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The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

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Rito Perez
Rito Perez
Assistant Sports Editor

LH SHOW REVIEW: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

A review on Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ return to screens in television series form
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Wisdom Konu

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is an eight-episode series that follows the story of how twelve-year old Percy Jackson discovers he’s the son of the Greek God Poseidon, while figuring out his true identity and where he fits into the world. A few years after the publication of The Lightning Thief, 1492 Pictures took the initiative to create movie adaptations of the PJO book series. 1492 Pictures would go on to produce two adaptations for Book 1 and 2 and for both movies, and the lead cast consisted of pretty prominent actors at the time including Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson), Alexandra Daddario (Annabeth Chase), and Brandon T. Jackson (Grover Underwood). Because of the casting choices, many fans anticipated for the adaptations to do well, though the fallout of the movies says otherwise. A few controversies include misrepresentation of key characters in the books like Ares and Clarisse that were mentioned quite briefly and in quite a rushed way. Another cause of backlash was while the casted lead actors were extremely talented, they were simply past their age to be playing young demigods, which confused new fans as well as aggravated faithful book readers. 

Recognizing the destruction of the previous adaptation, Riordan took it upon himself to reshape the way PJO books were perceived by book fans specifically, officially announcing the Percy Jackson television series development in May of 2020. His announcement was, of course, received extremely well by fans of the original series, especially because the author himself had full say in what was to be produced as well as being able to watch a possible redemption from the adaptation attempt. 

In the new Percy Jackson series, the lead trio consists of up and coming young teen actors, Walker Scobell who plays Percy Jackson, Leah Sava Jeffries who plays Annabeth Chase, and Aryan Simhadri as Grover Underwood. Though the actors may not physically look similar to the characters in the book, Scobell, Jeffries, and Simhadri truly embody the roles through their surreal acting. Riordan specifically solely focused on looking for actors who could bring the book characters to life and states that’s exactly what he saw in our new infamous trio. 

The rest of the casting fit perfectly for such especially characters Luke Castellan (Charlie Bushnell), Clarisse La Rue (Dior Goodjohn), Ares, played by the one and only WWE wrestler Edge or Adam Copeland, and finally Hermes, played by another extremely well-known actor, Lin Manuel Miranda. 

Unfortunately, since the casting choices were announced, the backlash towards almost all of the lead casting choices have been evident and hurtful regarding the comparison physicality wise from book to show. One of the main controversies stems from Percy not having his notorious jet-black hair and sea green eyes. Luckily, many fans got over this small difference quickly.

In the original novel series, Annabeth is described as blond haired, gray-eyed and white while Jeffries is the complete opposite: a brown-eyed, Black girl. Internet trolls as well as “loyal fans” that were upset due to casting turned to being incredibly racist towards the 12-year old. The backlash towards her got so bad to the point where she got banned from her social media accounts multiple times from trolls repeatedly reporting, specifically Jeffries’ TikTok accounts. Fortunately, Riordan and many others such as Alexandra Daddario, who gave the first cinematic portrayal of Annabeth, called out the malicious racism and expressed great support towards Jeffries. Despite the backlash, the young trio were able to, again, draw the audience with quality action-packed as well as emotional scenes at such young ages. 

Riordan’s team decided to start off the first season with eight episodes all being 40 or less minutes long. Starting straight off the bat, Percy’s attitude to being introduced to the world of gods was anything but positive. He literally starts off the book and show with “Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.” For the rest of the show, the series perfectly exemplifies Percy’s shock and feelings of unreality extremely well, making Percy a relatable character in addition to his many hardships and conditions. Riordan mentioned one reason for why it appeals to young children specifically is because many readers throughout the series acknowledge the representation of ADHD, dyslexia, and family issues. This representation of learning disabilities helps young readers worldwide realize they are not alone, and on top of that learn how to embrace such disabilities just as Percy Jackson does. 

The pacing for the overall show was alright, though to better improve the pacing, the series could have given characters who are more notable in the future more of a developed background story such as Annabeth, Luke, and even Percy’s mother Sally. The series already had hinted at these developments that would better help the audience understand the true reasons for each prominent character’s motives but they lacked the quality for an actual story. 

Altogether, I’d rate S1 of Percy Jackson and The Olympians a nine out of ten. From the casting to the production, the series seemed to have put their all into the up-and-coming show. Season 2 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians has just been announced about a month ago by @PercySeries on Instagram and it’s currently looking like the show will have a very promising future.

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About the Contributors
Ramatou Diallo
Ramatou Diallo, Reporter
Wisdom Konu
Wisdom Konu, Executive Editor and Culture Co-Editor
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