camp Half-Blood, a safe haven for demigods like himself. Upon his arrival, Zeus accuses him of stealing his thunderbolt. Percy is sent on a quest to retrieve it, and he is joined by Grover (Aryan Simhadri), a satyr, and Annabeth (Leah Jeffries), a daughter of Athena.

Each episode follows Percy, Annabeth and Grover as they travel across the country and into the Underworld, seeking Zeus’ weapon. In addition to his hunt for the bolt, Percy also believes that his mother, Sally, has been taken by Hades. Driven by saving Sally and finding the lightning bolt, the trio fights monsters, meets gods and strengthens their friendships over the course of their journey.

At the heart of the story is Percy’s journey to find where he belongs. At the beginning of the show, he is introduced as a “misfit”: he switches schools often, sees mythological creatures and his ADHD and dyslexia make him feel isolated. But when Percy arrives at Camp Half-Blood, these things don’t matter: the schools he’s attended are unimportant, mythological creatures are real and dyslexia and ADHD are often signs of being a demigod. Just as Luke, a son of Hermes, tells Percy, he is just like everyone else for the first time in his life.

Although the adaptation largely remains faithful to the books, the limited number of episodes means the book’s entire storyline could not be included word-for-word. The show was generally very accurate, but I quickly became frustrated by its fast pace in order to fit as many chapters as possible into a single episode. In the books, monsters disguise themselves with aliases and different appearances to fit within the “mortal world”, making it hard for demigods to identify them. Often, I’d get excited for a scene from the books to occur, but, instead, the trio would already know who they were facing, what was going to happen and how to win. This lost the buildup the books had established whenever the identity of a monster was revealed.

An example of this anticlimactic storytelling is when the group runs into Medusa, a mythological monster who turns all who look upon her to stone. In the books, they stumble into “Aunty Em’s Garden Gnome Emporium,” which is surrounded by statues. Despite these decorations, the group doesn’t suspect that “Aunty Em” might be a monster. In the show, the group arrives at the location and quickly connects the dots, assuming Aunty Em is Medusa, with her then immediately confirming their theory.

Despite these changes, the show’s actors brought their roles to life beautifully. Hearing Jeffries call Percy “seaweed brain” and listening to Simhadri sing the consensus song reminded me exactly of the book characters I grew up with. When the casting was first announced, many were quick to point out that the actors looked different to how their characters were described in the books. I, for one, found myself complaining about Scobell’s blonde hair and blue eyes, wanting the black hair and green eyes “book Percy” was known for. However, after watching, I wouldn’t be surprised if the actors actually were their characters, as their portrayals felt so real.

Overall, watching the books I’ve obsessed over for far too long be brought to life in front of my very eyes was a thrilling and nostalgic experience. Although it might sound a bit ridiculous, these stories remind me of all the memories I created as a young kid first reading the series.

“Percy Jackson and The Olympians” is a heartwarming show adaptation that breathes life into the books it was based on, while also highlighting that everyone has somewhere they belong. Just like Percy, everyone’s differences will eventually lead them to the place they are meant to be.

  • Binge Potential
  • Acting
  • Story
  • Technical Quality
  • Impact


“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is a TV show adaptation of author Rick Riordan’s book series by the same name. The first season covers book one, “The Lightning Thief.” The story follows Percy Jackson as he discovers that he is the son of Poseidon and, joined by a satyr named Grover and fellow demigod Annabeth, goes on a quest to save the world. The show’s storyline and its lovable characters are interesting and unique, leaving the viewer wanting more at the end of each episode.

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Burnap
Charlotte Burnap, Staff Reporter
Charlotte Burnap became a staff reporter in 2023. At Archer, she sings in choir and the Unaccompanied Minors, Archer's a cappella group. In her free time, you can find her listening to music, reading, or hanging out with her friends.

Comments (4)

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  • H

    Heather KaplanMar 5, 2024 at 9:05 am

    Terrific job Charlotte! I agree!

  • A

    Anaiya AsomughaMar 5, 2024 at 8:43 am

    Such a great review Charlotte!!! I looooved the show too, thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  • G

    Gabby KaplanFeb 28, 2024 at 9:18 am

    Amazing work Charlotte! Killing it on your first review!!

  • C

    CamdenFeb 27, 2024 at 6:12 pm

    Yes Charlotte!!! What an amazing article! You killed it!!!