Off the Map (2011)
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I really don't get the people that are giving bad reviews to this show, especially after seeing the reasons. For the people that want to see the show for its entertainment and story i fully recommend it, for the people that want 100% real cases with no fiction to them: go watch doctors in an hospital.
OTM centers around a trio of young doctors that have left their residencies in the US for one reason or another and decide to start over in South America. The reason behind their leaving have provided great story lines and the weekly medical cases are interesting. This is prime-time, network television, so I'm not expecting earth-shattering cases, but each episode deals with some of the problems that could be expected in the middle of the jungle. A couple of the cases have actually sparked my interest enough to look into them (ex. Chaga's Disease).
This is the only show that I watch within 24 hours of the original airing and I try to watch it "live" as I like it so much. The cast is great (I have loved Martin Henderson since Bride & Prejudice) and the scenery is gorgeous. If you are looking for an entertaining hour that draws you into the characters lives, I highly recommend OTM.
One warning though, this is extremely graphic when it comes to blood and medical procedures. I'm a little squeamish and have had to look away more than once during a procedure.
There is nothing better than a fresh start, which drives a bunch of doctors into South America to provide health care in a free clinic. And the word fresh indeed conjures images of oranges bathing in the sun in somewhere tropical, and into the tropics we go in a new Shonda Rhimes executive produced medical drama, Off the Map.
Actually, the show is very much off the map since it is filmed in Hawaii, but takes place "somewhere in South America", which made me curious if the writers of the show didn't have access to maps. Regardless, the show's setting is quite stunning and the ocean has never looked better.
But that is what strikes me as odd. Considering the show's premise, you would expect to see an overcrowded, run-down medical clinic with desperate patients and even more stressed out doctors in continuous crisis over shortage of medical supplies. Instead, everyone seems to be pretty well off, the clinic runs smoothly and nothing is broken down. It's all actually quite pretty.
But I am getting off-track here. The story introduces us to three new doctors whom have just arrived from the States. They are welcomed less than warmly by the another trio of doctors (do you see the match-making formula here?), whom have little faith in the newcomers, pointing out that in the tropics, they won't last a day. Perhaps the writers forgot to write in the hardships the new docs are supposed to encounter, since none are present in the pilot.
Emerging romances, conflicting personalities and painful past stories are laid down in the pilot of Off the Map. It's a Shonda Rhimes show. Even if she didn't actually create it. But as Shonda did with Private Practice, the rough start will eventually find its own footing, or at least we can hope.
Moreover, this is the most unnecessarily violent piece of *beep* I have ever seen. I watched the entire first season, because I was curious if it was actually going to surprise me at all or if the plot is as predictable as I thought it would be. And IF I give it a bad review, I want it to be justified.
I think, the shows 'problem' is that it doesn't seem to be intentionally set as a soap, but it turns out to be one. It's cheesy, it's predictable, everybody hooks up and every bad-ass guy in the show is actually a nice guy hiding under a shell of tough dude behavior. Every 14-year-olds dream. But for 14-year-old girls, the show is way too violent and for every mature woman it's way too cheesy and exhausting to watch. But judging by the reviews, it apparently is not. Some grown women are still blinded by this dull type of entertainment.
Every single situation, every conflict, every plot detail is over-complicated. Here goes spoiler #1: One of the main characters wife is in a coma. His daughter died in an accident. And the girl who he is in love with, he kept pushing away in the past, because he's 'not ready', because of his wife of course. And when he finally decides to move on, the plot reveals that she has a heart condition and is probably going to die soon, too. Oh my f. god, I can't do that to him again... wtf?! Who writes that?!
Anyways, moving on.
In the first two episodes, the 'new' characters have problems adjusting to the new environment, because they don't know any Spanish. Stupid to go to 'South America' in the first place (I don't think they ever mentioned where exactly this is supposed to be, I'm guessing for legal reasons :) ), but never mind. Everything is going to be fine, because after the first two episodes, all the natives speak English just fine, all of a sudden.
Well, let's see about some cliff-notes. Is it worth watching for the following reasons?
Educational: not at all. No lessons learned. Role Models: None whatsoever. There's a bitch, a tough guy, a black guy, a Spanish gigolo, the typical nice and educated girl from the city, a man-whore, but (!) all of them turn out to be nice people under their tough shell of course. Realism: Don't bother. Crashing helicopters, crazy currents, anaconda-bites, ... Don't even know where to start.
I'm not getting into that any more, it's just overly complicated for no apparent reason, it's bloody and violent, just to be sensational. That's pretty much it.
I am not giving it one single star, because the actors do a very good job, even considering the script. All of them are very likable and believable. Especially Jonathan Castellanos does an amazing job, even though his English is a little bit too good for a native 'south-american'. Cinematography is also not bad either, even the special effects are well done. It's just that the plot is so incredibly bad that I can't even put it into words.
