Shonda Rhimes doesn't like it when someone says her new show "Off the Map" is like "Grey's Anatomy" in the jungle.
Sorry, Shonda, but we call 'em like we see 'em.
Rhimes' latest doc drama is about a group of American residents who report to a clinic somewhere in South America to combine practicing medicine with doing good for the world/making a fresh start. The residents are overseen by two hot American doctors who run the clinic along with a native doctor (Valerie Cruz) who resents the American doctors being there -- even though it would appear from the staff we see, there'd be no clinic without the imperialist intruders. Seriously, there's an anti-American rant in every one of her scenes in the pilot. That won't get old. (Note: One of the show's stars, Martin Henderson, is from New Zealand, but I'm pretty certain he's playing an American. You only hear his real accent come through now and then).
And if you were thinking Zach Gilford ("Friday Night Lights") would be the reason to watch this, let me disabuse you of any of your Matt Saracen Returns fantasies. In "Off the Map," Gilford plays a plastic surgery resident who is nothing like our beloved QB-1. He's a decent doctor but he's selfish, lazy, cocky, and obnoxious (about like any number of "Grey's" characters). But I get where Rhimes is going with this -- the young physician has suffered a recent tragedy so he's there to "grow and mature." I guess the jungle will make him a man.
I wish professional and financial success for Gilford, who was amazing on "Friday Night Lights," but he's wasted here. He's better than this.
As for the rest of the cast, the two female residents we meet in the pilot (Caroline Dhavernas and Mamie Gummer) have crushes on the long-haired hot doc in charge (Martin Henderson), who speeds through the jungle on a motorcycle. He's sensitive like McDreamy but looks more like Sawyer from "Lost." The other American doc (Jason George) is fooling around with the native doc. George's character is very good at making angry "get your ass in line" type speeches to the residents. He's the male Dr. Bailey.
I guess the biggest problem with the show is that it's completely predictable. You can almost say the dialogue right along with the actors. And it's nothing we haven't already seen done -- and done better -- on Grey's Anatomy. It's just set in a jungle (sorry, Shonda).
And yes, every single doctor is gorgeous, but it is television. And since it's set near a beach, there's a lot of potential for shirtlessness, or at the very least, clingy, sweat-soaked t-shirts.
I want to say, "It's not awful, it's just nothing new." Except the pilot is kind of awful. And episode #4, the only other screener available from ABC, wasn't much better.
But by all means, judge for yourself. "Grey's Jungle" -- I mean, "Off the Map" airs Wednesday night at 10pm after "Cougar Town."