The holidays are here! Pine needles are littering floors and tinsel is being found in unexpected places. We all know how this goes in December. If you’re not holly, you’re jolly or a Grinch, no judgement. But, if we’re honest with ourselves, from time to time in the month, we’re also craving desperately for a break from the Christmas classics that are blaring from the radio or from the television screen. That’s where Percy Jackson and the Olympians comes in.
The Disney+ series adaptation, which premieres Wednesday, Dec. 20 with its first two episodes, is a fantasy thrill ride that fans of the books are sure to adore. Author Rick Riordan certainly does as he was heavily involved with the production as an executive producer. He also co-wrote three out of the first season’s eight episode run, including the first two episodes–“I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra” and “I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom.”
From the episode titles for the series alone, it’s obvious this is a show that can be enjoyed by you, middlegraders, and older teens as well. Percy Jackson and the Olympians isn’t an adaptation that skates past the age group the books were intended for in an effort to attract a more mature audience. Given that it’s onDisney+ that should be a given but with the House of Mouse’s streamer also having Marvel and Star Wars content that skews older, we do understand that some of the content on the service may not interest or be appropriate for some children.
As for this series, it’s a coming-of-age fantasy focused on 12 year old Percy Jackson who learns that he’s a modern demigod. Of course, it’s not enough that he must adjust to his new supernatural powers, he also has to go on a cross country trek to find Zeus’ lightning bolt after he’s accused of stealing it by the sky god himself. Percy, along with the help of his friends Grover and Annabeth, have to find the bolt in order to restore order to Olympus.
The three leads of the show–played by Walker Scobell, Aryan Simhadri, and Leah Jeffries–are primed to be Disney+’s new heroes as children and teens who use the platform get to enjoy a genre series akin to its biggest draws (Marvel and Star Wars) that focuses on characters that look like them and are around their age.
For those of us who are adults tuning in, a lovingly crafted action-adventure, regardless of the demographic its intended for, is going to hit even if the messaging is geared toward life lessons we’ve already learned. And, to be honest, coming-of-age stories have a way of teaching everyone who watches them a thing or two, or several frankly. One only needs to look to Netflix’s Heartstopper as a recent example of teen-oriented television that has resonated with grown folks as well.
But aside from all of this, you should tune into Percy Jackson and the Olympians because it’s going to be epic. Disney+ is launching a franchise that we can sink our teeth into for years to come as long as we give it due attention. The visuals look lush and fantastical just like you’d expect, there’s tension as Percy encounters mythological creatures and beings for the first time. From the trailer you can see how sweeping this series is going to be. And, if that doesn’t entice you, the action should. The thing about a hero arc is that you get to see their rise, the battles they must face, and the perils they fall into and have to combat, it’s a story that pulls you in and you find yourself investing in it.
With the series debuting on Wednesday, Dec. 20, we’ll be dropped into the beginning of Percy’s journey and enjoying it well into January as he, and we, take the first steps into this winding tale. There are six books in the series which doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll get six seasons of the show, but we’re hoping this fantasy adaptation is around for years to come. Watch the trailer to get a look at what the show has in store for us: