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Off the Map: Premiere Review

Posted by CJ Cregg on January 12, 2011

Arriving at the clinic

New show about doctors, a la Grey’s Anatomy but in a third world country.  Our three main characters Lily (Caroline Dhavemas of Wonderfalls), Nina (Mamie Gummer–Meryl Streep’s daughter), and Tommy (Zach Gilford) have been selected out of 100s applicants for positions at a clinic in some Spanish-speaking third world country.  (I missed where they actually are?  Chile maybe?)  They work at the only medical center within 200 miles and will have to use their brains and their instincts instead of technology.  As one doctor remarks, “here, it’s like 1952.”

In the pilot, our characters have just arrived to the clinic.  Tommy gets sent to check on a TB patient where he confronts a man who prefers traditional medicine to the drugs Tommy is prescribing.  He’s the party boy who drank his way through medical school, which puts him on a path to bumping heads with the main doctors.  (Of course, why he would get the job to come to the clinic in the first place…?)  Lily gets to follow the hottie clinic head to a tourist hurt in the jungle where she has to cut him free from a wire he has been tangled in.  Lots of blood.  Nasty.  When he starts to bleed out, they give him a transfusion with coconut milk.  Nina gets stuck in the clinic fumbling through Spanish with a dictionary and handing out band-aids.  This does not suit her competitive nature.

Most of our doctors seem to be on the run from personal demons, and we learn that Lily has lost someone in the States, so she’s taken a long leave from her position as head resident.  But I suspect that their back stories are all kind of cliche.  Let me guess, someone killed a patient and is still dealing with that?  (Yup, that was Nina.)  Oooh, and I bet someone’s parents are really disappointed in them (yup, Tommy is a plastic surgeon who likes boobs instead of saving lives).

I won’t spoil anything, but the end scene with Lily, Ben, and her patient?  So incredibly stupid.  Although it’s cool that algae can light up.

The vistas are breathtaking and familiar, the characters are decidedly uninteresting and needlessly good looking, and this is an

Glad that thing isn't embedded in my leg

expected take on a doctor show.  We’ll see our characters grow into themselves, into their roles at the clinic, and into better doctors, undoubtedly.  I suspect that many Grey‘s fans will enjoy this iteration of the doctor primetime soap opera.  I do not enjoy this show.  I’m not a huge fan of the doctor show genre because I don’t like blood, and there has already been way too much blood for me.  I am a Zach Gilford fan.  Remember him as Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights? He’s the exact opposite of Saracen here as a party boy.  It’s difficult to take him seriously.

This has a Grey‘s meets Lost kind of vibe.  Update: My snooping around online has confirmed that ABC is reusing the Hawaii studio sets they used in Lost.  No wonder everything looked so familiar.

I feel like this show, with its bland and cliched characters is wasting the talent of strong lead actors.

Holy cow there was a lot of blood in this episode.  Gross.

Oh, and Lily is totally gonna hook up with the clinic’s founder, Ben.  Calling that now.


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