April 23, 2011



ABC would have lost a great show if they were to cancel OFF THE MAP. With the show’s first season having come to an end, TV TALK tells you why…
(This continues the SHONDALAND GROING STRONG series of posts. I’d like to say that I am not referring to ratings here; I’m simply applauding the good quality of the Shondaland shows)

I could say that OFF THE MAP is better than PRIVATE PRACTICE and has far more of the gripping quality that GREY’S ANATOMY has, but I think comparisons are not required when it comes to this show. It’s a show that can very well rely on whatever it is, instead of having to compare it with others; so what I will say is that it’s one of the few shows that has me hooked completely in the first season itself. I understand that OFF THE MAP has not been renewed by ABC yet, and that it’s in danger of being cancelled. However, I strongly believe that they would be making a mistake if they did cancel it. Here are a few strong reasons why:

Set ‘somewhere in South America’, the show offers several opportunities to the writers for material that makes it interesting. Obvious issues like the lack of an organized system, infrastructure or facilities presents several challenges to the characters. On the other hand, the opportunities for the crew to excel with their cinematography and production design are plenty. And I can safely say that they have achieved all of that. I mentioned here, when the show began, that the stunning locales and the exotic backdrop of the show were showcased beautifully, and now, at the end of S1, I still hold onto that.

Let’s just say that Shondaland has nailed the medicine part of its shows, and the people who do the prosthetics and make-up for the medical procedures leave no stones unturned when it comes to delivering things as real as they can be shown. This holds true for OFF THE MAP as well, and the cases in this show are nail-bitingly good at another level. The man who was hanging by his flesh off a cable over a deep valley; the man who was being crushed by an anaconda; the man who had stingray in his ankle; the man whose chest had been slashed by the propeller of a capsized boat; the girl who was trapped under a car after an accident; the man who lost his toes in the jungle; the couple who were literally torn into each other—all of that, and more, make this show gripping as hell!

While sometimes, the show seems like tropical vacation (even doctors can have a life), there’s a lot that has been uncovered about the exotic land, where it is based. The writers have given us storylines that deal with issues like drug addiction and substance abuse, organ trafficking, issues with people adopting children from third-world countries, corruption in underdeveloped regions, the business of narcotics, health and sanitary conditions in prisons, and so much more. The show has it all, and that definitely makes for fantastic television!

Another area that the Shondaland writers have excelled at over the seven seasons of GREY’S ANATOMY and four of PRIVATE PRACTICE, is the storytelling. With this show, they have given us a set of really interesting characters, played by an impressive ensemble of actors, telling us their stories, built up in a way that makes them worth telling. From Keaton’s issues with his wife on life-support, and his complicated relationship with Clark, who needs another heart, to Cole’s history of drug abuse and Zee’s detachment issues, how can anyone not want to know more about these people? The show might not have had a groundbreaking premise—about characters wanting to start afresh with a clean slate, but the younger doctors also have my attention for sure. Brenner came after the loss of her fiancé, and is giving love another shot, while Minard is literally taking her second chance as a doctor, after killing someone through negligence, and Fuller is just trying to be a better person. I definitely want to know more about them, and also about Charlie, the endearing boy who had to grow up too soon, after his schizophrenic mother abandoned him.

Last, but most certainly not the least, the S1 finale ended with so many cliffhangers, that it would just be brutal and mean to us viewers if anyone had to cancel this show. Cole has given up his American passport to give his relationship with Zee a real shot; Brenner is struggling to save the life of her cocaine farmer boyfriend; Fuller has just told Minard that he’s in love with her; and Clark has refused to seek another heart, while Keaton is resorting to illegal means to obtain one for her… If you have watched the first season, I’m sure you want some closure with these stories, just as much as I do. As much as I would love for the show go on for at least a couple of seasons, for now, I really just want a season two!

What do you think? I’d love to know, so please share your views here…

1 comment:

  1. so true! the locales, the characters, the premise... you nailed it.

    i want a second season too. it's a great show. much more gripping than so many other shows.

    yeah, it's softer than i had hoped it would be, with too much of shonda's trademark mush, but its still interesting. i hope they renew it.