By Caryn James | James on Screens January 10, 2011 at 3:00AM
The promos for Off the Map, the new ABC drama about doctors in a run-down clinic in a remote South American village, look like Grey’s Anatomy meets Lost, but I never imagined this disappointing clunker would really be that mashup. The series is executive produced by Grey's Shonda Rhimes and created by one of its producers, Jenna Bans, and like that much more engaging medical soap opera, Off the Map features attractive young doctors among an experienced hospital staff. Love affairs! Jockeying for the bloodiest cases!
At first the Lost connection seems merely visual as the overhead camera swoops across jungles and a brilliant blue ocean; both series were shot in Hawaii. But while Off the Map does not have smoke monsters or parallel worlds (that we know of) it turns out that each character, Lost-like, has a secret past which we’ll slowly discover. We’ll also discover that their secrets are trite. Dr. Martin Henderson (Ben Keeton), the handsome head of the clinic, has suffered a loss that leaves him unable to commit, although he and young Dr. Lily Brenner (Caroline Dhavernes) are clearly heading somewhere together. Yes, they are playing Meredith and McDreamy in the jungle.
The stories are unintentionally laughable. When Henderson runs out of blood plasma, he climbs a tree and cuts down a cocoanut to use its liquid as a substitute. Seems the show is part MacGyver too.
Off the Map wastes some talented actors, including Mamie Gummer and Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights). The series premieres Wednesday at 10:00, but there’s no need to remember that.