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“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” TV Show – Why the hype?

By Zahra Ahmad

The Percy Jackson books are a fantasy series of novels inspired by Greek mythology written by author Rick Riordan. The books quickly took off with over 180 million copies sold! The series was even translated into over 37 different languages. 

These books were later adapted into films which received much criticism from disappointed fans. Many claimed the movies overlooked the plot and the tone of the story. The films received only 49 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It even received backlash from the author who detested this adaptation, especially with its inaccuracies when it came to hiring an age-appropriate cast. 

However, a new television series adaptation of the Percy Jackson series, released in December of 2023, had a very different result. The show received a whopping 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with many positive reviews. Readers of the novel approved of the show as the pitch to this idea was the author himself: Rick Riordan. With the combined work of both the author and directors, many inaccuracies in the previous movies were corrected. 

However there was some controversy over Leah Jeffries being cast for Annabeth Chase in the show. As many of the book readers know, Annabeth is portrayed as white in the novels; however, some were critical over Leah Jeffries, an African American, gaining the role. The author continued to disagree with these comments. 

“I have been clear, as the author, that I was looking for the best actors to inhabit and bring to life the personalities of these characters, and that physical appearance was secondary for me,” Rick Riordan wrote. “If you don’t get that, if you’re still upset about the casting of this marvelous trio, then it doesn’t matter how many times you have read the books. You didn’t learn anything from them.” 

Regardless of some criticism received, the show has received much positive feedback, as well. Many viewers were particularly exhilarated with the shocking connections and similarities between the actors offscreen personalities and the roles they were chosen to play. There were also many interviews conducted with the main trio – Walker Scobell (Percy), Leah Jeffries (Annabeth), and Aryan Simhadri (Grover). This played a major role in the popularity of the show, as their chemistry and relations with each other were quite humorous and entertaining in itself. Their humorous interactions in these interviews, from sarcastic comments to witty replies, had fans appreciating the great casting and upbeat attitudes of these young individuals.

These interviews even went viral on TikTok from short clips of the conversations to even edits of the cast. It seems that more advertising was done from the fans than from the series itself.  Viewers feel that this series truly redeemed the reputation of Percy Jackson as it gained support from old and new fans across the board. The cast played a major role in promoting the show, from their charming character to their embodiment of their roles. Fans are grateful for the role author Rick Riordan had in the series as well, along with the meticulous attention to detail to truly capture the wondrous and imaginative tone of the books. The creators hinted at the possibility of a season two, which fans excitedly hope and anticipate for.

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