TV Writer Rani Jadfa gives a rave review of the Percy Jackson series, enjoying seeing the books come to life in a faithful and exciting adaptation
With Rick and Becky Riordan at the helm of the ship this time round, the beloved children’s book series, Percy Jackson, finally gets the adaptation it deserves with season one of Percy Jackson and the Olympians hitting all the right marks.
The first book was published by Rick Riordan in 2005 and became an instant phenomenon. Then, tragedy struck in 2010 with the film adaptation of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (plus a surprisingly funny sequel). Don’t get me wrong, the films are not terrible. They’re just terrible adaptations (plus everyone looks about 27 and there’s no blue food). Nevertheless, from the first time I heard Stealth’s ‘Riptide’ cover in the trailer with Percy’s voice reciting the novel’s opening, I knew the show would be good. Only after watching it in its entirety am I now able to comprehend how brilliantly the creators managed to capture the essence of Percy Jackson.
The show follows Percy, a sarcastic 12-year-old kid from New York, who discovers he is a half-blood (half-human, half-god). This leads to his journey to Camp Half-Blood where Poseidon claims him as his son. We meet Grover (satyr and protector) and Annabeth (child of Athena) and the classic fantasy trio is formed as they must go on a prophesied quest to find Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt. This takes them across New York from Long Island to Las Vegas (with a surprise appearance from Lin-Manuel Miranda as Hermes). And they meet plenty of other Gods and monsters along the way that make their journey that much more dangerous and exciting.
A major positive of the show was its casting: the combination of Percy’s sass (Walker Scobell), Annabeth’s stoicism (Leah Jeffries) and Grover’s wonder (Aryan Simhadri) made the show what it is. Also, because of their enticing portrayal of those characters, the show is easily able to follow them further and flesh them out more so than the book does, like with the introduction of Grover’s search for Pan appearing much earlier. There were of course some other small changes, but I’d argue it was nothing drastic enough to take away from the essence of the show. This was scrutinisingly maintained by Rick and Becky Riordan who worked hand-in-hand with the show runners for the fans’ benefit.
Furthermore, Bear McCreary’s soundtrack enhances each of these characterisations while simultaneously forming the base of the family-friendly, adventurous spirit of the show, matching that of the book. The bright cinematography and beautiful landscape designs that derived from the books but also a lot of Greek mythology were incredible. The creators seemed to put so much care and detail into every aspect of the show, from the brightness of the Camp-Half-Blood tops to the beaded necklaces to their even being direct quotes from the books themselves.
All-in-all, the show manages to capture the childish wonder of what it was like to imagine being a half-blood as a kid. Thankfully, the show has just been green lit for season two. My only hope is that they keep the momentum going and remain truthful to the books as we venture into The Sea of Monsters.
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