Television Review: Percy Jackson Season One

We finished the new Disney adaptation of Percy Jackson over the weekend. The whole family enjoyed it for the most part (though the biggest fan was MC, who’s 10 and generally doesn’t like anything too intense.) Overall, I thought it was a solid family-friendly series, even if it had a few things that held it back from being really great.

Honestly, my biggest gripe with it was that it was too dark. I don’t mean thematically. I mean literally. So many of the scenes were poorly lit to the point that I had no idea what was actually happening on the screen. I wondered if something was wrong with my projector, but all the other programs I’ve been watching have been fine. Perhaps it was just due to the fact that projectors don’t handle really dark color gradations as well, but it’s definitely something to be aware of, and it was a continual source of frustration.

Setting that aside, the plot and acting were pretty solid. I felt like it rushed through certain elements, however, which made the whole series feel a little disjointed. This is pretty ironic, considering it had over five hours to work with. (8 episodes that around 40 minutes each.) It felt like it was falling into the “let’s be really faithful to the original” trap, and so it ended up trying to show everything that was in the book. I get the sentiment (especially since Rick Riordan was frustrated that the movie adaptation cut too much), but in practice, it just doesn’t work. (See almost any Harry Potter movie for reference.) You can end up with a good series, but it’s going to be very difficult for it to be great, simply because the elements that make a great book don’t necessarily translate beat for beat to a great series or movie.

It suffered from too many characters and not enough time to really get to know most of them. Instead, it felt like it was almost a character of the week sort of set up, where we had random people come and go and then not matter much later on. The stakes also seemed to continually change. It just didn’t feel like it had any really driving tension moving it forward.

That said, it’s an adaptation of a middle grade novel, and as I said, MC thought it was fantastic. So even if I didn’t love it from beginning to end, I can’t find too much fault for it.

The bottom line is that if you’re looking for a fun series to watch as a family, this is a good candidate. I gave it a 7/10, but there’s not many series out there that would appeal to all ages equally.

Just do your best to have the brightness settings turned up on whatever platform you end up watching it on.

2 thoughts on “Television Review: Percy Jackson Season One”

  1. My daughter (11) loved the TV series and thought it was hilarious. She is reading the second book currently. She would give it a 9/10. She didn’t have a problem seeing what was happening on screen. She watched one or two on a projector so maybe the show comes across easier to see on a TV screen?

    1. That could be. I’m thinking it’s likely the black levels. Still seems like it should be something the creators could avoid, since every other show has no issue with it.

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