Percy Jackson & the Olympians TV Series Premiere Review


After baking blue chocolate chip cookies and breaking open a pomegranate (IYKYK), I eagerly curled up on my couch to watch the first two episodes of Percy Jackson & the Olympians on Disney+. Though I had reservations about this beloved series being adapted by Disney, I gained hope when they announced that the episode titles were chapter titles from the books. Did this long-awaited reimagining of a childhood favorite live up to the promises of being the most loyal film/TV adaptation yet? Stay tuned for my honest thoughts on the first two episodes!

Episode One: I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher

Favorite Quote: “You fell in love with God? Like… Jesus?”

I was immediately transported back to elementary school by the opening lines of the show. I loved that the dialogue was taken directly from the first page of the book. When I got my first glimpse of young Percy scaring his teacher, I was desperately hoping for a crazy scene depicting some of Percy’s childhood field trip antics. Though the scene was rather mild, the Blackjack cameo was a fun addition.

Casting Aryan Simhadri as Grover was a stroke of genius. You can tell how much he cares about Percy from their very first on-screen interaction. I’m obsessed with their friendship more than ever before! The part where Grover lies about Percy to an authority figure to protect him is very on-brand, even if it isn’t book-accurate. (Side note, what was Uncle Rick doing in that meeting? It was a fun but unnecessary cameo.) My only trepidation about Percy and Grover’s early interactions is the premature introduction of Mythomagic, which simultaneously felt like fan service and straying from canon.

The adaptation of Percy’s experience at the MET was a bit of a mixed bag. I adored Megan Mullally as Mrs. Dobbs—she was perfectly intimidating. The transition from human to Fury was enrapturing, but the rest of the scene felt abrupt. I thought she was underutilized in this episode, so I am hoping to see her again in future Fury encounters. 

Percy’s visit home was also filled with unexpected content. Why did he ride home in a random truck? When I was a kid, Percy’s trip from Yancy to his mom’s apartment was what made me see him as a self-sufficient New York native. I missed that emphasis in this adaptation. Additionally, Gabe is not nearly horrible enough in the show. He is still portrayed as a loser, but not revealing his abusive tendencies really downplays Sally’s experience and how much she suffered for Percy. Additionally, Gabe is supposed to have a job in addition to his poker playing. I am curious how this revised characterization is going to impact later storylines, since several references to Gabe later in the book have been voided by the changes. 

I have my misgivings about Gabe, but Sally Jackson (Virginia Kull) is precisely how I envisioned her. I loved that she was sitting in the rain when audiences got their first sighting of her. She looks so at peace, and I appreciate how the scene hints at her connection with Poseidon. Plus, Olivia Rodrigo? Such a fun pop culture moment. I must say, however, that “logical” was an interesting song choice. I don’t hate it, but I do think the song selection could have been a little more impactful. A highlight for every lifelong Percy Jackson lover, however, was the gifting of the iconic blue jellybeans. Not even Percy himself squeals over blue food more than PJO fans.

While the pacing was off at times, including the buildup to the Minotaur fight, the first episode was a solid start to a promising series. Walker Scobell delivers as Percy; I love that he is just a kid with the perfect mix of doubt, resilience, sassiness, and energy. I appreciated how the show balances humor and heartfelt vulnerability, just as Rick Riordan always does in his books. Additionally, the end credits are gorgeous. I adored the color scheme, art style, and abundant Easter eggs. 

Episode Two: I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom

Favorite Quote: “Excuse me, Your Highness.”

Throughout this episode, I was constantly wondering why no one explains things to Percy. As soon as Percy wakes up, he is determined to immediately track down his father. Given any context, he would not be placed into so many uncomfortable situations in his quest to identify his godly parent. I get the comedic intention of not giving Percy much information, but I felt like people watching the show without reading the books would be confused. 

On the other hand, the new scenes with Dionysus were fun for both old and new fans. Jason Mantzoukas always delivers, and this show is no exception. He perfectly captures the essence of Mr. D by balancing comedy and intensity with ease. Tricking Percy into thinking that Dionysus is his father was an amusing addition. It also led to the rise of our beloved Persassy Jackson (another IYKYK). What more could you ask for?

The long moment of silence when Chiron (Glynn Turman) appears as a centaur is iconic. I, too, was wondering why exactly he looked quite like that. His build was just…off. While the list of creative decisions I support in the Percy Jackson movies is short, Pierce Brosnan makes the centaur body look relatively natural. Despite the odd centaur body, I think Glynn Turman was an excellent casting choice. His voice has the perfect gruffness and steady rhythm for the wise old centaur. 

A summary of my thoughts on Percy in this episode: Percy praying to his mom ☹ Percy being silly and goofy in the woods 😊. In other words, this episode delves into the duality of Percy. I love the emphasis on the bond between Sally and Percy. He and his mother care so deeply about each other, and it was so touching to see him continuously prioritize their relationship. I liked how Capture the Flag brings some levity to Percy’s struggle with his sense of belonging. The sequence of him dancing and petting random amphibians in the forest reminds watchers that he’s just a kid. 

What stood out to me about this episode was the introductions to iconic campers. Luke (Charles Bushnell) is so comforting and likable… that shift is going to sting. Speaking of sons of Hermes, where are the Stoll brothers? I missed their hijinks. However, the early introduction of Chris Rodriguez was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed getting to know him a bit as a person before he became significant to the plot. The first two episodes seem to paint Annabeth (Leah Jeffries) as an observer… I’m not sure how to feel about this characterization. Annabeth is my emotional support character, so it is so important to me that they get her right. I’ll be anxiously awaiting more Leah Jeffries content in future episodes! 

Ashley Amacher, Pine Reads Review Assistant Director & Lead Editor