The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ Returns with TV Adaptation That Excels in Accuracy, Representation

AP Newsroom
Leah Sava’ Jeffries, Walker Scobell and Aryan Simhadri, who play the lead roles of Annabeth, Percy and Grover, pose for the London premiere on Dec. 16.

After books, movies and musicals, the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series has made its return to mainstream media.

According to Variety, the Dec. 20 premiere racked 13.3 million viewers on Disney+, so it’s safe to say the new series is quickly becoming a hit.

The series follows Percy (Walker Scobell), a demigod son of Poseidon, as he navigates a mythological world of ancient Greek gods and monsters.  In season one, synonymous with the first book titled “The Lightning Thief,” Percy must take on his first quest with his satyr protector and friend, Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri), and Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava’ Jeffries), a demigod daughter of Athena, to retrieve Zeus’ missing master lightning bolt.

The biggest difference between the early 2010s movies and the show is the book accuracy. While fun to watch, the movies lack similarities with the books, and the fan reaction was one reason production was shut down after the second movie was released.

The new series is significantly more accurate in everything ranging from character personalities to dialogue and, more importantly, plot pacing. There are still a good number of changes but nothing that doesn’t aid the development and provide more explanation or modernization.

It’s clear that this show was made with the large book fanbase in mind. Some Greek myths and aspects of ancient Greece that are thoroughly explained in the book weren’t fully done so in the way they should’ve for audience understanding. It feels as though the screenwriters overlooked certain things, assuming the audience would already know what was going on due to their book knowledge.

The actors in this show are also around the ages of the characters in the books, meaning they might not be as experienced as expected. Most of the scenes were filmed in chronological order, so it’s obvious that they were finding their footing and confidence as they went on. With five episodes out already, the young actors are finally solidifying their personal takes on their respective characters.

The most controversial aspect of this show is the accuracy of the characters’ appearance. When the cast list was initially released, many people were upset that the lead POC actors chosen for Annabeth and Grover didn’t fit their original physical descriptions from the book.

The race of the characters had no relevance in the book’s plot, and no one, especially pre-teens just starting out in the industry, deserves the kind of unnecessary backlash they received on social media. What matters most is that the actors are able to capture their character’s personality, which so far, they’ve done fantastically.

It’s important to remember that Rick Riordan, the author of the series, had a direct role in the making of the show, something that didn’t happen in the production of the movies. He had a say in any change made, and to me, it seems wrong to object the series creator.

All of this change has made for better representation, something Riordan initially intended for the series. He came up with the character Percy to help his son, who was having a hard time in school due to his ADHD and dyslexia. Riordan decided to tell him stories of heroes with similar traits to make him feel less alone.

This goes to show how much representation matters, especially in a show that caters to younger audiences. Now, when watching a show about demigod heroes, every kid can view themselves in that powerful, leading position.

The set design in this show had to be the hardest thing to recreate but is done so perfectly. Filmed in Vancouver, Canada, the Camp Half-Blood set was an easy standout. The luscious green forest surrounding the canoe lake with ancient Greek style amphitheaters and accurate interpretations of each godly cabin felt like it had been pulled straight out of the book.

The thematic score for the camp only heightened the experience of watching the introduction. The song is laced with horns, wind instruments, Gregorian chants and snare drums, making the viewer feel exactly like they’ve stepped in an ancient Greek sanctuary built for heroes.

The rest of the album is equally immersive and bold, with more emotional string arrangements in “Aunty Em” and fast paced percussion arrangements in “Chimera.” The composer Beary McCreary, whose previous work includes Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and video games like the “God of War” series, was a great pick for the score. His background composing other heroic, action-packed media helped take this show to another level.

There haven’t been any official reports of a second season, but with the critic reviews rating higher than the movie, four more books worth of content and Riordan expressing his excitement for a script, the chance of the series getting renewed is likely.

Each episode has already been better than the last, and the viewer can actively feel tensions rising as the season goes on. Looking ahead, I have full confidence that this show will only get better.