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The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

From Paper to Pixels Again

Disney +’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” TV series is midway through its first season. Although some scenes in the first four episodes do not match specifics of the books, the show is a worthy addition to the franchise.
Promotional images via Disney

Percy Jackson didn’t want to be a half-blood. It’s “dangerous. It’s scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways,” he warns within the first few lines of The Lightning Thief. But at the ripe age of eight, while reading his story for the first time, I completely disregarded his warning and prayed every day that my mom would turn out to be a Greek goddess so that I could have the same adventures he did.

Now, at fifteen, I’m still as much of a fan as ever. Percy Jackson- and every other Rick Riordan series that follows it- has proved to be continuously enthralling. 

So imagine my anticipation for Disney +’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series- for the last two years, I’ve been following updates on the casting and filming, patiently waiting for its release. Now, with the first half of the season having been released, I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. 

For those who never got to experience the joy of reading the books, and then subsequently fall into a Greek mythology spiral (sixth grade history was the place to be for fans of the series), Percy Jackson and the Olympians follows a 12-year-old Percy in a world where the Greek gods of myth are centered in America and having numerous demigod (half god, half human), or ‘half-blood’ children. These kids are magnets for monsters and for the most part, either die or make it to Camp Half-Blood,

 which is a safe haven for them in which they can train to fight the monsters that are out for their blood. Percy himself is the son of Poseidon, one of the “Big 3” and the god of the sea. During the Lightning Thief, the first book of the series and the plotline the first season of the show follows, Percy (Walker Scobell) embarks on a quest with his friends Annabeth Chase (Leah Jeffries), daughter of Athena, and Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri), a satyr- a nature spirit that is half-man, half-goat. Their goal: to find the currently stolen ‘master bolt’ of Zeus. 

The casting is one of my favorite parts about this adaptation- every character feels like they fell right out of the books. Scobell’s portrayal of the titular character doesn’t fall short in the slightest. He encompasses Percy’s brave, sassy, loyal, and chaotic nature perfectly. Jeffries’ facial expressions stand out a lot to me- she impeccably and subtly shows Annabeth’s inner conflict as Percy challenges her understanding of the gods. Simhadri plays a Grover that is loveable in every way- nervous, but still sarcastic and hilarious. Stepping away from the leads, the rest of the cast is also phenomenal. Charlie Bushnell plays a kindhearted and brotherly Luke, who serves as a mentor to Percy at Camp Half-Blood, prior to his quest. His performance makes me all the more excited for the crucial role he will play in the upcoming episodes following Percy’s return to camp.

The series takes on a much more serious tone in comparison to the book. While I originally thought I wouldn’t be a fan of this change, I’ve actually extremely enjoyed it. The show takes ideas briefly mentioned in the novels and expands on them, creating a deeper conflict for both Percy and Annabeth than what they faced in the original books. But alongside this darker tone, the original humor of the novel is still retained in much of the dialogue and scenes between the main three, which I greatly appreciate. 

If I had to choose a bone to pick with the first few episodes, however, I’d have to say the pacing. In comparison to the books, the first two episodes feel extremely rushed. Scenes of Percy that augmented how confused and alone Percy felt because of his circumstances, were entirely cut from the show. His initial meeting with Annabeth is also altered. Two weeks he spends in Camp Half-Blood, practicing sword fighting with Luke, is now simply a few days. These changes, at least to me, felt unnecessary, taking away from the construction of the demigod world and rushing the trio into their quest. Even during the quest, the fight scenes between Percy and various monsters felt all too quick. The fight sequence in the book that pits Percy against Medusa and makes use of Percy’s skill, Annabeth’s wit, and Grover’s determination is now a four second scene in which Percy swings a sword once. The same can be said about the fight scenes that occur in the next episode as well.

 However, the currently released episodes are still gripping and entertaining, and the quick pacing definitely isn’t reason enough to dislike the show. As the season continues, I’m hoping to see more of the memorable moments from the first book adapted to the screen accurately and that the episodes will slow down and focus more on all the fights and other little things that make Percy Jackson such an enjoyable read.

The TV show is, simply put, every Percy Jackson fan’s dream brought to life. Percy and Annabeth’s dynamic have me giggling to myself and recalling my favorite moments of theirs throughout the series. The adaptation of iconic scenes has me reeling with joy. I’m brought back to when I was reading it for the first time, following Percy on all his adventures- and even though I’m a lot older now, the story still holds up. Throughout the week, I’m constantly thinking about next Tuesday, at 6 p.m., when I can finally relive another part of one of my favorite books ever in the form of a wonderfully casted, excellently executed, and overall amazing television series.

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About the Contributor
Deeksha Prasad
Deeksha Prasad, Print Entertainment Editor
Hi. I'm Deeksha Prasad. This is my second year on High Tide. I love basketball, reading, and writing, and coffee. My starbucks order, depending on the day, is either an iced chai with cold foam or a hot matcha latte.

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