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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Let ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ pull you into the tide of a fun fantasy adventure

The long-awaited adaptation of the beloved novel debuted this winter, making a splash for both die-hard fans and new viewers alike.
Walker Scobell as Percy Jackson in episode one of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” on Disney+. (Photo courtesy of Disney/David Bukach)

Growing up, I always had my nose in a book; just like many other tweens at the time, I fell in love with the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series as soon as I read the first chapter. 

The early 2010s movie adaptations — which included filming at Nashville’s own Parthenon right across from campus — were entertaining, but they left many fans, including myself, dissatisfied. Now, as a college student, the story is getting the quality adaptation it deserves with the release of the series “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.” 

Whether you have never read the books or you were practically raised with them, this show is perfect for any college student looking to escape from schoolwork and enter into a fun fantasy story with a central message about growing up, finding true friendship, accepting your flaws and discovering who you are. It also provides a huge nostalgia trip for any students who enjoyed the books in their youth (and sometimes still wish they had awesome water powers like Percy). 

The season’s first two episodes were released on Dec. 19, 2023 on Disney+ and Hulu and received largely positive reviews. Episodes were released every Tuesday following the release. The show is led by young actors Walker Scobell, Leah Sava Jeffries and Aryan Simhadri, portraying Percy, Annabeth and Grover respectively. 

A large part of why fans were so excited for this adaptation is that the author of the original series, Rick Riordan, was a writer and executive producer on the series, whereas he was not involved in the production of the previous movies. Viewers were excited for an adaptation that stayed true to the heart of the original material. Several minor changes were made, all with understandable reasoning, but the core of the story remains true to itself, leading to an excellent eight-episode journey.

In an interview with the Percy Jackson podcast “Seaweed Brain” during the show’s press, showrunner Jon Steinberg said that they were aiming to make four shows in one; a show for kids, for adults, for book fans and for new fans. “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” exceeds all of these goals.

For kids

It makes sense why the creators would want “Percy Jackson” to be suitable for kids; the main characters are all children themselves. By delivering a plot that is easy to follow, yet not watered down, humor that genuinely brings laughter and characters whom tweens can see themselves in, the show is perfect for the entire family. As college students, we can watch and reminisce about the highs and lows of our adolescence, even if we dealt with far fewer mythological monsters.

For adults

If you’re worried that a show focusing on a 12-year-old protagonist is too juvenile for you, then you’d be pleasantly surprised to find out just how wrong you are. “Percy Jackson” is perfect for connecting to your inner child, of course, but it also presents several mature and nuanced themes that adults can benefit from seeing displayed amidst an action-packed adventure. One of the greatest lessons is that “not everyone who looks like a monster is one,” which is something adults, especially young ones like college students, should be reminded of when interacting with the world.

For book readers

If you were like me and grew up adoring the book series, then you won’t be disappointed by the new television take on the story. It’s an adaptation, not an exact copy; some minor changes were made, keeping you on the edge of your seat even if you’ve read the books over and over again. Still, with Rick Riordan serving as a writer and executive producer for the series, you can rest assured that the heart of the story is still there. Also, you won’t miss out on your favorite iconic moments, such as Capture the Flag and the St. Louis Arch scene, which are even more epic on screen.

For new fans

In case you were never quite into Percy Jackson as a kid and aren’t sure if the show has any relevance to you, I’m here to assure you that now is the time to change your life for the better and watch it. The show does an excellent job at providing enough exposition for first-time viewers to understand the world, yet successfully does this without slowing down the plot. It’s an adventure that leaves no fan, old or new, out of the loop. 

Even though “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” features deadly monsters instead of looming deadlines and a magical summer camp instead of a college classroom, it is still an incredibly enjoyable viewing experience for anyone who needs a bit of adventure and adolescent nostalgia in their lives.

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About the Contributor
Chloe Whalen
Chloe Whalen, Staff Writer
Chloe Whalen (‘27) is from Herscher, Ill., and is studying communication of science and technology in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Deputy Life Editor. In her spare time, she enjoys running, listening to multiple genres of music and podcasts and doing jigsaw puzzles. She can be reached at [email protected].
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