OFF THE MAP: THE COMPLETE SERIES
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
“Off the Map” is the latest series meant to capitalize on the “Grey’s Anatomy” model of television medical dramas. Executive produced by Shonda Rimes and created by her “Grey’s Anatomy” writer Jenna Bans, “Off the Map” follows a team of problematic doctors to the South American jungle where they deal with interpersonal conflicts, encounter bizarre jungle medical issues and find a way to handle primitive conditions. While the medical angle of the show is interesting and strangely informative, it’s the “Grey’s Anatomy” model that just doesn’t work for me.
I’m sure there’s an audience out there for attractive people whining about their problems and having sex all the time, but it just gets boring. Plus, “Off the Map” has a worldview in synch with “Grey’s” and its spin-off “Private Practice”… one in which you have to be an asshole to get ahead in life. Seriously, the characters are all damaged, mean-spirited, narcissistic sociopaths who aren’t in the jungle to help people but rather to prove their worth. I like to think that people are better than that. In the end, the series put a new coat of paint (a jungle setting) on a tired product (the bitchy, preachy medical soap opera) with a slate of actors who really aren’t that compelling on an individual basis.
There are decent bonus features for a first-season DVD, including outtakes and deleted scenes, plus the featurettes “On Set at Off the Map” and “Jungle Medicine,” the latter which features some of the real-life medical tricks used to treat diseases and injuries in the rainforest.