‘Off The Map’ is On The Right–Yet Predictable–Track

SO, I know that ABC’s ‘Off The Map’ premiered last Wednesday night, but I decided to wait until after the second episode aired before writing my own review of the network’s latest medical dram(edy?), and brain-child of former ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (and ‘Private Practice’ and ‘DH’) writer Jenna Bans.

I’m not gonna lie, part of what drew me to the pilot of ‘OTM’ was the fact that ABC sold it as the newest ride at Shondaland,–after all, the executive producer is none other than ‘Grey’s’ and ‘Private Practice’ showrunner Shonda Rhimes–and also the beautiful people/places/things showcased in the on-air promos.

Most of the criticism before last week–and for that matter, most of the criticism since last week’s premiere–has been some version of  “Wah Wah, it’s ‘Grey’s’ set in the rainforest” or “Boo Hoo, it’s just another superficial medical show with pretty people.”

Having now watched the first two episodes in full, I am happy to report that ‘Off The Map’ is absolutely 100% a re-packaged version of ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ And you know what, I LIKE IT.

No one has falsely advertised ‘Off The Map’ as something that it’s not. ABC execs aren’t promoting the show as an intellectual juggernaut that forces society to question its moral standards and deepest motivations. It’s a show about hot people who act slutty, get way too personal way too quickly, and throw (occasional) witty dialogue back-and-forth as if someone didn’t write it down for them.

…Oh, and sometimes they do medical procedures.

As I watched episode 2, I couldn’t help but see the doctors at La Clinica Cruz del Sur as Seattle Grace doppelgangers. I mean, the character parallels are uncanny:

Dr. Lily Brenner (aka Dr. Meredith Grey): thick-skinned, private (with inappropriate outbursts of emotion), mouse-like, and will undoubtedly fall in love with the head doctor at the clinic, Ben Keeton.

Dr. Mena Minard (aka Dr. Christina Yang): intense, cutthroat, multi-layered, competitive, abrupt, and has a poor bedside manner–good doctor, bad physician.

Dr. Tommy Fuller (aka Dr. Alex Karev): frat boy, ladies man, eye candy, plastic surgeon–obsessed with vanity, exteriors, eager to prove he’s more than meets the eye.

Dr. Ben Keeton (aka Dr. McDreamy): cocky, brave, chiseled, mcguyver-like, all-around hot piece of doctor ass, will fall for newest Padawan, Dr. Brenner.

Dr. Otis Cole (aka Dr. Bailey): hard-worker, tough on newbs, blunt, secretly nurturing, respects patients without judging them.

Dr. Ryan Clark (aka Dr. Addison Montgomery): beautiful, traveled, Ginger, former hookup of McDreamy, holier than thou attitude, can make incredibly perceptive statements–like telling Minard she’s a good doctor, but bad physician–as easily as she can spurn a former lover.

Dr. Zee is the only character that can’t be translated directly over, but as the single Latina regular, she reminds viewers that the show is set somewhere in South America.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about the character parallels, but one can’t deny that they exist.

Obviously, ABC got something right with it’s Thursday night lineup and from their POV, as cliche as it sounds, why should they fix something that ain’t broke?

Fans of  ‘Grey’s’ and ‘Private Practice’ are going to like ‘Off The Map,’ and that’s what matters. There are already enough viewers tuning in week-to-week for the well-established medical dramas; ABC ain’t looking for new blood, but rather old blood to flow into Wednesday nights, too.

So, for all the critics bashing ‘Off The Map,’ I say move on. Redirect your anger at programming that is truly worth your time and frustration (ahem, ‘The Cape’). Or, if you can’t leave ‘OTM’ alone, waste your ink detailing the hotness of Zach Gilford.

Ep. 2 Promo:

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January 20, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . TV. 1 comment.