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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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‘Percy Jackson’ TV show continues legacy of the book series

In new adaption of the “Percy Jackson” series, the Disney+ show “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” respects original novel and ignites appreciation in new fans.

As is true for many teenagers now, my childhood was shaped by Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” — a book series from the perspective of a young boy named Percy Jackson, who discovers he is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. My Halloween costumes, vacation spots and subsequent passion for Greek mythology revolved around the obsession my siblings and I had with the books.

Now, 15 years since the series concluded, the long-awaited Disney+ adaptation of the first book, “The Lightning Thief,” is not only entertaining for those unfamiliar with the book series but provides fans with an on-screen adaptation that stays true to the original and reignites their love for the novels. 

Unlike the first time “Percy Jackson” was brought to the screen — with the 2010 movie adaptation that let many fans down in how far it strayed from the original plot — the eight 40-minute episodes allow the show to carefully follow the details and plot lines featured in the book series.

While the movie’s adult cast failed to portray the trials and complexities present when 12-year-olds are forced to go on life-threatening quests, the new series does quite the opposite with 13-year-old Walker Scobell playing Percy Jackson. 

In detailing Percy’s quest to return Zeus’s Master Bolt to Olympus, the show’s fast pace and impressive cinematography enrapture all audiences. Similarly, the detailed sets, like Hephaestus’s amusement park and Camp Half-Blood, immerse even those unfamiliar with the original series in the mythological world.

The entire cast does an incredible job staying true to their characters, despite the backlash posed by racist fans due to the female lead Annabeth Chase being played by a Black actress, Leah Jeffries. However, there were aspects of the book characters that I wished were present in the show, like Annabeth and the other children of Athena having distinct gray eyes.

Additionally, major plot lines from the book were changed or skipped over entirely in this adaptation. Most notably was the way in which the trip to the Lotus Casino, an iconic scene in both the book and movie, was incredibly rushed to fit into a 30-minute episode — the shortest of the season.

Despite these changes, the show managed to encapsulate the thrill and excitement I felt while reading the series for the first time. While still not quite as good as the original books, the first season of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” not only provides an opportunity for those who haven’t read the books to develop new interests, but was nostalgic in the best way possible, reminding me of why I loved the series so much when I was younger. 

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About the Contributor
Sahana Unni
Sahana Unni, Editor-in-Chief
Sahana Unni is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as an editor-in-chief. She began journalism as a ninth grader in the 2020-21 school year and has since appreciated the exposure to different ideas and perspectives. Her favorite story she has written is about the Jane Collective, a group of women who provided safe abortions before the procedure was legalized in the early 1970s. Outside of journalism, Sahana enjoys creative writing and reading, while also serving as an editor-in-chief of the Renaissance literary magazine and a captain of the Mock Trial team.
Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, special coverage: (with Audrey Park and Clare McRoberts) superior 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, personal opinion: on-campus issues, "New auditorium name at odds with values" 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Second place (with Zara Siddique), photo layout: full page (Page 3) 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Certificate of merit, news feature, “Dazzling drag city” 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, online package 2022 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Cultural feature, certificate of merit, "‘Bridgerton’ effectively represents Indian culture" 2022 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, St. Louis convention: Honorable mention, feature writing 2020 National Scholastic Press Association Fall Best of Show: Sixth Place, Election Reporting (contributor), “As trailblazer for multiple identities, Harris inspires students”

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