This TV-G episodic series is wonderful, featuring a wholesome approach to teaching kids about God’s word and how to make sound decisions. The main cast features Gili Sage Gould as Dot, Lauryn McCardell as Dot’s best friend Makayla, and Ethan Pogue, as sidekick Alex Murray. Also appearing in three of the eight episodes is Jae Huff, who plays Millie Conner, Dot’s mother, and Owen Osborne as Isaac Watson, an intelligent geek who occasionally plays a pivotal role in some of the plots of the series.
Gili Sage Gould is spot on as Dot, a teen girl who loves the internet, and figuring out the clues to solve mysteries. She is a devoted sleuth. She also attends church and many of the questions the group has revolve around questions of faith and how to handle certain situations from a biblical perspective. The episodes average 10 to 11 minutes, and in episode one, titled Practice Makes Perfect? Dot is upset when she gets a 92 on her math test, falling short of the perfect 100 she was shooting for. She is dismayed that she only missed one question, and she pursues this question: does perfection exist? As Dot puts it, she feels a mystery coming on! She is determined to crack this case. Her first instinct is to find a perfect person to help her get that perfect score. As she does a web search, she finds information about finding the “perfect person.” “That’s not what I want to find at all. Ewww!” She finds six tips to achieve a perfect memory recall and nature’s perfect predator. Still needing help, she enlists her best friend Makayla to help out, along with sidekick Alex.
Ryan Hollingshead appears and although he’s a terrific soccer player, he admits he is not perfect either and doesn’t make every shot. He asks if Dot has considered Jesus, who was perfect. He exhorts that Jesus was born without a sin nature. He shares that we are not perfect, but that Jesus is perfect for us.
In episode two, titled Lost in Translation, Alex has gone radio silent on Dot and Makayla. Is he upset with them about something? Did he misunderstand something they said? The conversation leads to misreading the texts of the Bible. Just as some people read a scripture differently, did Alex misread their text? Since Alex is “ghosting” the girls, they enlist the help of Darrell Bock, the executive director for Cultural Engagement at the Hendricks Center—he’s the professor of New Testament studies. He teaches them about hermeneutics, finding the right interpretation of the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts of the Bible. This involves considering the author, the audience, the context, and the lens through which one is reading the material. This helps Dot and Makayla to learn that Alex thought the girls were annoyed with him, and made fun of his hobby, toy war models. They were not, however, annoyed with him, and did not mean to make fun of his hobby. In fact, they offer to help him finish a model. Dot learns that a good interpretation requires good hermeneutics.
In episode three, The Disobedient Daughter, Dot isn’t supposed to be on the computer but gets on anyway. But soon she hears her mother say, “Dorothy Abigail Conner, are you on my computer?” “I’m caught,” admits Dot. The case is “me” says Dot, for this episode, and juvenile delinquency is the topic. A former detective, J. Warner Wallace, a Christian, quotes Paul from Romans 7:15, who stated he didn’t always do what he should do, and sometimes did what he hates.” The struggle to not be rebellious is addressed, including the fact that most people struggle with sin even after being saved by Jesus. But 1 John 1:9 makes it clear that Jesus forgives us of all sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
In episode four, The Salvation Problem, Makayla has an intense dream about being disrespectful and she believes she is in trouble. She worries she has lost her salvation. She is reminded to honor her father and her mother. Dot wants to examine if a person can lose their salvation. Author Alisa Childers examines this question and determines that if a person maintains an active trust in Christ, he or she will remain safe in their faith in Christ. It’s determined one must trust in Christ, recognize sin during failure and desire to repent, and must continue in God’s word. A person who practices these three things would not walk away from God.
In episode five, The Science Fair Scandal, Dot enters the contest, but Pam Mondy wins, followed by Isaac Owen. But did Isaac deserve to win? Did Pam pull some trickery to get first prize? Famous surfer and believer, Bethany Hamilton, shows up to share that good things happened to her after she lost her arm to a tiger shark. So, God can bring good out of bad situations, even someone cheating against us. Bethany won a national swimming title after her accident. The world is broken, which is why bad things happen, but God is always with us. Bethany went on to write books, including her latest one titled Surfing Past Fear. In 1 Peter 1, it is said God uses our trials to refine us. In the end, Isaac is declared the winner of the Science Fair when the principal learns of Pam’s cheating.
In episode six, Dot vs. Wild, Dot and her friends, Makayla and Alex, become lost while hiking with their church youth group. Alex talks about “their bodies being found” which doesn’t go over well with Dot and Makayla. Makayla winds up apologizing for twisting Alex’s arm (not shown). They don’t want him to be negative. In a humorous scene Alex thought he saw a big bear, but it turned out to be a very large, brown bush! There is tension, but a man named Ray McKee is nearby, filming a series on wilderness survival, and he guides them back to the summit of the mountain to join back up with their youth group. Ray mentions God is at the top of the summit, and Ray examines several religions, including Islam, Hinduism, and the New Age movement, but concludes that Christianity is the right one, because the Lord did the work for us to be saved, unlike the other beliefs that have man doing the works to earn his way to heaven. Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth, and the life. In a humorous scene when they get to the summit, Ray reminds Alex, “You can let go now!”
In episode seven, The Worth Dilemma, Dot must decide about joining a debate group, but she has a church commitment. Pam puts pressure on Dot to join, but pro basketball player Kayla Thornton helps Dot to realize that there are pros and cons to many decisions. And she has made sacrifices in her career, but Kayla says following Jesus is her priority. And the point is made that following Jesus is worth the cost.
In episode eight, A Case of Identity, Isaac believes that like his hero, Dr. Marvel, he has mind powers too. He wants his mom to bring Alex and him some snacks, and soon she shows up to Isaac’s room with a tray full of snacks! Author and speaker, Lauren Chandler, shows up and shares that Genesis 1:27 says we were created by God and God has made us who and what we are with our various gifts and talents. This helps Isaac to realize that he doesn’t have superpowers, and that God made him just right, to be who he is. It’s funny though, when he thinks of pizza later on, his mom brings him the pizza he wanted. Apparently, his mom knows him quite well!
There are several things to think about in this series. Seeking God, and doing the right thing, and maintaining a walk with him are just a few examples of what the series is all about. These are great discussion points for your kids, and the episodes are geared toward them.
THE DOVE TAKE: This is a tremendous series to guide kids as they seek to walk with the Lord, and important topics such as keeping faith during difficult times are featured nicely in the series.