OFF THE MAP, the brand new show from the Shondaland stable premiered on Wednesday on ABC. TV TALK breaks down the pilot as we look forward to more...
Right from the first few frames showcasing the stunning locales that we’re going to see in this new medical drama, I knew that we were in for something big. My expectations were high, after watching almost seven seasons of GREY’S ANATOMY and three seasons of PRIVATE PRACTICE, knowing the great television that Shonda Rhimes has brought to us, I can safely say that after seeing the pilot of OFF THE MAP, I was far from being disappointed. The premise of the show is rather simple—three experienced medical professionals welcome three younger doctors to work with them somewhere in rural South America, where they save lives and cure diseases with whatever resources and experience they have. The medical cases may be simple or bizarre, but the underdeveloped third-world setting presents challenges that put everything in a different perspective, whatever the case may be.
|Mario Perez – © 2010 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc|
The young doctors, who come to South America for a fresh start, after individual upsets in each of their lives, are more than surprised by what they find. Not being prepared for what lay ahead of them catches them off guard, while expectations from them are high. The seniors grill them for everything they lack, as they all try to deal with this change that they signed up for. Even getting along with each other poses a minor problem, so proving their worth and earning some respect in the process seems to be something in the distant future for them.
I’d have to say that while the concept of OFF THE MAP may not be groundbreaking, it’s still unique for television. It will be a challenge for the writers to sustain interest levels for long, with medical cases that are just as interesting as the ones in the pilot, cases that make this show different from other medical dramas on the tube. As far as the characters are concerned, creator and writer Jenna Bans has laid a strong foundation, with tremendous potential to explore the characters and develop them over several seasons, hopefully. The magic of Shonda Rhimes is evident from all the revelations made in the pilot, and the different sides to the characters that we see. The rest of the season will probably show how they settle into their new jobs and their new home, and I’m looking forward to watching all of it. The actors seem to be doing a good job, especially Martin Henderson (The Ring, Torque, Bride & Prejudice) and Jason George, and with a strong cast, characters, good writing, and breathtaking visuals, this show definitely offers great promise. It sure is a keeper for me!
A few reviews of the pilot that I read before watching it criticize the fact that people from a world power come to save lives in a third-world country, calling it another tale of ‘white man saves the world’, but I would say that that’s a very narrow-minded perspective of the show. We all know that underdeveloped areas exist in the world, and that people from developed nations help such places, in ways big and small, and if an American is writing a story, surely they’d make the main characters American. It has nothing to do with a superiority complex.
COMING SOON: The Golden Globe Awards 2011