Dive Olly Dive - Season 2Spring 2012 Television
For little viewers ages three to six, PBS Sprout offers Dive Olly Dive, following the adventures of submarine-in-training Olly and his best friend Beth. They study together at the Special Underwater Research Facility (S.U.R.F.) under the tutelage of Diver Doug, learning about teamwork, trust, self-esteem and a whole host of other lessons that fall under the general heading of "character education."
Eye-catching CGI animation sets Dive Olly Dive apart from similarly themed programs. The rippling water looks so realistic you'll long to dip your toes in it, and the underwater world of coral and creatures provides a vibrant backdrop for the earnest storylines. In one episode, titled "No Fear," Suzie Seaplane is slated to visit. A thunderstorm makes for a bumpy landing, and Suzie is ashamed to tell her friends about her fear of getting back up in the air. She finds it much easier to overcome her fears once she admits the problem and gets the support of her friends. In another episode, "Galapagos Duck," Olly and Beth vacation in the Galapagos Islands. They snap right back into work-mode when they run into a displaced duck. The dilemma sparks an age-appropriate conversation about protecting the environment, as Olly and Beth address the risks of introducing a non-native species to an ecosystem.
Some children's programming simply shoehorn in a moral after a lot of general situational humor, but character lessons take center stage in Dive Olly Dive, making it worthwhile programming in terms of both content and production value.