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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

How “Percy Jackson and The Olympians” Blew Expectations Out of the Water

Aryan Simhadri, Walker Scobell, and Leah Sava Jeffires for “Percy Jackson & the Olympians”. (Photo by 20th Century Fox Television)

Minor spoilers for PJO. 

Where were you in May 2020? I was jumping around my room screaming with excitement because the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” television show was officially announced, an adaptation of the book series by Rick Riordan–dubbed Uncle Rick by his fans. The “Percy Jackson” books follow the son of Poseidon, who sets out on a quest to return Zeus’ missing lightning bolt and stop a war between the Greek gods. 

After the disaster that was the first two movies–which were poor attempts at recreating the fantastical world of “Percy Jackson”–fans were elated that Uncle Rick would be a part of the entire writing/filming process for the TV series. The show was released on December 19, 2023, and is still ongoing with three more episodes left at the time of writing. 

As someone who first read “Percy Jackson” when I was brand new in the US, just a little fourth grader who particularly enjoyed reading, the books mean so much more to me than just books. They were my first “real” chapter books and helped me realize that I love to read. 

There’s enough suspense, action, and magic that keep the story entertaining, even for an older audience. I saw so much of myself in the characters because Riordan’s focus on representation throughout his books was evident, from sexualities to ethnicities. These are middle-school books, but the majority of the “Percy Jackson” audience grew up with them. There’s a nostalgic factor to the “Percy Jackson” universe that is unmatched and is like no other. 

While “Percy Jackson” is filled with many exciting and unique personalities, Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase, otherwise known as Percabeth, were my foundation for romance–my foundation for being the perfect characters. Separately, their characters have so much depth and complexity that as a reader, you can’t help but root for them. 

Despite being a massively YA (young adult) series, Uncle Rick took their love story to a different level. One of my favorite parts of the books is how natural their love is. They were the reason many people now love reading romance as a genre, myself included.

Percabeth is a whole other article, because I could, and will, go on forever about my favorite fictional couple. 

Ahead of the show’s release, I attended Uncle Rick’s California book tour stop to celebrate the release of the first novella in his spin-off series for the world of “Percy Jackson”, “The Chalice of the Gods”. It was heartwarming to see the theater filled with fans of all ages, excited for the same characters and the same world. Seeing Riordan’s passion for his fans and the worlds he had built was so inspiring and it only made me feel more connected to the show. 

And that brings us back to the show’s official release day. I sat down to watch it on Disney+ with my younger brother and, not to be dramatic, but I cried the second I heard the opening soundtrack.

The first two episodes that were released blew me away. I was so excited to see the world I had grown up with come to life before my eyes. I don’t know much about filmmaking, but everything–from the effects to the music to the CGI (computer-generator imagery)–had me glued to my screen. They were so well done and I thought that it made the experience of watching it even more thrilling and suspenseful. 

I thought that the way the show took from the books was perfect. It was just as fast-paced as the books and had all the elements that fans wanted. There were little bits and pieces that were changed from the books, but I believe that the directors and Riordan made the right call because it allows for those who haven’t read the books to also enjoy the world of “Percy Jackson”, and maybe even convince them to pick up the books. 

What truly made the show for me were Walker Scobell (Percy Jackson), Leah Jeffries (Annabeth Chase), and Aryan Simhadri (Grover Underwood). While the entire cast is incredible and is doing such a fantastic job in the show so far, the three of them portray the well-loved characters in such a great way. Their personalities reflect the books and I love that viewers can see a genuine friendship between them. 

Some people have said that their acting felt juvenile, and I think it’s because they are young. As time goes on, there will be so much improvement from them, but I think that they’re doing amazing. It’s easy to love them because they have an innocent quirk to them that you just fall for, and it’s exciting, as an older audience, that we’ll be able to see their growth, similarly to how we grew up alongside the “Percy Jackson” characters in the books. 

I cannot talk about this show without mentioning Percabeth. The little snippets of their growing relationship have me screaming into my pillow, and I think that their banter is just so perfect for them; Scobell and Jeffries showcase them in such a “young love” type of way. 

Overall, I am so pleased with the direction that the show is taking my all-time favorite books. I think it’s so special and makes me excited that a new generation will be able to experience the incredible world of “Percy Jackson”. 

I eagerly await the last few episodes, which release on Tuesdays at 6 PM PST. If you haven’t started the show, what are you waiting for?

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