Off the Map – initial thoughts…

I’d been excitedly awaiting the screening of Off the Map – the latest medical drama from Shonda Rhimes – since I heard about it last year, but it’s taken me a while to form an opinion on it.

The first four episodes were a bit bland and the characters are exactly what you’d expect. There is the McDreamy/George Clooney equivalent, Dr Ben Keeton (who I think has brooding Carter qualities from those later ER episodes) then there’s his easily identifiable love interest Dr Lily Brenner (who just lacks something) and the hot underdog of the pack Dr. Tommy Fuller.

The picturesque scenery is pretty cool, but the story lines have been a bit weak – they tend to follow a tried and tested formula along the lines of “we’ve got a patient with some weird tropical disease/a jungle creature attached to or inside them/trapped in an awkward situation”. They’re then taken to the ropey clinic and the doctors generally save them. Often the language barrier will fuel a misdiagnosis, however, its predictability is rather comforting, and I think it has potential – that said, I haven’t felt compelled to write about it until I hit the top fifth episode, and that’s only because I thought it went a bit far, even for a medical drama.

In “I’m here” a scuba diving trip goes wrong, and the doctors head out to sea to save a teenage girl who has been trapped under water following a rock slide – her leg is caught between the rocks, the crane is too far away and she’s suffered a collapsed lung, so what do they do? An impromptu amputation of course…

Now, as a medical drama fan I’m used to a bit of blood and guts, but having to watch Dr Keeton use what looked like a long string of barded wire to cut through the poor girl’s leg was just a bit much. And then to see her be lifted to the surface, minus the end of her leg, in a pool of bright red water was just unnecessarily graphic.

I felt it made Off the Map look a bit desperate, ER and Grey’s Anatomy never resorted to stomach churning shock tactics of this level to keep their viewers amused. I remember Carter had to perform an amputation at the scene of a train crash once, but I don’t think we ever had to see the inside of patient’s leg.

I shall keep watching, but Off the Map, if you want to hold my attention I think we’ll need some entertaining love triangles pretty soon.

K x

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2 Responses to Off the Map – initial thoughts…

  1. alwaysright101 says:

    I like the idea of “jungle medicine” since the only time its really been done was a few episodes on ER. But the characters don’t appeal to me. I don’t care about yet another predictable love triangle. I don’t care about yet another storyline of a character who used to have a drug problem. I don’t care about another character who is rough around the edges and I definitely don’t care for another slacker. These characters are pretty predictable, dull, and not interesting enough.

    I was really put off by the fact that Ben’s wife is brain dead and he is only keeping her alive to take her money.

    I stopped watching it after that. I know the direction this show is going in and don’t care much for it. Its got a great concept but it needs to retool the personal stories a bit.

    I might be overly critical and will need to go back and watch the episodes I missed, but as of right now, I am kind of lukewarm to it.

    I think another reason I feel that way is that I don’t want to get attached to a show that has the potential to be canceled too soon. Medical shows seem to be the hardest drama to make successfully because unlike cop shows, there is such a thing as too many medical shows at once. I guess people prefer “good vs. evil” rather than “life and death”.

  2. pamelajaye says:

    It’s been years since you were here and you may never see this, but in the episode of er that you mention with the train and the amputation – the character who was losing his leg was played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Denny duquette. I didn’t even notice it but I was rewatching, circa 2007.
    Too bad you didn’t keep this blog going. Nobody posts about all the medical dramas.

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