January 15, 2011


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. 

After watching the pilot, you should fill out this ABC survey to express what you thought of it. CLICK HEREAnd, of course, please comment here as well.

COMING SOON: The Golden Globe Awards 2011


  1. I agree Shonda rarely disappoints though I still think her best has been with #Grey's guess that's the perk of being her first baby. Interesting concept, I agree with you though on how long they'll be able to keep people's interest and just how many unique cases they can come up with. The pilot didn't blow my mind the way #Grey's did the first time I watched but all in all an interesting concept. Martin Henderson is hot and a good actor too. Liked the little that I saw in the pilot. One thing I like about Shonda if she likes someone from a show and they have no potential she always finds a role for them in something new. Like Addie moving to private practice from grey's and baileys's love interest moving to off the map again from grey's. Will watch to see how the rest of the season unfolds. One more thing going for the show which i forgot were the breathtaking locales. Till your next post then

  2. i just watched the pilot, and i agree with you. the show has huge potential if the writers can sustain the balance between interpersonal relationships and medical drama. Right now, the show is leaning towards too much mush, but i hope that improves with time.
    The characters come off as a bit cliched right now, but i'm willing to watch a few more episodes before i make up my mind about that.
    also, zee looks awfully familiar. is she from private practice?

  3. Just remembered it seems very similar to Private Practice as in all of them trying to move away and get a fresh start except the location has changed. Hope it the story doesn't continue in the vein of Private Practice coz that show never grew on me. I thought it was just an average show with the exception of Addie. Still think the best of Shonda has been saved for Grey's Anatomy. Also seeing Martin Henderson on a bike again was awesome

  4. @wildcherry28 I agree that Grey's Anatomy is the best, even though it's too soon to write off Off The Map from the running of being Shonda's best, but I thought this pilot was supremely exciting, as compared to Private Practice. Grey's Anatomy's pilt wasn't all that great. In fact, it took a while before the magic of Grey's got to me. Maybe I would have liked that pilot more, if I knew the magic that lay ahead of me. Anyway, this getting away and starting afresh is something that Shonda always starts with; even Grey's was about five young doctors starting their careers in medicine. Although PP had only Addison as the one who was starting over.

    @geetanjalijhala I don't think there's too much mush... I think it's nice to know some depth in each character right from the beginning, and as long as the quality of the medicne wasn't compromised because of the mush, I think it was perfectly fine. I don't think the characters are cliched at all, except for Tommy maybe, and the general interaction between the seniors and juniors. But then that's how it always is. Oh, and Zee is not from PP; she looks an awful lot like Minnie Driver.

  5. Its new series of the year and I have seen few episodes. Its really good show with good storyline. THANKS for this great sharing.

    Watch TV Shows Online

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