How Disney Plus’ “Percy Jackson” Compares to the Series’ Previous Installments

Annabeth, Percy, and Grover in the poster for Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Annabeth, Percy, and Grover in the poster for “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”

On June 28th, 2005, author Rick Riordan published ‘The Lightning Thief’, the first installment in a series of books following a young boy named Percy Jackson who discovers that his father is the Greek god Poseidon and is sent to a demigod training facility called Camp Half-Blood. The book was a smash hit and led to four more books being written in the series and movie adaptations of the first two books.

On December 19th, 2023, the newest adaptation of the beloved “Percy Jackson” series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”, premiered on Disney+. Season one of the show chronicles the entire first book, with plans to release a season for each following book in the future.

The new show has gotten rave reviews, with a 96% rating from critics and a 84% rating from viewers on Rotten Tomatoes, along with a 7.5/10 on IMDb.  It’s clear to see that the show has been a massive success, but why do audiences like it so much and how does it compare to its’ source material and preceding adaptations?

Sophomore Heiress Brame is a massive Greek mythology lover and has been excitedly anticipating the new episodes of “Percy Jackson” as they’re released weekly. When asked what she liked about the show so far, Brame highlighted how, “they casted age-appropriate actors to play the characters instead of 30-year olds,” adding that “seeing actual teenagers play teenage characters is amazing.” Brame also appreciates the “natural chemistry” between the characters on screen. She says that the relationship between Percy and Annabeth is one of her favorite parts of the show, recalling how in the movies, their chemistry felt “forced.” Brame also feels that the movies tried too hard to modernize the story and could’ve been better written, while the show tells it almost exactly as it was written back in 2005. Brame is most excited to see the scene where Percy, Annabeth, and Grover fight Hades for the lightning bolt, she says she’s really interested in “seeing how that’ll play out.”

Senior Elizabeth Lindholm is a life-long fan of the “Percy Jackson” books. She also believes that the movies did a pretty poor job representing the books, saying, “The first movie was okay if you forget it was based on a book. The second movie I didn’t really like at all.” Sophomore Delilah Wolak agreed, saying that while the first movie is decent, “both are bad when viewed in the context of the books” and while they “arrived at the main event, they took away a lot of the journey and character development.” Like Brame, Lindholm also highlights the chemistry between the characters in the show as one of the strongest parts, praising the dynamic between the main trio Percy, Annabeth, and Grover and the “amazing job” the young actors are doing at portraying them.

Wolak’s favorite part of the show so far was “the love ride in episode five. While it was different from the books, it hit really hard and stayed true to the characters.” As far as other changes from book to screen, Wolak expresses her disappointment with how “some scenes were cut short” and the short length of the episodes,  “30-40 minutes is not enough.”

All three say they would recommend the show, with Brame saying, “It’s amazing. If you’ve read Percy Jackson, you’ll be a fan, and if you haven’t read the books, you’ll still be able to follow the plot.” Lindholm says the show is a, “very good adaptation that stays true to the books and really captures the essence of the characters. And Wolak says, “It’s a feel-good story and gives different perspectives on people’s lives and the struggles of things like ADHD, dyslexia, and how being different can affect you.”


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