The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


Adapting to Adaptations with “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”


  If you were an avid reader as a child in the mid to late 2000s, you likely ran into the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” book series by Rick Riordan. The books are about the young half-human children of the Greek Gods and their adventures in a mystical, danger-filled world. The series was very popular amongst its demographic of juvenile to young adult readers. Riordan continued to write books in his Olympian universe with new series and spin-offs, successfully growing a large fanbase of all ages. And nearly 20 years since the first book’s release, a live-action “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” TV series has been made by Disney+. This will be a spoiler-free review of the series.

  With eight 40-minute episodes, season one of the TV series follows the story of the first book. I had read a few of the books as a kid and I was super excited to see the story in live-action. Especially with Riordan as one of the show’s producers and writers. I had a lot of confidence that the show would turn out well.

  Overall, I enjoyed the show. I think the story is well-made and fairly well-written. With a cast of mostly child actors, I was a little wary going into the show but I think all the actors did a great job and are very excellently cast. Some standouts from me are of course the main three, Walker Scobell, Leah Sava Jeffries and Aryan Simhadri as Percy, Annabeth and Grover respectively. The special effects also were great, you could tell this show had a good budget with all the extensive VFX. 

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   My main problem with the show is the pacing. It felt very awkward throughout the whole season. It did a lot more telling than showing. There seemed to be an imbalance between exposition and action scenes with the latter being much shorter, leading to feeling ill-paced. 

  As a stand-alone show, I thought it was fine, my expectations were met for the most part. I wasn’t blown out of the water but I’m not bitter or disappointed. Any media with a large fan base is hard to please. No matter how the show turns out there will be someone upset that the adaptation didn’t follow the original material to a tee.

  This brings me to the topic of adaptation, specifically book-to-screen adaptation. When I was an avid reader as a child, I would get so mad when the movie version didn’t follow the book beat for beat. But now as an adult, I understand that movie or TV show adaptations can’t follow a book exactly, it just doesn’t work. 

  Writing for screen vs writing a book are vastly different. If you took a book and made a movie following every line of dialogue and every character movement you would have a movie that is long and boring. 

  Nowadays, I believe that an adaptation should be just that, an adaptation. Of course, I also highly believe that an adaptation should follow the original artist’s intended vision, which is why the minor changes in the “Percy Jackson an

Graphic by Elizabeth Reece

d the Olympians” TV series are fine because the series is actually written by the person who wrote the books. As a whole, the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” show follows the events of the first book very closely. And any changes only add to more worldbuilding and developing new character traits. Different doesn’t automatically mean bad, it just means different.

  We live in a world of remakes, endless sequels and live-action adaptations. I am frankly tired and bored of this trend. That’s why I don’t understand why people want a 1:1 recreation of other media. While of course, I love seeing my favorite book scenes on the big screen I’m not saying that I don’t like that. And of course, I’m not saying that adaptations that follow the book closely don’t work, just look at the “Hunger Games” movies and to bring it back to the main topic of this article, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.” I am just saying I’m ready for new and original ideas from the film industry. And scene-for-scene adaptations are not very original.

  All this to say just keep an open mind about adaptations. It was just announced that “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” will be getting a season two. My main concern for the next season and any that will follow is that the child actors won’t look like child actors for long. TV shows take a long time to get made and children won’t look 12 years old forever. 

  To conclude, the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” show is good. If you liked the books, I would recommend it. If you didn’t read the books, I would still recommend it. Now let’s hope the next children’s media made into a live-action TV show that will not disappoint me is “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” We can only hope.

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About the Contributor
Megan Weaver, Reporter
Megan Weaver is a sophomore at the University of Central Missouri. She is majoring in Digital Media Production with a focus in Cinematography and a minor in Creative Writing. She has been with The Muleskinner since Fall 2022. Megan loves writing movie reviews and analyses for The Muleskinner. Her goal is to let her film opinions be known to a wide audience, whether they want to hear them or not.

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