ABC's new series, Off The Map, is an outdoor version of older medical dramas such as Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Therefore, no prizes for guessing that it is another Rhonda Shimes production.
It is a story of three young doctors trying to start all over somewhere in the jungles of South America. Intriguing, if you want it to be. This is about hospitals in great locales and tempting eye candy: both of the nature and human kind.
The show has a very promising cast, including Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights) Mamie Gummer (The Good Wife) Rachel LeFevre (Twilight) and Caroline Dhavernas (Wonderfalls) as the new young doctors while Martin Henderson plays the veteran 'hot-doc'. The first episode dealt with various lives of the characters intermingled with the medical cases they are dealing with. In the meantime, they learn some jungle medicine.
This way the purpose of the medical show is announced - to teach how to cure with nature. Dr. Ben (Martin Henderson) the founder of the jungle clinic announces: “We have plants that cure viruses… tree sap to heal wounds… This is where medicine was born!” The 'this' is somewhere in South America although the show has primarily been shot in Hawaii.
Mixed in with the stories of the young doctors’ reasons for arriving there are enough hints at the romantic liaisons and tensions to follow.
The first episode was titled 'Saved by the Great White Hope', maybe implying that the infusion of white doctors into the jungle proves to be the savior of the confused backward and different-coloured people. The whole premise is off-putting to say the least. One of the character even innocently asks what ‘gringo’ means? Was that supposed to stave off any criticism about the white savior bit?
Going off the track a little bit - Off the Map was originally a very great film about a young girl and her family living in New Mexico away from the whole world . They are literally cut off from the world. Living off the land with a nature loving mother, and a depressed creative father, girl is smart and intelligent . The family is traced by and IRS man who decides to stay on, charmed by the very naturalness of the people and their ordinary struggles in an extraordinary lifestyle. It stars Joan Allen, Valentina D'Angelis and Sam Elliot.