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Percy Jackson & The Olympians (Season 1) Review



New Series Doesn’t Break Waves, But is Enjoyable Watch 

I’m sad to say that my years of reading young adult fiction have long passed, and as such I don’t think I’ll ever venture into Rick Riordan’s novels which follow Percy Jackson, New York teenager and half-blood demigod son of Poseidon and his adventures battling The Greek Gods across the Americas. 

I did see the film back in the day, the cringy one staring Logan Leerman. Compared to the series it’s not aged well. However, unlike the series, it certainly feels more aimed towards a younger audience. 

Let’s back up a bit – The series follows titular character Percy Jackson who, for as long as he can remember, has had issues distinguishing reality from imagination. Then, one day, he learns that what he is seeing is part of the Greek world of myth which is, in fact, very real. Percy is soon taken to Camp-Half Blood where he learns two things; firstly that Poseidon is his father, secondly is that his uncle Zeus believes he’s stolen his lightning bolt a powerful weapon of war. 

Percy, along with his guardian centaur Grover and Annabeth daughter of Athena, must embark upon a quest to find Zeus’ bolt to prevent a war between the gods and save Percy’s mother from Hades. Along the way they discover a larger more sinister plan which involves the return of an enemy long thought defeated.  

In all honesty, this show really took its time getting anywhere. The eight episodes it spans, which are mostly under forty minutes each, feel like they take forever to get anything done. Furthermore, it also sometimes feels a bit lifeless – like watching a show unfold through a grey filter. 

There’s a real element of hopelessness and despair, which works perfectly for a pre-war setting but does nothing to enamour the younger viewer. For a show aimed at kids, it lacks so much of that kid-friendly comedy that might otherwise relieve us of the dour moods of our primary protagonists. 

The protagonists themselves actually do quite a good job considering their rather limited experiences. Walker Scobell, known for playing the younger version of Ryan Reynolds in The Adam Project, is a very convincing protagonist – though sometimes the comedy comes off a little too much like his Deadpool-older-double. 

Both Leah Savah Jeffries’ Annabeth and Aryan Simhadri’s Grover have their moments, but it feels like they’ve been left out to dry when it comes to the best lines which often go to Scobell’s character. Simhadri in particular is fed lines which don’t work for his portrayal of the character, who is a little more series than Brandon T. Jackson’s iteration of the character. I did appreciate that much of the background introduced by these two characters establishes the elements necessary for future seasons of the show, the set up for these plot points delivered naturally without feeling forced. 

As an eight episode watch, it’s a nice little binge though it’s far from the best show to grace Disney+ in the last few years. That said, the show manages to deliver the key moments of the series with the gravitas that such massive scenes deserve. It’ll be interesting to see what season 2 will bring us. 

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