It's like watching a Katherine Heigl movie, combined with Stephenie Meyers writing skills, just that you find yourself wondering how the hell they good get the actors to ruin their careers with that.
Seriously, I could imagine myself in a lot of guest roles in the most crappy shows and movies, just for the fun of it. But I would pass on playing a dead guy in that show, because I don't think anybody would like to have that show in their resumee anywhere.
p.s. sorry for my poor English and also this is my first review so bare with me :)
Shonda Rhimes was attempting another doctors show. It's an easy sell to the TV exec suits. Imagine Grey's Anatomy in the jungle. Non-specific is in fact the mantra for the whole show. The jungle in Hawaii just looks too pretty. The tiki bar is pulled out of numerous other shows. The whole show just feels fake. Add on Rachelle Lefevre, and it seem like some kind of Models for Doctors program. Shonda should have spend more time trying to give more realism to the show.
The characters really aren't very likable, the actors seem to be doing a good job with what they have, but the writing of the show is paltry. I'm not trying to bag on the show but i feel i have to compensate for those that will watch whatever is well promoted on ABC. I really hope it gets cancelled so my wife and her friends stop watching it. :)
...Because this show is shot in Hawai'i, the scenery is spectacular. It will make you all the angrier that not more was done with the writing, casting, and scripts.
...I made it through 1 and 1/3 episodes, but no more. The acting is passable, but the music is sappy, the stories are predictable, and the casting is well, to be kind, extremely uninspired. This could easily have been the Disney Channel does jungle medicine with high schoolers.
...I can guarantee you that it is only a matter of time before one of the "doctors" has to land an airplane due to an accident with the pilot.
...yes it is that bad.
... The networks wonder why the cable channels have all the hits now-a-days. Well I give you "Off the Map" as exhibit Number 1.
Off the Map is an incredibly cheesy, poorly written and acted version of Gray's Anatomy set in a third world jungle where "hunky" doctors walk around sweaty and shirtless and give blood transfusions with coconut juice (No kidding- watch episode 2)! The show follows the same cookie-cutter pattern as Gray's, House, Private Practice, etc: every week brings a new set of patients with mysterious ailments that get resolves in the final two minutes... yawn.
In a few more episodes they will all be sleeping together and saving the third world populace with coconuts and banana peels while their washboard abs glisten in the sunlight... yes, the show is that vapid.
It's absolutely amazing to see the vast difference between all the unoriginal trash airing on ABC, CBS and NBC compared with superior, original gems airing on FX, AMC and HBO (such as Boardwalk Empire, Lights Out, Mad Man, Walking Dead, and older shows like Rescue Me and the Shield, etc).
It's probably not as bad as I make it, it's just NOT original, and VERY predictable.
Off the Map comes from the creators of Grey's Anatomy and so from the beginning the expectations are set against the show. whilst it does have an air of cheapness to it (not so great SFX although could be because its a few years old) the acting is pretty good on the whole.
I particularly liked that they deal with "field" treatment in tropical climates. How to save lives without modern technology, using native medicines in conjunction with modern medicines.
i am currently on episode 11 and really disappointed that i won't be seeing much more. It was moving in the right direction and i was hoping to see more of the two worlds meeting each other. BAD MOVE ABC! PLEASE BRING IT BACK!
Sexual Orientation - The sexual innuendo consists of groping, kissing, closed doors, noises, etc - you name it. Anything you would expect to witness on cable TV in today's world. There isn't much sex in it compared to shows which need sexuality to get ratings, period. Sex seems to be on the down-low at the moment, but I have come to find that as a show progresses into one season after another it tends to get worse, as time has proved to provide as well. There are many sexual references though. That, you can count on.
Use of Profane Language - There is a typical amount of cursing in this show. Of course, saying the F word isn't allowed on today's networks, but normal curse words are used in typical communication. I think I'm so used to what I would call, "the norm" that cursing seems to fly right past without notice or second glance. Sad, but true. There is cursing, and that's all one needs to know.
Gore - If you don't like seeing blood, or "prop" blood, I suggest you don't watch this show. It does get very bloody. I don't even want to explain what I saw on last weeks episode. I don't think I have seen one doctor show that is as open with injuries, etc, as "Off the Map" is and can be. Let's just say that if seeing a drop of blood makes you nauceous, you're going to be in the bathroom for a while.
My Overall Review - Okay, for starters the characters seem to be very stiff and have a rudeness about them. Could it be a disregard for others that I'm sensing? I don't know. I like this show, because it is unique. I can't recall many shows which possess the same qualities as this does. Fighting to survive and take care of yourself and others while in the jungle with no luxury? I like that. I'm a big "LOST" fan, and since that has ended I have to take what I can get and the show that seems to at least reach some height is "Off the Map" so far, although it in no way compares or reaches the "LOST" potential. Like I said, the characters are snobs and for that I might just be done with this show, but overall, I have no intentions of giving up on it just yet.
I looked forward to watching it every week. Now that I just watched the finale I hope there will be a season two. I miss it already.