The eight-episode series is based on a novel series by author Rick Riordan.
The first two episodes of the fantasy series Percy Jackson and the Olympians premiered on a promising note on Disney+ Hotstar on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, much to the delight of fans. The eight-episode series, based on a novel series by author Rick Riordan, introduces us to the world of the Olympian gods, who are in dispute, and it is left to their children, demigods, to prevent the outbreak of a war.
Season 1 kickstarts with a voiceover by Percy Jackson, played ably by Walker Scobell, as he recounts his travails as a kid struggling with dyslexia and bullying at school but is often labeled 'special' by his well-wishers, much to his chagrin.
The first episode, I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher directed by James Tobin, tracks 12-year-old Percy as he sees strange creatures around him but he believes it is in his imagination at play. Percy meets a fellow companion in Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri) as they bond over being at the bottom of the food chain of schoolkids’ hierarchy. The episode cuts to chase soon after as an incident near the museum’s fountain gets Percy kicked out of school, and the adventure that we were promised begins to unravel.
We are also introduced to Percy’s mother, Sally Jackson, who reveals the story behind his true origin. A bewildered Percy then finds he has to battle Minotaur, one of the monsters he thought he had earlier imagined, for real. The first episode ends with Percy reaching the camp for demigods.
After the thrilling battle that marked the ending of the first episode, the second episode, I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom - starts on a lighter note as Percy finds his place in The Camp and waits to be claimed by his father. We get small touches of humour, with Jason Mantzoukas bringing some cheer to the episode in his role as Dionysus at The Camp. We are also introduced to Annabeth Chase, a pivotal character played by Leah Jeffries, who helps Percy find his true strength. And the last 10 minutes of the episode are packed with mighty revelations as Percy is claimed by his father, Poseidon and informed of the quest he has to undertake to convince Zeus that he has not stolen the Greek God’s thunderbolt.
Powered by the writing of Rick Riordan and Jonathan E Steinberg, the two-episode premiere has been the perfect launchpad for the series. Walker Scobell proves that he has been the right choice to play Percy as he succeeds in conveying a range of emotions from confusion, grief and finally redemption. He appears to be fully on the right track as he gears up to go on the quest to glory. Grover too is a well-written character who stands by his friend no matter what.
We get a pleasant surprise in Sally Jackson (played by Virginia Kull), who is strong, and not left whimpering like in the character in the 2010 film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which was not received well by the audiences. So far, the two-episode premiere has done more justice to the novel series than this film. Writing along with strong performances appear to be the forte of the series, but we are not treated to any lavish setting or jaw-dropping action sequences in the first two episodes.
A minor quibble is about the titles of the episodes, especially the first one, as they don’t really stay true to the crux of the story and could have been better worded.
Apart from these minor niggles, Percy Jackson and the Olympians has made a promising start and we can’t wait to watch the rest of the series as Percy goes on his quest along with his trusted friends.
The rest of the episodes of Percy Jackson and the Olympians will drop in on Disney+ Hotstar every Wednesday.